The Dark History Of Darth Bane
Maker Of The Rule Of Two
"Always two there are. No more. No less. A master and an apprentice."
The above immortal line is spoken by Master Yoda to Mace Windu during the funeral of fallen Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn upon realizing their mortal enemies, the Sith, have once again made their presence known to the galaxy. This line gives the audience the foreboding warning that Darth Maul is not going to be the only bad guy to show up in this trilogy, and gives a little bit of backstory to the Sith.
Now, many fans would be forgiven for understandably thinking this is just how it always was with them, that there could always only be two. However, this is not the case. Fans of The Clone Wars series and the Expanded Universe (now known as Legends) will be familiar with this. There are tons of stories dedicated to a time when many, many Sith roamed the galaxy trying to steal power and causing chaos in their wake, until one character decided it was just too dangerous to carry on as they were, and his name was Darth Bane.
Darth Bane is a strange character within the Star Wars universe. Most of his story has been relegated to Legends. However, he is a canon character thanks to his appearance as a specter to Master Yoda during season 6 of TCW, and he is first referenced in the novelization of The Phantom Menace. The vast majority of fans will know the name and the fact that he is the one to create the famous Sith "Rule of Two," which Master Yoda's quote is in reference to. But just what is his backstory and how did the Rule of Two come about?
Well, Bane was a human male from the planet Apatros and existed a thousand years before the events of the prequel trilogy. An extremely powerful Sith, he was part of the Brotherhood of Darkness, also known as the Sith Empire or Sith Army, and their only surviving member following a huge war against the Jedi Order. At this point in history, long before the Jedi Order we see in The Phantom Menace, both factions were at a height of power we've never really seen before. However, the Jedi proved to be too strong and moved the Sith firmly into the "extinct" category. Except for Bane.
As a Sith, Bane was well renowned for his skills with a lightsaber and often used intimidation as a weapon against his enemies. Many feared the cunning warrior, and he was well regarded throughout history for his military tactics and leadership skills. Wearing an ancient Sith armour, colored blue, grey and red, with gold etchings covering most of his body, he was instantly recognizable to those unfortunate enough to find themselves in his way.
During his time in the Brotherhood, though, Bane realized they had a very obvious weakness - each other. The Sith were so lustful for power, their greed meant it was all but impossible for anyone to trust each other, and this led to many fights within the faction itself. So, when Bane found himself alone, he made the decision to create his own Sith Order and established the Rule of Two, with the philosophy that only two Sith can exist at one time: A master to embody power and an apprentice to crave it.
Now, whilst it seemed like a logical thing to do at the time, as the years went by and the Dark Side continued to corrupt its wielders, the philosophy became a little more open to interpretation and resulted in a much more different Sith than the ones who preceded it, and actually encouraged the apprentice to, eventually, kill the master.
Where the old Sith would openly engage in battle with any foe, especially a Jedi, this new order learned to operate from within the shadows, favoring manipulation and trickery to achieve their goals. Having witnessed the death of his brothers at the hands of the Jedi, Darth Bane's goal was to infiltrate the Galactic Republic and disgrace the Jedi Order, resulting in their downfall and allowing the Sith to rule the galaxy. (Any of this sounding familiar yet?)
To begin with, Bane took on an apprentice, Darth Zannah, and began passing on his knowledge in secret until his death. Now, there's no definitive explanation for his death, but in the Star Wars universe, it is widely believed he was murdered by his apprentice - a pattern which followed the Sith all the way through to the original trilogy. Word of his new philosophy reached the Jedi, as did word of his death, so they, rather naively, believed the Sith were now gone forever. As we now know, they were wrong. Despie killing Bane, Darth Zannah continued forward with his plans, taking an apprentice of her own and continuing to operate in secret to continue letting the Jedi believe they had won. This is why Windu and Yoda are surprised by their return in The Phantom Menace, and it explains their reluctance to believe it at first.
Following his death, Darth Bane's remains were placed in a sarcophagus on the planet Moraband, the Sith homeworld, where they remained virtually undisturbed until the Clone Wars. During the war, Master Yoda finds himself on the quest for immortality, which brings him before the sacred Sith relic. Darth Bane's specter (voiced by Luke Skywalker actor himself Mark Hamill) appears before him and attempts to turn him to the Dark Side as part of a trial in the quest. Yoda is not interested in anything the specter has to say, declaring him nothing more than an illusion. This leads to the specter being banished back into the sarcophagus and this would mark his final appearance.
Interestingly, Bane and another fan favorite Legends character, Darth Revan, were actually supposed to appear earlier in TCW series, during the season 3 Mortis story arc. It was planned that the two ancient Sith Lords would be revealed to have been manipulating the Son. However, it was Dave Filoni who suggested they not be included. He felt allowing Sith characters to return as spirits would cause implications for future stories, and Lucas eventually agreed.
Despite having existed a millennium before the events of the Skywalker Saga, his legacy continued in the form of Darth Sidious, aka Sheev Palpatine. As a hidden-in-plain-sight Sith, Sidious learned the ways of the Dark Side and followed the Rule of Two. This was taught to him by his Master, Darth Plagueis. Just like the many before him, though, Sidious killed his master in order to become one himself, allowing him to take on a new apprentice and enact his plan and, well, we know how that turns out.
The fact that Palpatine was able to achieve what he did just shows the immense effect Darth Bane had on the overall Skywalker Saga, as had he not created a newer and stronger Sith, instead followed what came before, it's likely the Sith would have wiped themselves out. It may have taken a thousand years, but Darth Bane finally got his revenge in the end, and this makes him an extremely powerful and far more important character than many understand. Someone definitely worthy of the jump to live-action.
Did you know the story of Darth Bane? Do you think we should see a live-action version of the character? Be sure to let us know.
Until next time!
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Written By Jordan McGlinchey
Syndicated From Culture Slate