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Why Did So Many Jedi Turn To the Dark Side?

Why Did So Many Jedi Turn To the Dark Side?

Throughout Star Wars Canon and Legends, hordes of Jedi turned to the dark side. Some, you know well, like Anakin Skywalker and Ben Solo. Others are more obscure in the franchise and appear before or after the Skywalker Saga.  

Temptations led many Jedi astray. They either held self-centered interests, or, like Anakin, succumbed to emotions like fear and anger. Countless Jedi fell to the dark side, and many were among the galaxy’s most powerful. 

Why Did So Many Jedi Turn to the Dark Side?

Temptations caused many Jedi to turn. Whether they gave into anger, they thirsted for power, or if they had other self-centered purposes, Jedi gave into some temptation when they fell to the dark side. 

Darth Vader with his lightsaber

Fear and anger led to Anakin Skywalker’s downfall. Disillusionment with the Jedi Order motivated Count Dooku to become Darth Tyranus. Ditto for Barriss Offee, even if she never technically turned Sith. 

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However, a few turned with different motivations. Take Luke Skywalker (Legends), who turned because he faced an ultimatum. But mainly, most Jedi wanted more than what the Order they served gave them. 

How Many Jedi Fell to the Dark Side?

Countless Jedi fell to the Dark Side in both the Canon and Legends. While there are too many to name, below are 16 notable Jedi who turned. Some redeemed themselves, but most did not. 

1 – Anakin Skywalker

Darth Vader duels with Ahsoka

Yoda sensed fear in Anakin when Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi presented him to the Jedi Council, and he was correct. Anakin was nine when he started his Jedi training,  because he was less likely to follow the Jedi Code, which contained no emotions. 

Skywalker’s emotional outbursts got the better of him, especially when he experienced premonitions of his wife, Padamè, dying while giving birth. Skywalker joined the Sith, helped carry out Order 66, and became the Emperor’s right-hand man as Darth Vader. 

2 – Count Dooku

Count Dooku with his lightsaber

The Count left when he saw flaws in the Jedi Order. Unfortunately, he didn’t see the same corruption within the Sith. The face of the Lost Twenty, Dooku’s turn came as a shocker, given his connections with Yoda. 

Like Vader, Dooku served as Sidious’ right-hand man and his contributions paved the way to take down the Galactic Republic. 

However, Dooku’s failure to see the Dark Lord of the Sith’s corruption cost him following an intense battle with Anakin Skywalker, Sidious’ Chosen One

3 – Revan

History of Darth Revan

One of the most polarizing Jedi, Revan lived centuries before the Skywalker Saga. A trusted leader during the Mandalorian Wars, Revan and his Jedi Knights could never overpower the Mandalorians and he grew frustrated, despite his eventual victory.

Regarded as a hero, Revan’s experience in the war led him to the Sith upon an investigation toward the edge of the known galaxy. 

4 – Luke Skywalker

Why Luke Skywalker Joined the Dark Side (Legends)

Luke turned in Star Wars Legends when Darth Sidious was revealed to have cloned himself and pursued the Jedi Master. He gave Skywalker an ultimatum: Join the Sith, or witness the end of the New Republic. 

While Luke obliged, he was cunning, and planned to stop the Dark Lord of the Sith from within. Luckily, Leia helped out as she embarked on a rescue mission, eventually crossing paths with Luke to defeat Darth Sidious again. 

5 – Jerec

The High Inquisitor Jerec | Star Wars

Jerec was an archeologist obsessed with learning the galaxy’s and the Jedi’s deepest secrets. Following a research mission during the Clone Wars, he returned to galactic civilization only to find the Sith had taken over. 

After becoming an Inquisitor and embarking on hunts for survivors of Order 66, Jerec’s obsession with the Jedi’s secrets grew. It led him to the Planet Ruusan in search of the Valley of the Jedi, which held untapped Force power. 

While he accomplished his mission, his celebrations didn’t last. Kyle Katarn showed up and defeated him in the Valley. The mercenary-turned-Jedi offered Jerec mercy by throwing him his lightsaber, only for Jerec to attack again. 

Katarn wasn’t having it, and he slew Jerec once and for all. 

6 – Phanius

The Story of Darth Ruin - The Powerful Jedi Master Turned FIRST NEW Sith EMPEROR

One of the most intelligent Jedi Masters to walk the galaxy, Phanius’ self-centered and individualistic mindset led him from the light side. Gaining Sith knowledge, he became Darth Ruin in his pursuit to ignite a new Sith Empire. 

Ruin’s recruiting methods fractured the Jedi Order and his actions launched the New Sith Wars that lasted between 2,000 and 1,000 BBY. 

7 – Atris

Why this Jedi was the Most EVIL in the Order's History - The Fall of Atris

She sat on the Jedi High Council during the Mandalorian Wars and was one of the Order’s most distinguished historians. Following the First Jedi Purge, Atris escaped and started a new Jedi Academy on Telos IV. 

Despite her goodwill, she became tempted to and fell to the dark side thanks to ancient Sith holocrons. However, Atris had enough good left in her that she didn’t remain dark forever, thanks to her old friend, Meetra Surik.  

8 – Kreia

Darth Traya: Darth Sion's Master - Star Wars Explained

Upon exile, Kreia opened herself up to new ways, including embracing the dark side. Her actions led her into becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith as she adopted a new name: Darth Traya. 

She and her apprentices Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus, slew many Jedi. Unfortunately for Darth Traya, her apprentices betrayed her and usurped her Force ability. Not to be defeated, she seized control of Meetra Surik and used her to defeat Sion and Nihilus. 

However, Surik saw through Darth Traya, and the Sith Lord met defeat. 

9 – A’Sharad Hett

The son of a Jedi Knight and an accomplished warlord, Hett joined the dark side following Order 66 when he visited the Sith planet, Korriban. Becoming Darth Krayt, he brought destruction to the New Jedi Order. His reign continued until Cade Skywalker defeated him. 

10 – Freedon Nadd

Star Wars Legends: Freedon Nadd (Sith King of Onderon)

One of the most powerful Jedi Knights, Nadd’s Force powers went almost unmatched. Like Anakin Skywalker, his ability went to his head and subsequent anger culminated with the murder of a Jedi Master. 

He fled the Order, joined the Sith, and ruled the planet Onderon for over a century. After his death, His spirit remained attached to the galaxy, allowing him to fuel future Sith cults. 

11 – Malak

Darth Malak: A Star Wars Story

A friend of Revan’s, Malak turned on the Order when the duo faced the Sith Lord on a mission to a remote part of the galaxy. After falling to the dark side, Malak aided Revan in waging war with the Jedi. 

The two became powerful, but Malak always lived in Revan’s shadow. Soon enough, he betrayed Revan, taking his spot as Dark Lord of the Sith. However, he wrongfully thought Revan was dead, and the redeemed Jedi ended up slaying Malak. 

12 – Allya

Allya embraced the ways of the dark side, prompting the Jedi Order to exile her to Dathomir. There, she founded the Witches of Dathomir, a matriarchal society that held men in lower regard. 

Having lived centuries before the Skywalker Saga, she became the common ancestor of the Nightsisters. 

13 – Exar Kun

Kun’s obsession with Sith history as a member of the Jedi Order turned him to the dark side. His interest grew so great he sought Freedon Nadd’s tomb, where the former Sith Lord turned the wayward Jedi. 

He became one of the dark side’s most feared chess pieces and earned the Dark Lord of the Sith title. 

14 – Ulic Qel-Droma

STAR WARS: An Old Republic Lore Series Episode 11 - Dark Lords of The Sith - Ulic Qel-Droma

Droma had a lot on his shoulders, with a mother and brother showing exceptional talent in the Force. Qel-Droma fought in the Beast Wars, and while he survived, his Master fell to the death cult during a mission. 

His grief and vow for vengeance led him to the Sith. His brother, Cay, caught up with him, only to die at his hands. Following a stint as Exer Kun’s Sith Lord, Qel-Droma met his match against Nomi Sunrider, who severed his connection to the Force. 

15 – Quinlan Vos

10 Facts About Jedi Master QUINLAN VOS

After becoming a legend following his heroics in the Clone Wars, the Jedi Council ordered him to confront Count Dooku. Vos aligned himself with Asajj Ventress, who stated he needed to embrace the dark side to defeat the Sith. 

Unfortunately, Vos fell to the dark side and became a Separatist agent. Unlike most on this list, Vos redeemed himself. 

16 – Ben Solo

Kylo Ren/Ben Solo | The path to the dark side

Solo shared many personality qualities with his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker. This motivated Han Solo and Leia Organa to convince Luke to train him and embrace the light side. Unfortunately, Lord Snoke pushed Ben into the dark side before Luke could turn him. 

Solo became Kylo Ren and embarked on a reign of terror across the galaxy. His notable victims became villagers on the planet Jakku, Han Solo, and even Snoke. Like Anakin, Ren redeemed himself in his final moments, sacrificing himself for Rey, with whom he shared a Force-bond. 


Why Do the Jedi Fear the Dark Side?

The Jedi’s job is to uphold peace and justice in the galaxy. The Sith have proven countless times throughout the Canon’s and Legend’s history that the path to the dark side wages war not just on the Jedi, but also the masses in the galaxy. 

The Jedi also realize it’s easy to fall victim to the dark side, given its tempting nature. The lure for more power and to become larger than the common cause the Jedi serves has created some of the most notorious beings in Star Wars history.

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