Darth Plagueis one of the most striking characters in Star Wars. To tell the truth, we know very little about him. His entire existence is shrouded in mystery. And yet, it’s undeniable. This powerful Sith lord has left an indelible mark on every episode of the saga.
Who is he? What role did he play in the collapse of the Galactic Republic and the emergence of the dark forces? Is there really a link between him and Anakin Skywalker’s about-face?
Discover what lies behind this fascinating character, considered by Darth Sidious himself to be one of the most powerful Dark Lords of the secret, dark and evil order that is the Sith.
Dark Plagueis belongs to the Muun race. He is the clan son of Caar Damask, a Muun who became the great administrator of Mygeeto, and of a lower-caste Muun who came to the same planet 10 years after him. In fact, it was in the latter’s second capital that he was born. His real birth name is Hego Damask.
Based on the information given in the Star Wars Legends Universe novel and the revelations made in Episode III of The Saga: Revenge of the Sith, Darth Plagueis lived many years before “The Phantom Menace”. He even died a century before these events.
Hego Damask was no ordinary child. He developed a fascination for the dark side of the Force at an early age. In fact, he showed a natural aptitude for understanding it and a great thirst for unlocking its secrets from an early age. Known as a great manipulator too, in James Luceno’s novel, he incited a Munn child he didn’t love to suicide, even though he was just a child himself. And that’s just by repeatedly suggesting that he jump out the window.
As an adult, his personality became even more complex. Darth Plagueis wasn’t really interested in power, unlike the other Sith masters. His obsession was to manipulate the Force to overcome death, which he considered to be the greatest weakness of all living beings. As the saga unfolds, we see that he has finally succeeded.
“In some ways, Plagueis is a different kind of Sith, passionate and arrogant but loyal to the Sith imperative of overthrowing the Republic and eradicating the Jedi Order,” explained the author.
Like all members of his clan, Dark Plagueis was also extremely intelligent. He was particularly good at business. Before training with his master, Dark Tenebrous, he was a successful entrepreneur. He ran Damask Holdings, a company involved in finance and politics.
But Hego Damask aka Darth Plagueis seemed destined to become a Sith master. We don’t know if he was unable or unwilling to train to become a Jedi. But according to James Luceno’s book devoted entirely to the character, it was given to Dark Tenebrous by his father, who was also a disciple. This is how he began his apprenticeship in Sith teachings and practices. It was from here that he took the name Dark Plagueis.
The Rule of Two
Although a Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis didn’t necessarily share the Order’s principles. His vision of the famous “Rule of Two”, for example, was different. He respected, of course, the fact that there couldn’t be two Sith. One was to be an apprentice, the other a master. But he didn’t think it was necessary to follow it to the letter. For him, it had to be improved and applied differently, to enable the Sith to unify their forces. And all with the aim of dethroning the Jedi and conquering the galaxy.
Unlike the Sith, Darth Plagueis wasn’t power-hungry either. He wasn’t particularly attracted or motivated by the need to dominate. What fascinated him most of all was understanding the Force and unlocking its mysteries. And to use it to achieve his ultimate goal: immortality. That’s why he has acquired knowledge and depths of the Force unmatched by any other Sith master.
Dark Plagueis has spent most of his life studying midi-chlorians. These are entities invisible to the naked eye, with the power of life and death over all living beings. According to Palpatine, by dint of perseverance, the powerful Sith Lord succeeded in manipulating them. He had thus gained the power to create life.
“Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians… And could create life. What’s more, his knowledge of the Dark Side was such that he was also able to prevent those whose existence he cared about from dying.“
-Palpatine, in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.
Bringing life back
The quest for immortality was one of the main reasons why Master Darth Plagueis explored and studied the Force with such fervor. He didn’t just want to create life. He wanted to prolong it as long as possible, preserve it and give it back when necessary. Although he wasn’t able to conquer death himself, history later tells us that he would have discovered this secret anyway. He would have shared it with his apprentice. And that’s what cost him his job.
Highlights of his life
Meeting Dark Tenebrous
As previously stated, we don’t know exactly how young Hego Damask came to meet Dark Tenebrous. The latter would also have been his father’s master. He would have asked his disciples, including Caar Damask, to find him a child who would become his apprentice. With the aim of making him a powerful dark lord in the future. Dark Plagueis was chosen.
The murder of his master
In 67 BC, Dark Plagueis chose to end the Rule of Two between himself and his master. On an expedition, Dark Tenebrous, himself and a few other disciples went to Bal’demnic. The aim was to find ores of cortosis, a metal known to weaken the power of Jedi lightsabers. But while they were still in the mine, one of them pierced a gas pocket, causing the cave to collapse.
Dark Tenebrous finds himself crushed under the rocks with his ship. In agony, he hears the confession of his apprentice, who confesses his murderous intentions. Dark Plagueis had arranged for the stones to fall directly on his master. And to give even more weight to his revelations, he buys her by wringing her neck.
Choosing your apprentice
Darth Plagueis met Darth Sidious on the planet Naboo in 65 BC. Real name Sheev Palpatine, he was a passionate young politician who joined the Galactic Republic to improve his planet’s market position. His intelligence and the power he exuded immediately appealed to Dark Plagueis.
The great Sith lord therefore decided to make the young Palpatine his apprentice. In return, he promises that they will devise a strategy to destroy the Republic and establish a new galactic empire: that of the Sith. So he decided to share all his knowledge, secrets and abilities with his disciple, now christened Darth Sidious.
Darth Plagueis has placed total and unlimited trust in Sidious. The apprentice is eager for knowledge and eager to learn more. So much so that the Sith master ended up revealing all his secrets to him. Unfortunately, Palpatine turned against him. Just as with Dark Tenebrous, Dark Plagueis’ apprentice puts an end to the Rule of Two by killing his master. And so it was that the mighty Lord of the Sith was murdered in his sleep.
A milestone in the Star Wars saga
Although shrouded in mystery, the very existence and actions of Darth Plagueis the Wise have had enormous repercussions for the future of the galaxy. He is credited with most of the major upheavals in the saga, including :
- The fall of the Galactic Republic and the birth of the Empire. Establishing a new order ruled by the Sith has always been one of the Dark Lord’s main objectives. He had shared this ambition and the plans for its execution with Darth Sidious. The latter had simply followed his instructions and succeeded beyond all expectations. Not only was he able to disintegrate the Galactic Republic, but he also transformed it into an Empire, becoming Emperor Palpatine himself.
- The suppression of the Jedi Order. The famous Great Sith Strategy, devised by master Darth Plagueis, enabled Darth Sidious to implement Order 66, which led to the total annihilation of the Jedi Order. With no competitors and no enemies, the Sith Order was able to dominate without constraint.
- The transmission of Sith knowledge. The Sith Order was not known in the galaxy. The Jedi didn’t even know he existed until he made himself known and caught them unawares. The teachings given to Dark Plagueis’ apprentice have not only made this order better known, but also passed on its philosophy and skills to future generations. It was this, in the end, that made the Sith so formidable later on.
- The birth of the First Order. With the emergence of the Sith Order and the annihilation of the Jedi Order, combined with the subsequent fall of the Empire, a single order finally ruled the galaxy: the First Order. It is run by masters who share the same visions and ideals as Dark Plagueis and his apprentice. He also aims to settle the Sith in the galaxy.
- The constant conflict between the Sith and the Jedi. By implementing his plan to bring the Sith out of the shadows and, at the same time, choosing to explore the dark side of the force, Darth Plagueis triggered hostilities between the two clans.
The Great Sith Strategy, at the root of all these events, was devised by Darth Plagueis. It was the plan he communicated to Darth Sidious that enabled the latter to achieve the goal his Sith master had set himself. Starting with the collapse of the Galactic Republic, the Clone Wars and, of course, the birth of the Empire.
The birth of Darth Vader
Still under the influence of Darth Plagueis’ teachings, Darth Sidious was able to lure Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker into his fold. Having inherited his former master’s art of manipulation, Palpatine used the latter’s death and the Knight’s grief at losing his wife – Senator Padmé Amidala – to turn him to the dark side of the Force. And that’s how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.
Thanks to his ability to master the dark forces and manipulate the essence of life (midi-chlorians), Dark Plagueis the Wise has also achieved his second goal: thwarting death. It was his apprentice Darth Sidious who benefited. The latter managed to delay his death as long as possible, but was unable to prevent it. That said, thanks to the knowledge of his former master, he was able to achieve immortality by transferring his spirit into a younger body.
Its weak points
His blind trust in his apprentice
Dark Plagueis didn’t fully believe in the effectiveness of the Rule of Two. Yet this didn’t stop him from killing his own master to enforce it. He must therefore have known that his apprentice, although he had chosen to make him an ally and accomplice, would also eventually succumb to the lure of power. This is part of the nature of the Sith: to become a master in his turn, the apprentice must eliminate his master.
In fact, he had trained him so well in handling it. And since Darth Sidious was thirsty for power and domination, unlike him, he had to expect it. But he, too, let himself be blinded. Which suggests that, despite his power and legendary mastery of the dark Force, he was not infallible.
His defeat in the face of death
Given all his studies and research into immortality, and in particular his ability to manipulate midi-chlorians, one would have expected the powerful Sith master to have the ability to thwart his own death. But this is not the case.
“What an irony, he had conquered death for others, but his own, he couldn’t avoid it.”
-Darth Sidious, in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.
A few theories
The Dark Plagueis film and the third episode of the Star Wars saga have shed much light on the role the Sith Master played in the outbreak of Star Wars. That said, he remains a mysterious and, as such, fascinating character. The enigma it represents is the subject of numerous theories.
He had foreseen his death
Strange though, and for many fans, that the man who discovered how to create and restore life couldn’t save his own. Darth Sidious himself, who knew better than anyone what his master was capable of, found it ironic.
But according to some theories, Darth Plagueis was well aware of his apprentice’s intentions. He knew in advance that the latter was going to kill him, and precisely when and where he was going to do it. But he let it happen, because it was necessary to achieve his goals for the galaxy. His extraordinary legacy is proof of this.
Darth Plagueis Snoke
In the seventh episode of the saga, The First Order is born. It’s led by Supreme Leader Snoke, a creature whose face is covered in scars. According to many fans, he is the reincarnation of Dark Plagueis. That said, the two opuses that followed neither confirmed nor disproved this theory.
Dark Plagueis was actually called Hego Damask.
Master Darth Plagueis was murdered in his sleep by his disciple, Darth Sidious, following the famous Sith Rule of Two.
The Rule of Two is a law which stipulates that there can only be two Sith: the master and the apprentice.