Star Wars is a big galaxy. That’s actually the point of spin-off movies like Solo -- to show what happens characters that would otherwise exist on the fringes of this universe. However, Ben Kenobi was right when he said the Force really does bind everything together. Fittingly, the heart and soul of the Star Wars story has always been the Jedi and Sith, and the Star Wars movies are filled with powerful Jedi and Sith. Most of these characters are very well-known, as even the most casual moviegoer on the street can tell you who Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Darth Vader, and Emperor Palpatine are. However, they only represent a limited time frame in the overall Star Wars, one which has literally spanned several millennia.
As you might expect, there are plenty more Jedi and Sith out there, and many of them are more powerful than any of the famous Jedi we have seen onscreen. Collectively, they have changed the course of Star Wars history in ways that have intimately shaped the stories and characters you already know and love. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Keep reading to discover 10 Powerful Sith And 10 Powerful Jedi Only True Star Wars Fans Know!
20 JEDI: REVAN
We’re going to start with a biggie here. The character is sometimes referred to as Darth Revan because of his walk on the Dark Side, as he and his fellow Jedi Malak led several Jedi to fight in the Mandalorian War when the Jedi Council refused to authorize it. They won the war, but Revan found a mysterious object of almost infinite power in space called The Star Forge. It turned him evil and he returned to Republic Space with an entire Sith fleet. However, he found his way back to redemption.
In the Knights of the Old Republic video game, you play as Revan, though you don’t know it at first due to some Jedi brainwashing. You can ultimately decide whether the character becomes evil again or embraces the Light Side, but the canonically correct answer is that Revan was redeemed by the Light Side of the Force and helped to defeat his former apprentice, Darth Malak (more on him later). This makes Revan one of the most powerful Jedi in history due to both his fantastic powers and his intense knowledge of the universe. He lived many years and was even able to go toe to toe with the Sith Emperor later on!
19 SITH: JACEN SOLO
Fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe were understandably upset when Disney acquired the Star Wars license. This is because one of the first things Disney did was to take the previously canonical EU stories and make them non-canonical. The logic behind this was that their own future movies and shows might want to explore some of the areas previously covered by the EU. Sometimes, though, you get a “new” Disney idea that looked an awful lot like they copied the EU’s homework and a prime example of that is Jacen Solo.
Jacen Solo (as the name implies) is the son of Han and Leia. He has great Force abilities and is trained in the ways of the Force by Luke before he eventually goes evil and tries to destroy the New Republic. Sound familiar? That’s right, Jacen Solo was most certainly a template for the character of Kylo Ren. Once he went to the Dark Side, Jacen called himself Darth Caedus, and he got a lot of evil stuff done. He took over the Republic, murdered Mara Jade, and torturing Luke Skywalker’s son Ben. Eventually, his reign of terror was ended when he was destroyed by his twin sister Jaina.
18 JEDI: MARA JADE
Mara Jade is one of many Jedi on this list that had quite the walk with the Dark Side. This fan-favorite EU character started out working for Emperor Palpatine himself, as he trained her in both the Force and lightsaber combat and used her as a kind of secret agent codenamed The Emperor’s Hand. She was so secret, though, that after Palpatine died, no one in the Empire really knew who she was, so she had to start a new life as a smuggler. However, she blamed Luke Skywalker for the death of the Emperor, and she spent years fantasizing about destroying Luke.
She eventually finds Luke, and they are forced to team up against Grand Admiral Thrawn and an insane Jedi clone called Joruus C’baoth. She fights and destroys a clone of Luke, freeing her of the Emperor’s influence, and eventually falls in love with and marries the real Luke. He trained her to be a very powerful Jedi, and she was at the forefront of many struggles for both the Jedi and the Republic. In many ways, her complex story is what makes Mara Jade so powerful -- she walked the Dark path and eventually overcame it, doing something that even Yoda thought would be impossible.
17 SITH: DARTH BANE
There are different reasons why these various Sith ended up on this list. Darth Bane was very powerful in his own right, but he is also significant for carrying on the Sith legacy. He alone managed to survive a war with the Jedi Order a thousand years before Luke Skywalker was born, and he basically created our modern idea of the Sith, including the whole “always two there are” thing. Without Darth Bane, we would never have had some of our absolute favorite Sith such as Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, or Darth Maul.
Darth Bane was powerful and resourceful, which is one of the reasons he was able to survive the Jedi conflict in the first place. Interestingly, his powers seemed to extend beyond his own death -- visions of him were conjured by Force priestesses to try to tempt Yoda to the Dark Side, and in a cut Clone Wars scene, Bane (along with a distinctly unreformed Darth Revan) appear to a villain to offer some Dark Side advice. While fans debate just how canonical this unfilmed scene is (though you can watch a partial version they released on Youtube), the idea that Bane might be one of the only Sith who can transcend the grave makes him powerful indeed!
16 JEDI: JAINA SOLO
Earlier, we talked about the similarities between Kylo Ren and the EU character Jacen Solo. Like Kylo, Jacen is eventually confronted and defeated by a strong female Jedi. Unlike Kylo, though, Jacen is defeated by his twin sister, Jaina Solo, a girl who, even by the wild standards of the Jedi, had a pretty crazy life. She was trained by Luke to be a Jedi, but she also followed in his footsteps in some other specific way. When the New Republic was fighting Yuuzhan Vong invaders, Jaina flew with Rogue Squadron and proved herself as one hell of an X-Wing pilot.
Those piloting skills definitely caught the attention of Jagged Fel (son of legendary Imperial pilot Baron Soontir Fel), and Jaina and the younger Fel got married. When her brother went off the rails (and destroyed her aunt Mara Jade), Jaina knew she would need to fight and destroy Jacen. She turned to one of the few living experts in hunting and destroying Jedi in Boba Fett. With his training as well as her natural strength in the Force, Jaina was able to defeat Jacen. Later, she helped save the Republic from a despotic leader and eventually achieved the rank of Jedi Master.
15 SITH: DARTH NIHILUS
Even if you never played it, you should know that Knights of the Old Republic revolutionized how fans looked at both Star Wars and even video games in general. Bioware knew they needed to do something special for the sequel, so they brought in multiple powerful Sith Lords for your player to contend with. One of them is Darth Nihilus, who is actually even scarier than he looks. This Sith may come across as a mix of No Face and a Scream mask, but he has enough raw power to be just as threatening as any Death Star.
And in case you’re wondering, we mean that quite literally. Nihilus had a weird ability where he quite literally fed off of the Force and could suck it out of living creatures. And as Ben Kenobi likes to remind us, the Force is in all living creatures, making Nihilus a threat on a planetary scale. And at one point, he was able to destroy all life on the planet Katarr. All he had to do was speak -- he didn’t even have to raise his lightsaber. Fortunately, he is defeated by your character... otherwise, there is a distinct chance he would have ended up ruling the galaxy!
14 JEDI: KYP DURRON
In the newest Star Wars movies, Kylo Ren represents Luke’s first real failure as a teacher. The pupil started out as Ben Solo, and Luke thought he could guide and train him with the same wisdom that Yoda and Ben Kenobi possessed. Instead, Ben Solo became Kylo Ren, fully walking the Dark Side. In the Star Wars EU, though, there was another character that symbolized Luke’s first real failure: Kyp Durron. And while he shared some similarities with the later Kylo Ren (Kyp, too, was a pupil of Luke’s who went to the Dark Side), Kyp was actually much more dangerous in his own way. Kyp ends up getting corrupted by the spirit of the Sith Exar Kun.
He then ended up stealing a weapon known as the Sun Crusher, which is arguably one of the most dangerous bits of tech in all of Star Wars. Like the later Star Killer Base, the Sun Crusher could destroy entire solar systems, but it was much tinier -- it was a one-person ship that Kyp completely controlled himself. Kyp ended up going on an Imperial murder spree, but eventually came back to the Light Side and became one of Luke’s most gifted pupils and a Jedi Master. Only time will tell if Kylo Ren is still capable of redemption.
13 SITH: FREEDON NADD
Freedon Nadd may not be a name that you easily recognize. Nonetheless, he is one of the most important characters in Star Wars and definitely one of the most influential Sith. In the glory days of the Old Republic, Nadd was a Jedi who destroyed his master and then sought out Sith teachings. He was further trained by a Sith named Naga Sadow before destroying Sadow and taking over an entire planet, Onderon. This would already make him a powerful and influential Sith, but his terror was just started!
Freedon Nadd ruled the planet for over a hundred years before he died. However, his spirit basically haunted the place for years, and cultists were able to summon the spirit back to life, allowing Nadd to clash with Jedi once more. When that spirit disappeared, they moved his haunted tomb to the moon, but his spirit still caused trouble by showing Uliq Qel-Droma his future as a Sith. His spirit was later summoned by Exar Kun, and Nadd trained Kun in the Dark Side and even led him to Korriban, the Sith planet. Nadd hoped to get a genuine resurrection out of this deal, but in true Sith fashion, he was betrayed by Kun and finally destroyed for good.
12 JEDI: KYLE KATARN
Kyle Katarn is on this list as one of the greatest and most powerful Jedi, but he didn’t start out that way. Earlier in his life, he was an Imperial Stormtrooper, but he defected to the Rebellion and used his knowledge of the Empire to help the Rebels fight. This was already quite a life, and in the old, pre-Rogue One EU, Kyle was actually the one responsible for securing the Death Star plans. However, his adventure wasn’t over yet, as he found out he was Force sensitive. Thanks to a vision from an old Jedi Master, Kyle learned of a nexus of Force energy called the Valley of the Jedi. He discovered its location, protected it from invaders, and drew great power from it.
He had command of both Light Side and Dark Side abilities, and after many more trials, he eventually became a Jedi Master. He became a very good Jedi teacher (able to draw on his own unique experiences and unconventional path towards becoming a Jedi), and he also fought in major later conflicts, including battles with the Yuuzhan Vong and Jacen Solo. In addition to his native power, we should acknowledge Kyle crazy arc -- it’s not everyone who goes from Stormtrooper to Jedi Master!
11 SITH: MARKA RAGNOS
Marka Ragnos is another one of those Sith Lords that managed to be just as dangerous dead as he was alive. And in his living years, he was an absolute terror as he dueled and beheaded other aspiring Sith Lords to become the head of the Sith Empire, and once he had the throne, he protected it with an iron fist (and, of course, the Dark Side of the Force). He lived for over a hundred years, and when he died, his spirit managed to still get into quite a bit of trouble.
On the most basic level, Ragnos used his spiritual form to insure that his Sith philosophies were properly passed on. He did this when his ghost spoke to both Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh, telling each one they must be worthy of Ragnos to claim the throne. Later, his spirit helped Exar Kun and Uliq Qel-Droma in their attempt to bring the Sith empire back to glory after a thousand years of relative peace. And his spirit nearly made a very dangerous return many years later when he was almost resurrected by his would-be disciples before being defeated by a disciple of Luke Skywalker. We wouldn’t be surprised if Ragnos popped up yet again to cause more trouble!
10 JEDI: NOMI SUNRIDER
When you’re measuring how powerful a Jedi is, you have to be careful. As Master Yoda reminds us, “wars not make one great,” so we’re not necessarily looking for great warriors alone. Some of them, like Nomi Sunrider, stand out because they have powers more stunning that any we have seen before or since. Her story started out humbly enough: she was married to a man seeking Jedi training, but when he died, she started training under the Jedi Master he had been seeking. She became a Jedi Knight who saw the rise and fall of Uliq Qel-Droma. She helped out when Ulic was helping to settle the Onderon uprising caused by Freedon Nadd’s spirit. However, Qel-Droma eventually fell under the sway of Exar Kun, and he raised a mighty Sith fleet that threatened the entire galaxy.
Nomi Sunrider defeated him, but she did it the Jedi way and found an alternative to destroying him. Instead, she used her own great powers to completely sever him from the Force, which helped him to eventually find redemption. In this sense, Nomi Sunrider almost single-handedly brought peace to the galaxy, and it’s no surprise she eventually achieved the ranks of Jedi Master and Grand Jedi Master.
9 SITH: DARTH MALGUS
Darth Malgus is another one of those names that might not ring a bell if you’re not a gamer. He functions as the original Big Bad of The Old Republic, the Star Wars MMORPG that takes place three centuries after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic games. Malgus was a true threat on all fronts for the Jedi and, in general, for the entire Old Republic: he was a fierce fighter in individual combat, and the more power he gained, the more he leveraged that power to hurt others.
We see how scary Malgus can be in a fight in the opening cinematic of the game, which shows him leading a Sith sneak attack on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Malgus catches the Jedi completely flat-footed, and he personally destroys many of them. When the smoke cleared, Malgus and his team had helped destroy half the Jedi Council. As he rose in power, he was dangerous to friends and enemies alike, murdering the various Sith politicians and warriors that didn’t fit his vision of the empire. He also explored and claimed some of the Unknown Territories, and he helped bring a divisive Sith Empire together after the Emperor died. Eventually, though, his reign came to an end, all thanks to your actions as a player.
8 JEDI: QUINLAN VOS
Quinlan Vos is one of the most unconventional Jedi of all time. He also ended up being one of the most powerful... or, at the very least, one of the most resourceful. You’re probably more familiar with his Padawan learner: cool Twi’lek Jedi Aayla Secura. While Secura was later sent on many prominent missions, Quinlan Vos was sent on many missions on the outskirts of space. His special abilities helped him with these missions: Vos could touch items that others had once possessed and read some of their memories, making him an invaluable hunter. He was also a pain in the butt to the Jedi Council, constantly bending rules as he saw fit.
And sometimes he bent the rules so much they nearly broke. For instance, he fell in love with the Sith assassin Asajj Ventress, and they teamed up to try to destroy Count Dooku. They didn’t succeed, but Vos ended up as a brainwashed Dark Side servant before being redeemed back to the Light Side. So, Quinlan Vos is a master hunter, a skilled combatant, and a man ready to do whatever he had to do to fight evil. If that’s not impressive enough, he even managed to be one of the few Jedi who survived the Jedi purge led by Darth Vader and the Emperor.
7 SITH: ULIC QEL-DROMA
Uliq Qel-Droma is a name that has popped up several times on this list. He is a central element to the stories of many different characters. However, his own story is pretty crazy. While he eventually redeemed himself before his death, Ulic Qel-Droma is mostly known as one of the most powerful and influential Sith of all time. He was once a mighty Jedi warrior, but after a controversial mission in which he infiltrated a Dark Side cult, and he ended up actually falling to the Dark Side. Before you know it, he and Exar Kun had teamed up as Sith Lords to threaten the galaxy!
Qel-Droma ended up defeating the Mandalorians of the time period and attacking Coruscant, and though he had to be rescued by Kun and Mandalore, it didn’t slow him down. He terrorized the Republic, murdered his brother, and attacked entire worlds before Nomi Sunrider (his former lover) used her powers to sever Droma’s connection to The Force. It was only then that he found redemption, and that’s why we have him listed as a Sith -- as long as the Force was with him, he fought on the side of evil, and he left a legacy of death and destruction.
6 JEDI: CORRAN HORN
Corran Horn has some surface similarities with another powerful Jedi, Kyle Katarn. Neither of these characters started on the Jedi path very early, and they each led wild and exciting lives before that happened. In Horn’s case, he spent a good chunk of his life as an ace X-Wing pilot and part of Rogue Squadron alongside legendary pilot Wedge Antilles. Before that, he was a top agent of Correllian Security, developing skills that would help him in the Rebellion. Corran Horn had many legendary adventures and married a pirate’s daughter... and as Anakin might put it, this was where the fun began!
Years before, Luke Skywalker had told Corran he had a Jedi family history. Corran tried to walk away from that life, but when his wide was kidnapped, he trained as a Jedi. He tried to be both pilot and Jedi for awhile but eventually focused on being a Jedi instructor. He helped in some major fights with the Yuuzhan Vong, and then he became a Jedi Master who helped fight Jacen Solo’s reign of terror. Ultimately, Corran is a resourceful fighter and a survivor who has used his considerable abilities to fight evil as an agent, a pilot, and a Jedi.
5 SITH: DARTH MALAK
When Revan began his legendary journey to the Dark Side, he didn’t go at it alone. Fellow Jedi Malak was by his side when they fought in the Mandalorian War, and together, they discovered the Star Forge that helped them create a new Sith Empire. Darth Malak learned his Sith lessons pretty well, though -- when Darth Revan was distracted fighting a Jedi boarding party, Malak fired on his master’s ship in an attempt to destroy Revan once and for all. While he failed to destroy Revan, Malak did gain control of Revan’s Sith Empire, and he managed to do many terrible things in a short amount of time.
For example, Malak completely bombarded the surface of the planet Taris in an attempt to destroy Bastila and other survivors of a Republic ship. Later, he also destroyed a Jedi enclave on Dantooine, and while some of the Council there survived, he still dealt a grievous blow to the Jedi. He helped to temporarily brainwash Jedi hotshot Bastila Shan to the Dark Side of the Force and came close to using the Star Forge to conquer the entire galaxy before being finally defeated by the reformed Revan and his unconventional new allies.
4 JEDI: AHSOKA TANO
The Clone Wars cartoon ended up being one of the most successful Star Wars franchises, but it had a surprising start with a standalone animated movie that introduced us to a new character, Ahsoka Tano. At first, she looked like she might be pretty annoying -- a literal kid sidekick for Anakin Skywalker to deal with. However, she ended up growing in maturity and power, and before everything was said and done, she became one of the most influential Jedi of all time. And along the way, she survived challenges that would have destroyed a lesser Jedi.
At one point, Ahsoka is framed for the bombing of the Jedi Temple and cast out of the Jedi Order. She eventually clears her name, but she decides not to return to the Order that cast her out. This ended up being a smart move as it let her survive Order 66 and the Jedi Purge. Later, she befriended Bail Organa and helped form the Rebel Alliance before seemingly dying in a duel with her former master, Darth Vader. She was saved from certain death by a time-hopping Ezra Bridger, and the end of Star Wars Rebels confirmed that she was still alive after the Rebellion defeated the Empire. That’s who Ahsoka is... the ultimate survivor.
3 SITH: DARTH TRAYA
Darth Traya is a Sith Lord who has a very complex history. Originally, she was a very highly ranked Jedi Master, but when her students went to fight in the Mandalorian War, she was exiled from the Jedi Order. When she became a Sith, she did something very different -- she violated the Sith rule of two and formed a triumvirate to help rule (and terrorize) the galaxy. This wasn’t destined to last long: the other two stripped her of her Force powers, but this set her on a path of becoming more dangerous than ever.
As far as Darth Traya was concerned, she had been betrayed by Jedi and Sith alike. She had a bold plan for revenge which consisted of her attempting to get rid of The Force. She found another Jedi who had lost her Force connection (Meetra Surik -- the player character from Knights of the Old Republic 2) and tried to manipulate her, all while murdering surviving Jedi Council members on the sly. Traya came close to her plan of ridding the galaxy of the Force’s influence, but Surik overcame her manipulations and eventually destroyed her. If this hadn’t happened, Traya would have changed the future of all Star Wars history!
2 JEDI: GALEN MAREK
The idea behind the character of Galen Marek is quite simple. As we all know, Darth Vader pitched Luke Skywalker the idea of joining up and defeating Emperor Palpatine together. But what if this wasn’t Vader’s first attempt? In the Force Unleashed game, we see Vader find Marek as a young boy with strong Force potential. Vader had already destroyed his Jedi parents, and he proceeded to destroy any witnesses so he could train this boy in secret. Vader had one basic goal here -- to create someone with enough raw power to actually destroy Palpatine.
And he damn near succeeded in this task. Thanks to Vader’s training, Marek could access a full range of Light Side and Dark Side powers, and he could do everything from Force pushes to Force Lightning with more intensity than any we had seen before. How powerful was Galen Marek? Once he decided to turn on Vader and fight for the fledgling Rebellion, Marek was strong enough to tear Star Destroyers out of the sky with the Force. Eventually, he was able to defeat Darth Vader, but could not defeat the Emperor -- instead, he gave his life to save some senators and insure the survival of the Rebellion.
1 SITH: EXAR KUN
When you are imagining powerful and influential Sith, few are as powerful and influential as Exar Kun. He was a complete terror in his life and afterlife and managed to cause more trouble than almost anyone short of the Emperor himself. Exar Kun started out humbly enough, as he was a Jedi Knight before he fell to the Dark Side and waged war against the Old Republic. Kun didn’t settle for raw power and he wanted to learn as much about the Sith as he could, even learning from the ghost of Freedon Nadd. That was when the real terror began.
Kun ended up enslaving the natives of Yavin IV (yep, the same moon later used as a Rebel base), forcing them to build those famous temples before he set out to destroy other Sith that might stand in his way. He then teamed up with Uliq Qel-Droma and waged intense war against the Jedi, all while converting many of them to his evil cause. Along the way, he destroyed entire star systems and even invented the double-bladed lightsaber before a magic ritual went wrong and he was stuck as a Dark Side spirit. He wasn’t done, though: his spirit was stuck on Yavin IV, and he helped corrupt some of Luke Skywalker’s earliest students before his spirit was banished forever.