[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) captured the imaginations of many people, and with many questions left unanswered fans are busy filling the internet with theories. Many of these revolve around the Sith lords - Darth Vader, Revan, Bane, and more - who might be involved as the saga continues. But while JJ Abrams asserts that Supreme Leader Snoke is definitely not one of the Sith, that doesn't count them out entirely...
Spoiler warning: some of the major plot points from The Force Awakens are covered in this article, so continue at your own risk!
So let's count out our favourite Sith lords and examine the possibilities that they might appear in later films...
Although he's long dead, Darth Vader's presence in Star Wars 7 is palpable. Kylo Ren idolises his grandfather, determined to follow in his path despite the fact that we honestly don't know what that path is...
"Show me again, the power of the Dark Side. And I will finish what you started..."
As Darth Vader was essentially just the Emperor's puppet, it's unclear what mission Kylo Ren is determined to complete. Star Wars Episode 8, you can't come soon enough!
But one thing has been made clear recently: Kylo Ren definitely knows how Anakin was eventually redeemed by Luke Skywalker. Both The Force Awakens script and official novelisation confirm this, giving us a glimpse at a scene which was deleted from Star Wars 7's final cut...
"It was neither poor strategy nor arrogance that brought down the Empire. You know too well what did."
Ren nodded once. "Sentiment."
"Yes. Had Lord Vader not succumbed to emotion at the crucial moment—had the father killed the son—the Empire would have prevailed. And there would be no threat of Skywalker’s return today."
So what about the possibility of seeing Darth Vader in Episode 8? Well, it actually seems likely: the book The Art Of The Force Awakens reveals that Darth Vader's Force ghost was originally going to appear, and we even have the early concept art.
Apparently, this apparition was going to "flow back and forth" between Anakin and Vader, which is very intriguing, and seems to good to waste to the cutting room floor. Kylo Ren's speech to Darth Vader's helmet implies that he's in communication with Anakin's Force ghost ("show me again"), and if so it's pretty crucial that we see this in Star Wars 8! I'd say there's a very good chance we'll be seeing Vader again, but what about the other Sith lords?
Darth Plagueis was known as "The Wise" because he was very close to learning the secret of immortality. He could stop people from dying but unfortunately could not prevent his own death at the hand of his apprentice, Darth Sidious a.k.a. Palpatine a.k.a. the Emperor.
Darth Plagueis was first mentioned in the films by Palpatine, when he explains to young Anakin how Plagueis could prevent people from dying.
"Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying."
Although Palpatine supposedly killed his master, with Plagueis's powers it's entirely possible that he could have survived this attempt on his life. And he might have been lurking in the shadows for years, waiting for his chance for revenge...
This is the logic behind the popular theory that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis, and while it's possible it seems more likely that the new films would create their own villains. Plus, to bring Plagueis back would mean a lot of exposition, not to mention reminding viewers of a small plot point in the prequels (and many fans would rather forget those films existed).
Darth Bane appears in the Expanded Universe, and while most of this was declared non-canon by Disney, Bane's appearance in the animated show The Clone Wars saved him from being cast out of the canon.
"Working to make everybody equal didn’t leave much chance for anyone to achieve greatness."
The sole survivor of the Sith massacre, which occurred over 1000 years before the Star Wars prequels, Darth Bane is an incredibly powerful and very popular Sith lord. In fact, he was the one to instate the Rule Of Two which commands that there must only be two Sith at any one time. This fan-made trailer explains his backstory, and it's pretty cool: check it out!
The problem with this theory? Darth Bane isn't immortal, and is supposedly long dead. Of course, this is scifi and death isn't always permanent. Plus, if Lucasfilm are thinking of bringing back the Sith, Bane's importance to the Star Wars history makes him a strong contender for appearing in the new films. He's terrifying and badass, and many fans would love to see him spark off Kylo Ren.
But Here's The Rub
JJ Abrams has made it pretty gosh darn clear that he wants to distance himself from both the prequels and the Expanded Universe. For him, The Force Awakens is an attempt to return to what made the original trilogy great, and he said as much at SDCC last year.
"We tried to sit down and ask ourselves, what feels right? We treated the films, especially 4, 5, and 6, we treated those as canon."
And then there's the fact that while Snoke and Kylo Ren are definitely on the side of darkness, Abrams doesn't consider them Sith at all.
So why not bring the Sith back? When we consider the original trilogy this makes a lot of sense - the backstory of the Sith was created by the early Expanded Universe novels after the original trilogy was released.
George Lucas may have always intended Darth Vader and the Emperor as Sith lords, but this wasn't actually revealed in the original films. If Lucasfilm is trying to get back to what made the originals great, ambiguity about the Dark Side villains is definitely a part of that.
While bringing back the Sith lords would satisfy some fans, most would be a bit lost. It would require a lot of explaining, and would direct the story away from the new adventure and point it back into the mythology established by the Expanded Universe. And while this mythology is awesome, so far it seems more likely that the new films will blaze a new trail.