Dark side (Star Wars)

Dark side (Star Wars)

The dark side of the Force is a prominent moral, philosophical, and psychic concept in the Star Wars universe. It is introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and appears in all subsequent Star Wars fiction. The dark side is portrayed as the evil aspect of the Force (by the Jedi Knights, who instead advocate using the light side of the force), the mystical energy which permeates the universe.[1] It is used primarily by the evil Sith.



As portrayed in all Star Wars-related media, the dark side provides powers similar to those of the Jedi — telepathy, psychokinesis, and precognition — but draws energy from passion; an energy that is enhanced by emotion (generally by anger and rage). Examples include Force lightning, as used by Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and using the Force to choke people, as used by Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. While the original films depict the dark side as a general concept of evil, the prequels and Expanded Universe material elaborate on its nature, explaining that it may stem from all strong emotions, both positive and negative.

Original trilogy

The dark side is first mentioned in A New Hope as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) is explaining the Force to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). When speaking of his former pupil, Darth Vader, Kenobi says "Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force." Vader is later shown using the dark side to choke Admiral Motti, an ability portrayed in greater detail in subsequent films.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back elaborates on the dark side's power. Yoda (Frank Oz) tells Luke that fear and anger will pull him to the dark side, and that there is no turning back from a dark path; Vader, meanwhile, entreats Luke to "know the power of the dark side" and become his apprentice.

In Return of the Jedi, Luke comes perilously close to succumbing to the dark side during a duel with Vader, in which the Sith Lord suggests turning the young Jedi's sister Leia to the dark side, sending Luke into a rage in which he nearly kills his father. Palpatine plays on his fear for the safety of his friends to release his anger and kill Vader, which would turn him to the dark side. Luke, horrified at his own actions, refuses to deliver the killing stroke, and Palpatine attacks him with a torrent of Force lightning. His son's cries of pain break the dark side's hold on Vader, and he turns on Palpatine, throwing him down the Death Star's power reactor to his death; in the process, he is mortally wounded by Palpatine's lightning. With his dying breaths, the redeemed Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw) admits to his son that the good within him had not been destroyed after all, and then becomes one with the light side of the Force.

Prequel trilogy

In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Yoda explains to a young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) that his fear for losing his mother, Shmi (Pernilla August), could lead him to the dark side; he says "Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering."

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, a teenage Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) begins to feel the pull of the dark side when he falls in love with Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman); the Jedi Code forbids such strong emotional attachment as "the shadow of greed". His emotional conflict worsens when his mother is killed by Tusken Raiders, and he slaughters the entire tribe in a blind rage.

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, then-Chancellor Palpatine manipulates Anakin's fear that Padmé, by now his secret wife, will die in childbirth to persuade him into becoming his Sith apprentice. Palpatine first tempts Anakin by challenging the dogmatic view of the world he had learned in the Jedi Temple. When Palpatine promises that the dark side can prevent death, Anakin becomes his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, and helps the Sith Lord massacre the Jedi and destroy the Galactic Republic. Mad with power, Vader uses the dark side to choke Padmé into unconsciousness when he suspects that she has betrayed him to his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Padme later dies during the birth of their twins (Luke and Leia) of a broken heart, caused by Anakin's descent to the dark side; ironically, the dark side brings on the very tragedy Anakin joined the Sith to prevent.


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