Sith are often much less appealing than their Jedi counterparts. Whether it’s their yellowed eyes, their evil disposition, or their scarred and deformed bodies, Sith can often embody a much more intimidating presence than any other species in the galaxy.
But what makes them so frightening? What makes them deformed and grotesque?
To give a quick answer, Sith are deformed because their anger and hatred fuel their lust for the dark side of the Force. This gives them unnatural power, and sometimes an unnatural appearance.
If you want to learn more about the Sith and their deformities, keep reading for all the dark details.
Table of Contents
Why Are Sith Deformed?
Sith can grow deformed in a number of different ways. Some are physical deformities from battle or injury, while other deformities are due to the slow decay caused by the dark side of the Force.
Much like the Sith eyes, once the dark side starts to take over an individual, it changes their personality and appearance. Most Sith deformities take shape because the dark side is so prevalent in their being.
That much evil, hatred, anger, and selfishness flowing through their veins can give them an unnatural appearance.
Why Do Sith Look Old?
Though Darth Sidious is one of the most iconic and powerful Sith Lords in the Star Wars universe, he is not the only one. There are many other Sith, both in the Star Wars canon and legends.
With the exception of Count Dooku, we don’t see many old Sith in the Star Wars movies at all. In fact, Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker (when he becomes Darth Vader), and Kylo Ren are all fairly young.
This is partly due to the rule of two created by Darth Bane. This rule states that there can only ever be one master and one apprentice at a time. As Master Yoda said, “always two, there are. No more. No less. A master and an apprentice.”
Because of this rule, we only ever see one master and one apprentice at a time. For the first six Star Wars movies, Darth Sidious was the only master.
Thus, Palpatine kept living while his apprentices all died in battle. Palpatine’s pursuit of the dark side of the Force granted him an unnaturally long life, which was sustained through the sacrifices of his pupils.
Why Do Sith Have Pale Skin?
Out of all the canon Star Wars Sith, most have pale skin. Darth Sidious, Asajj Ventress, Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren, and Darth Vader (in Return of the Jedi) all have pale skin.
Despite any conspiracies about this, there are simple explanations for most.
Darth Vader has pale skin in Return of the Jedi because he had been stuck in his protective suit for decades. His skin hadn’t seen sunlight since he was on Mustafar with Obi-Wan.
Darth Sidious has always had pale skin, even when posing as Palpatine. However, he does grow to be more pale and decrepit as time goes on. This could be due to the evil influence of the dark side of the Force.
Supreme Leader Snoke is pale, but that’s the least of his worries. His deformities stretch much farther than skin pigment.
Kylo Ren is another Sith with pale skin, but he’s not as pale as Snoke. His appearance is fairly normal and he even lacks the traditional Sith eyes.
Asajj Ventress is a character from the animated side of Star Wars and she also has a pale complexion. This could just be due to her animation style in The Clone Wars or because of her alien species.
It’s also worth noting that pale, ghostly skin is frequently more creepy than healthy-looking skin, so it makes sense to animate and design characters that way so they look scarier and more evil.
How Did Palpatine Hide His Sith Eyes?
If you study the prequels, you’ll know Sheev Palpatine as the grandfatherly Naboo senator instead of his true identity of the Sith phantom menace.
Up until Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine keeps a relatively low profile, pulling political strings instead of attacking the Jedi outright.
However, Palpatine kept his identity under wraps and infiltrated the Jedi by befriending them in legitimate channels.
Since the senate and the Jedi worked collaboratively on a lot of missions, it made sense for Palpatine to have a relationship with the Jedi council, and subsequently Anakin Skywalker.
By befriending the Jedi, making political moves to his benefit, and corrupting the mind of Anakin Skywalker, Sheev Palpatine managed to wage his war against the Jedi while remaining under the radar.
But how did he do it? How did he fool Jedi masters like Yoda, Mace Windu, and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Well, as Palpatine said, “the dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be… unnatural.”
Most likely, Palpatine used a technique called force clouding. This was a technique used to mask dark side powers and identity when in the presence of others. While doing this, Palpatine could hide his identity as Darth Sidious while still working in secret.
Not only did he hide his Sith eyes and physical Sith features, he also hid his Force powers. Regardless of how powerful the opposing Jedi masters were, their vision of the Force was clouded due to Palpatine’s intervention.
Why Is Darth Sidious Deformed?
Darth Sidious, also known as Chancellor Palpatine, became deformed during his fight with Mace Windu in Revenge of the Sith, where he unleashed the power of the dark side of the Force.
Until that point, Darth Sidious had hidden his identity and had slipped past the grip of the Jedi council. This fight was the climax of the ongoing Jedi and Sith war and would kickstart Anakin’s downward spiral into the Sith.
During the fight, Darth Sidious used Force lightning, a technique only used by Sith Lords. The extreme power and heat of the lightning flowing through his body left him “scarred and deformed.”
Since Mace Windu deflected the attack with his lightsaber, it didn’t kill him initially. Instead, the excess heat and energy from the Force lightning bounced back toward Palpatine and literally melted and rearranged his face.
Instead of his innocent-looking image, he was left with a grotesque and deformed face. He later used his hooded cloak to disguise his horrid appearance.
While some critics think that Palpatine’s deformed look came directly from his Force lightning, others think that Palpatine’s face had always been deformed but was hidden from the general public. By revealing his true face, he was stepping out from the shadows and bringing the Sith to light.
Since Palpatine spent most of those years as a phantom menace, we hadn’t seen his true identity as Darth Sidious.
By using the Force lightning and unleashing the ultimate power of the dark side, some fans think that Palpatine put a stop to his force clouding and revealed his true face. Since his secret was out, there was no more reason to hide.
Regardless of which side you believe, Palpatine was deformed from that point on. He may have won the battle and gained Anakin’s allegiance, but he was never physically the same.
Despite the many reasons the Sith look evil and deformed, it all comes back to their use of the dark side of the Force. Without the dark side, they would not be as twisted and grotesque as they are.
Their power comes from fear, anger, hate, and suffering. That’s enough to deform someone inside and out.
Mitchell Layton is a freelance writer and touring musician living in Philadelphia. When he’s not playing guitar or writing for clients, he enjoys rewatching cult classics like Star Wars, Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and more. Mitchell has been published by sites like HM Magazine, Glassworks Literary Magazine, GameRevolution, Pif Magazine, and others.