Star Wars lore is deep and full of different characters and stories spanning thousands of years. But while that may be true, one of the main focus areas of the Star Wars storyline is the never-ending conflict between the Jedi Order and the Sith Order. Then again, we’ve seen Force users that are neither Jedi nor Sith but can use the Force and are known to favor the dark side.
We are talking about the Dark Jedi, who are also known for their tendency to use the dark side of the Force but aren’t necessarily members of the Sith Order. This can sound confusing because dark side practitioners are often synonymous with the Sith Order. So, to clear things up, let’s look at the difference between a Dark Jedi and Sith.
What Is a Dark Jedi?
Regarding the different Force users in the Star Wars galaxy, the Jedi are the most prominent because this was the first true order of Force-sensitive users that grouped to teach other Force-sensitive people the ways of the Force. In that regard, the Jedi Order existed for thousands of years before its destruction during Order 66.
The Jedi Order became arguably the most powerful group in the galaxy, as its members were some of the strongest characters the Star Wars franchise could ever offer. But instead of using their power to wage wars against different star systems, the Jedi Knights served as the protectors of the Republic and were keepers of the peace. The Jedi only went to battle when there was a need to do so, especially when people were threatening the peace.
That means that the Jedi were the ones that dwelled on the light side of the Force as they focused on positive ideals, such as peace and prosperity. They are like modern-day priests because they must follow a strict code once indoctrinated into the Jedi Order. And being a Jedi meant removing oneself from all of the material attachments of the world.
But while the Jedi only used the light side of the Force whenever they needed to fight, some Force users used the opposite side of the Force, the dark side, to strengthen themselves. The dark side requires the Force user to use their emotions instead of keeping them in check, and those who used the dark side of the Force were considered Dark Jedi even though they were never members of the Jedi Order.
Some of the most notable Dark Jedi in the Star Wars canon include Asajj Ventress, who was known as the apprentice of Count Dooku during the events of Star Wars: Clone Wars. However, ever since she was cast aside by Dooku, Ventress went on to become a Dark Jedi that operated independently. So, while she was neither a Jedi nor an apprentice of the Sith Lord Count Dooku, she still used the dark side of the Force even though she had no loyalty toward Dooku and the Sith.
What Is a Sith?
As mentioned, the Jedi Order was the only Force user group in the entire galaxy. However, a rogue Jedi once branched out of the Jedi Order to establish the Sith Order. The group was created when different members of the Jedi Order began to believe that what the Jedi were doing was wrong and that the true path to power lies in the dark side of the Force.
In that regard, the Sith Order was composed of a group of Force users that ended up embracing the dark side of the Force instead of the light side. The Sith eventually had its code, which focused more on passion, emotions, and the belief that peace has always been an illusion. As such, the members of the Sith Order eventually embraced the quest for absolute power instead of trying to achieve peace and harmony.
The fact that the Sith had ideals different from the Jedi locked the two orders in endless wars that lasted for thousands of years. Even though the Sith Order had incredibly powerful members that could take on the Jedi, the problem was that they were so obsessed with power that they began fighting among themselves.
Due to thousands of years of infighting, the Rule of Two was adopted so that there would always be only two members of the Sith—a master and an apprentice. This allowed the power of the dark side of the Force to become more concentrated on these two Sith Lords. The master stayed powerful because a powerful master wouldn’t want to be overthrown by a stronger apprentice. Meanwhile, the apprentice also needed to be powerful out of fear that the master would replace them with a more powerful apprentice.
The cycle of the Sith’s Rule of Two involved an almost endless series of apprentices overthrowing their masters, only for their apprentices to overthrow them sometime in the future. This was how the Sith were able to exist for hundreds of years even though the Jedi thought that they had gone extinct long ago. They were able to keep themselves hidden for hundreds of years as there were only two that existed at any given moment.
Of course, we also know that the Sith focused on deception and manipulation as two of the greatest weapons they could ever wield. This was why Darth Sidious could stay hidden for decades while manipulating the events surrounding the Jedi Order’s fall and the Republic’s transition into the Empire.
How Is a Dark Jedi Different from a Sith?
Some people often confuse Dark Jedi with being members of the Sith Order. But they have always been different even though both use the side of the Force. And they are different because the Sith are actual members of the Sith Order instead of just Force users that embraced the dark side of the Force.
That means that a Force user must be indoctrinated into the Sith Order to become Sith, which means embracing the tenets and the codes of the Sith Order. The members of the Sith Order embrace ideals and beliefs that embody the entire group. On the other hand, Dark Jedi have no specific creed, code, or order but are simply rogue Force users that embrace the power of the dark side.
In short, the Dark Jedi are more or less the ones that embraced the power of the dark side of the Force without necessarily aligning themselves with any order, including the Sith Order and the Inquisitorius. That means that any Force user that embraces the dark side of the Force is a Dark Jedi as long as they are not aligned with any specific group. But those who are Sith were indoctrinated into the Sith Order.