It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for all things creepy! While it’s true that Star Wars features moments of heroism, leadership, bravery, and swashbuckling fun, it’s also a great place to go for a good scare. Since fear is the path to the dark side and it’s Halloween, let’s put the spotlight on those frightening Sith moments that make you wish you kept the light on in the first place!
1. Darth Sidious Emerges
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith gives us arguably the most chilling Sith moment in the saga: the reveal of Sheev Palpatine’s true identity as a Sith Lord. As Mace Windu and Palpatine (who is armed with a red lightsaber) duel to the death, Windu deflects Palpatine’s Sith lightning back on him. Metaphorically speaking, the grotesque visage reveals the true evil within. His new face shows the Jedi that Chancellor Palpatine was just a mask: this new look is the macabre beast that has been lurking within their midst throughout the Clone Wars. Yikes!
2. Darth Vader’s Cloud City Strike
If you like jump scares, Darth Vader has you covered. In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker races to Bespin to save his friends from almost certain death, courtesy of Darth Vader and his Imperial nasties. After Vader sends Luke hurtling out a window, Skywalker grabs ahold of a catwalk, saving himself from a long fall. He ignites his lightsaber and heads into a dark hallway, uncertain of where the monstrous form of Vader lurks. Suddenly, Luke’s cautious gait is jolted by Vader’s menacing breathing combined with an erratic and heavy swing of his Sith blade — right in front of Luke. You can’t watch this scene without gasping and throwing your popcorn in the air.
Let’s get this out of the way first: in the scene I’m referring to, Maul is not technically a Sith. He lost that gig once he was presumably killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and replaced as Palpatine’s apprentice with Count Dooku. However, it is difficult to deny the fear and menace that is Maul, regardless of any title he has. In the opening sequence of the Star Wars Rebels episode “Twin Suns,” Maul is traversing the desert plains of Tatooine searching for his arch-nemesis, Obi-Wan. He shares he is lost, but can sense the presence of the Jedi Master. In frustration and rage, Maul shouts the name of his nemesis — “KENOBI!” — across the landscape, sending shivers down our spines. This is a villain that no one would want to cross in that desperate and terrifying moment.
4. Palpatine Rises Again
In the opening sequence of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, we’re reintroduced to the puppet master of so much suffering and misery throughout the galaxy. At first, we only see a fraction of Palpatine’s horrific visage as he talks with Kylo Ren, but as the scene plays out and we’re shown his glazed-over, lifeless eyes, it’s like being in the presence of death itself. It’s a chilling reminder of the threat of the Sith Master’s evil and unbridled enthusiasm for wreaking havoc upon the innocent.
5. Kiza’s Possession by Viceroy Exim Panshard
In Adam Christopher’s novel, Star Wars: Shadow of The Sith, Luke Skywalker faces a new enemy who has possessed Kiza, a Pantoran member of the Acolytes of the Beyond. While Kiza was always evil, once she is given the mask of Viceroy Exim Panshard, a seemingly deceased Sith Lord, the dark side envelops her completely. With the manipulative spirit of Panshard making Kiza her pawn, the spirit of the Sith Lord eventually takes control of Kiza’s body, killing her — so the reborn viceroy can seek out Exegol for his nefarious schemes. The dark side is a pathway to unnatural abilities, indeed.
Dan Zehr is the host and brand director of the podcast, Coffee With Kenobi. He is the co-author of The Star Wars Book, Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Updated and Expanded Edition, and Star Wars: I Am Your Father. He is a high school English teacher, with an emphasis on Mythology and Composition, and has an MS in Teaching and Learning.
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