This has been on everyone’s mind ever since the first Star Wars movie, and it only became more confusing once we were introduced to Count Dooku. It made sense for Palpatine to keep his identity as a Sith Lord hidden in the prequels.
But what about Dooku, Kylo Ren, the Inquisitors, and Snoke? Asaj Ventress called herself a Sith, but Dooku said she wasn’t.
Is it just because of the Rule of Two? If so, then where did all the Eternal Sith come from? How does one become a Sith, and what do you have to do to be called Darth?
Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
Are All Sith Called Darth?
No. If we focus on the Rule of Two, there are only supposed to be two. A Master and an Apprentice.
Both are called Darth something. (Most take a Sith name after receiving the Darth title or are given one by their Master.)
If we look to legends, we can find tons of Sith with the Darth title and quite a few without it. We can also see many who practically are Sith but aren’t called that.
Before we get to the Sith structure. Let’s look at what Darth means to the Sith. The origins of Darth are debated, but most believe it comes from the ancient Sith language.
Meaning Dark Lord (because the Sith race was naturally inclined to the Dark Side, and some could live off of it). This was the ultimate rank that only Kings could claim.
This would change once the Dark Jedi arrived and claimed the planet for themselves. It was they who would call themselves the Lords of the Sith.
Unlike the Jedi, who had a structure in their order. With subclasses and many ways to progress within the ranks.
The Sith’s system has undergone many changes depending on the era. Here is what it looked like before Darth Bane made the Rule of Two.
- Dark Lord of the Sith. The leader of the Sith. Usually called themselves king or emperor.
- Sith Master. There would often be counsel to the king and help train apprentices. (When they weren’t betraying each other.)
- Sith Apprentice. The direct underlings and pawns of their masters.
Dark Side Adepts, Emperor’s hands (Eyes, Reach, and Voice depending on the era), Dark Acolyte, Inquisitors, Marauders, Warriors, and Assassins would join their ranks. But each era had different combinations and some titles would be changed occasionally.
Why Are All Sith Called Darth?
They’re not. Darth was the ultimate title. It invited challenges and inspired fear. To be called Darth; one must be completely devoted to the Dark Side.
The Rule of Two eras described it best. Only by killing your Master or proving yourself would you be permitted to claim Darth.
Usually, the Master would also bequeath a new Sith name at this point. (Like when Palpatine named Anakin Skywalker, as Darth Vader after Mace Windu was electrocuted out of the window.)
Using Darth meant you had mastered the Dark Side. Not even the Jedi were seen as worthy opponents.
It also painted a target on you for other Sith. This is why the Brotherhood of Darkness attempted to do away with Darth, and claim all Sith to be equal.
But Bane felt that this was in direct contradiction to what made a Sith. How can one call themselves a Sith Lord if they feared other Sith?
This would be one of the reasons he made the Rule of Two. But this rule would change with Darth Krayt.
He would call himself the new emperor and install a Rule of One. Only one Sith (himself) would have the Darth title.
He did train apprentices, but none of them were called Darth.
Why Is Count Dooku Not Darth?
He is. Count Dooku’s Sith identity is Darth Tyranus. (As in a tyrant or cruel leader. One who would do evil things both to and for his people.)
So why isn’t he called that more often? Because, unlike Palpatine, Dooku was already known to the Jedi.
He was the last of the Lost Twenty (a group of Jedi Masters who willingly left the Order.) By the time he joined the Sith, Dooku was already the ruler of his home planet Serrano, and with Palpatine’s help, he would become the leader of the Separatists.
He is referred to as Darth Tyranus in episode two. But this was also Palpatine’s way of protecting himself.
The Jedi knew a Sith Lord still existed and would try to make another Lord continue the Rule of Two. Any encounter with the black-robed figure only spurred the Jedi on.
No one knew that Palpatine was Darth Sidious except for Count Dooku. But everyone knew who Dooku was.
This would be one of the reasons Palpatine would push Anakin Skywalker to kill Dooku. This was a known enemy and one of the Jedi rules was to never kill in anger.
If Dooku had been allowed to live, he would have been able to provide proof of Palpatine’s identity. And the Sith Master had gone too far to be stopped by the apprentice he merely kept as a tool until he could get Anakin on his side.
What’s The Difference Between Sith And Darth?
Sith is a species, a culture, and the label to distinguish themselves from the Jedi. Darth is a title reserved for the most powerful of this group.
Though there have been many who would claim to be a Sith, those who already held the Darth title would be able to refuse them. One could also claim to be a Darth, but this would get most killed because of the history behind the word.
Kylo Ren didn’t have a Darth title, despite having a different name (he was originally Ben Solo). It was because he was neither.
He trained under Snoke (who was just a failed clone of Palpatine’s meant to be a figurehead). And he had a red lightsaber along with Force Choke, and used the Dark Side.
But he was constantly frustrated with himself and was nothing like Darth Vader. (Who Palpatine considered to be the perfect Sith.)
To be a Darth one must have mastered the Dark Side, and be the strongest amongst the Sith. Though the practice was put on hold for a time, others will always seek to claim it.
Thank you for reading and remember: The Force will set us free.