|“||I am the Dark Lord who will restore the Sith to glory. They call me Bane.||„|
|~ Darth Bane|
|“||The Sith killed each other; victims of their own greed. But from the ashes of destruction, I was the last survivor. I chose to pass my knowledge unto only one. I created a legacy so resilient that now you come before me. (chuckles) Have you come to be my apprentice? You must kill me to gain my place.||„|
|~ Darth Bane's spectre speaking to Yoda.|
Darth Bane, born under the name of Dessel, is a major antagonist in the Star Wars franchise. He was the Sith'ari and the Dark Lord of the Sith responsible for creating the Rule of Two. He is the eponymous villainous protagonist of the novels Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Darth Bane: Rule of Two and Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil.
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he is voiced by Mark Hamill who also plays Luke Skywalker in the same series and The Joker from the Batman universe.
Early Life and Joining the Sith (Legends)
Originally named Dessel, he was the son of Hurst, a miner, and often mistreated by his father and his coworkers. Hurst blamed Dessel for his mother dying in childbirth, often calling him “bane.” Dessel started working as a miner of cortosis and learned to look out for himself, shutting out the insults of Hurst and his coworkers. Eventually, he started feeling himself drawn to the dark side of the Force. Dessel finally lost his patience with Hurst and got in a fight with him, withstanding his father cracking his ribs without any noise. Shortly afterwards, Dessel imagined his father’s death via a hand crushing his heart. The next morning, Hurst was found dead, Dessel not realizing he’d killed him with the Force. Afterwards, he started standing up to his father’s cohorts and beat them in fights until they learned not to bother him. However, Dessel was eventually attacked by Gerd, a friend of Hurst’s who was drunk and wanted to put him in his place. However, Dessel bit off Gerd’s thumb in the fight and was sent back to town. He was suspended without pay and therefore decided his most viable option was to gamble in the local cantina. He used his skill and his deadly accurate Force Premonition to win multiple hands in Sabaac, frequently criticizing the Republic. Eventually, Dessel found himself in a down to the wire game with a young Republic ensign and just managed to win. His friend, Groshik, stopped the ensign from attacking Dessel and warned him to be careful, noting how he seemed to constantly twist the soldiers he played against and pass his anger along to the other patrons. Upon leaving the cantina, Dessel was assaulted by the ensign and two soldiers, easily taking them on and even killed the ensign when he tried to pull out a vibroblade with his own weapon, sensing it with the Force. Dessel asked Groshik for help and the Nemoidian managed to help him avoid getting caught and imprisoned, sending him to the Sith order.
Dessel become a soldier for the Brotherhood of Darkness and joined in the New Sith Wars, eventually became a sergeant. His Force powers made him an even more able commander and his unit came to respect him far more than their commander, Ulabore. The unit was regarded as one of the best in the Sith army, taking on the most important missions. However, at one point they received an order during the Battle of Phaseera that Ulabore knew was a mistake. But he went along with it, fearing the wrath of the Sith Lord who gave the order. Dessel turned on his commander and knocked him out, before taking command, only to be blinded by a flash grenade. However, he found he could still see the enemy troops, unaware it was the Force, and gunned them down. Dessel learned after the battle that Ulabore had reported him to Sith Lord Kopecz. But instead of being punished, Kopecz sent him to Korriban to be trained at the Sith Academy. Dessel decided to reinvent himself and took on a new name, inspired by his father’s mistreatment, Bane.
Rising up to be a Sith Lord (Legends)Bane dedicated himself fully to his Sith training, being taught by Sith Lords Qordis and Kas'im and studying the Sith academy archives in his own time. His teachers discouraged this, stating the archives were outdated and best forgotten. Thus, Bane focused more on his training and his Force abilities started to become greater than many of the other students. As he quickly became one of the top students at the academy, he was challenged by another student, Forhagh, to duel. Bane was beaten and Fohargh mocked him, only for him to unleash a huge wave of dark Force energy at his opponent in his rage, which was against the rules set by Kas’im. This caused Bane to attract the attention of one of Qordis’ favored students, Sirak. Qordis ordered Kas’im to keep a close eye on Bane as opposed to punishing him. The end of the fight caused Bane to realize he’d killed his father and fear the dark side’s powers, losing his link to it. He decided he had to do something to avoid falling too far and took on Sirak, only to lose easily and be looked down upon by the rest of the Sith. Bane desperately returned to the archives and learned more of the Sith’s history and the dark side’s potential. He began to think that the Brotherhood of Darkness was wrong in how they did things and none of them were true Sith. Bane also asked Kas’im about why no Sith Lord took the title of Darth anymore and was informed that Skere Kaan had forbidden it, since using the title was part of what encouraged the internal conflict that had ravaged the Sith previously. Shortly afterwards, Githany, who’d left the Jedi, joined the academy. The two realized they could mutually benefit from each other, Githany could use Bane to take down her rival, Sirak, and Bane could have her teach him secret Force techniques. Bane ensured neither of his teachers were aware they were aiding each other and continued studying the archives, learning much more than he’d thought possible and adding to his Force knowledge. Bane quickly mastered both Force powers and lightsaber combat, challenging Sirak to another duel. He was able to emerge victorious and humiliate his foe. Afterwards, Bane received a special lightsaber from Kas'im that had once belonged to the Sith Lord’s master, Na'daz. The Blademaster told Bane he’d killed his master in a duel, taking the lightsaber to remember his master’s teachings. Bane was then called for by Qordis, who told him he was aware that Githany had been helping him and that he was to stay out of the archives. Already disenfranchised with the current Sith order, Bane angrily left the Academy for the Valley of the Dark Lords to find answers in the Sith Lord tombs. He found no spirits of the previous Sith Lords, deciding that they felt the current Sith were unworthy of their presence. Bane decided that Skere Kaan focused too much on the well being of the order as opposed to the dark side, which held the Sith back from destroying the Jedi. Bane returned back to the academy after two weeks and met Githany, who told him that the students were to become Sith Lords on Kaan’s orders, then sent to Ruusan to fight against the Jedi. In the archives, Bane was betrayed by Githany and attacked by Sirak along with two of his allies. But Githany double crossed Sirak and gave Bane his lightsaber, before fighting alongside him. Sirak tried to plead for his life after his allies were killed, offering his servitude to Bane only to be beheaded. In that moment, Bane let go of all his fear and guilt, giving himself fully to the dark side.
Destroying the Old Order (Legends)
Githany declared the two of them were now Sith Lords and they could now head to Russan. Bane said he had other plans and Githany begged him to wait before he did anything against Kaan’s Brotherhood. However, he ignored her and went to confront Qordis, asking to know if he’d ordered Sirak to assassinate him. Qordis was enraged and disgusted that Bane killed one of the academy’s top students but he replied that Qordis and the other masters were cowards. He declared himself Darth Bane and that he was done with the Brotherhood, heading to the roof and taking Qordis’ starships, heading to Lehon in order to understand the dark side. Bane searched Lehon for the Temple of the Ancients, taming a wild rancor as a steed as he looked, and felt much closer to the Dark Side than ever. Bane searched the temple for relics and discovered a holocron that had been made by Darth Revan. He activated and studied the holocron, learning more than he’d ever in the Academy, reinforcing his belief that the Brotherhood had to be gotten rid of for the sake of the Sith. However, Kas’im came after Bane, having been sent by Kaan as the Dark Lord feared what Bane might do. Kas’im confronted his former pupil and engaged in a fearsome battle with Bane being caught off guard when the Blademaster used double lightsabers, something he had never been trained to fight. However, Bane used his knowledge of the temple layout to take the advantage by blasting at Kas’im with a blast of Force energy, causing the temple to collapse on the Blademaster. Bane sent a messenger drone to tell Kaan that Kas’im had failed to kill him, along with instructions on making a thought bomb, which Kaan kept secret. Bane also told Kaan that he wanted to return to the Brotherhood. Githany offered to kill him and Kaan agreed with Githany meeting Bane on Ambria. The Sith waited for her on the shore of Lake Naath, a poisonous lake that was the focal point of the planet’s dark side energy.
Bane spent the time trying to think of who he could take as his apprentice when the brotherhood was gone. Githany arrived and the two kissed each other deeply, but Bane tasted poison, realizing she’d been sent to assassinate him. He considered making her his apprentice, but while she understood the dark side properly, he decided she was too devoted to Kaan and the Brotherhood. Bane sent her away, thinking her poison was too weak to bother him, but realized she’d used a lesser poison to cover the presence of a far greater one. Bane tried to use the suffering of all who died in battle on Ambria, but found it was too weak and fell unconscious. A family of scavengers came across Bane’s lightsaber and he used the Force to make it kill the boy and his brothers, using the father’s horror and pain to gain strength.
Bane then killed the man and was able to find a healer named Caleb, gaining his help by threatening to torture his daughter. Afterwards, he considered killing the healer, but decided he could still be useful later on. Bane then headed to Ruusan and began his plan to wipe out the brotherhood, revealing himself to Kaan and the Dark Lords. He called them cowards and said they held back the Sith, offering to wipe out the Jedi using a Force Wave. Kaan agreed and Bane met them on a cliffside overlooking the forest the Jedi were hiding in. They performed a ritual that channeled the dark side’s power into Bane before unleashing it to set the forest ablaze. The Jedi fled but before the Sith Lord could wipe them all out, Kaan stopped the ritual, wanting to defeat the Jedi with more conventional means. Enraged, Bane realized Githany truly was not fit to be his apprentice after she defended Kaan’s actions. Kopecz informed Bane that the Brotherhood would never accept him, before leaving. Bane returned to the Sith compound to continue his plan where he met Qordis, who offered to help him overthrow Kaan. However Bane replied he hadn’t come back to take over the brotherhood, he’d come to annihilate it. He then killed Qordis with the Force, mocking him for begging to die by lightsaber combat. Bane then gave Admiral Adrianna Nyas, leader of the Sith fleet, the order to engage the Jedi forces. This allowed the Jedi to arrive on the planet and engage the Sith, driving them back to the camp. Bane told Kaan, who felt out of options, to use the thought bomb to wipe out the Jedi. The Dark Lord used a mind trick to make Bane think the other Sith didn’t trust him, believing that he wanted to take over the brotherhood. Kaan planned to lure the Jedi into a trap and kill them with the thought bomb, then come back to kill Bane. However Bane was easily resisting his mind trick while pretended that Kaan had succeeded He knew that the Sith Lords would not survive the thought bomb and waited until he felt its detonation and knew he had succeeded.
That left Bane with one loose end, finding an apprentice. He found Zannah, a young Force-sensitive girl, who had been brought to the planet by the Jedi but had been separated from them. Bane sensed her Force potential and anger and was impressed when she refused to back down from him, taking her as his apprentice
Beginning The Rule of Two (Legends)
Bane took Zannah back to the Sith’s camp, driving off a group of mercenaries he found looting it. They searched the camp for anything of worth and discovered a manuscript describing Freedon Nadd, which had been added to by Qordis, telling the location of Nadd’s tomb. Bane also found account numbers to Qordis' vast funds, before leaving to see the site of the thought bomb explosion.
He explained his Rule of Two to Zannah and in the cave, came across Darovit, Zannah’s cousin. Zannah told him she was a Sith now and Darovit attacked Bane, though he was clearly no match for him. Zannah made his hand explode to protect him from Bane and the Sith Lord let it go, thinking the boy was of no threat to them. Bane decided to head to Dxun alone to find even greater power, while he told Zannah to meet him on Onderon in two weeks, leaving her to prove herself by doing so on her own. Bane headed to Dxun, where he was visited by Qordis’ ghost, scolding him for turning on the brotherhood. He replied he was working for the betterment of the Sith but Qordis continually taunted him over the days it took him to reach Dxun. Starting to wonder whether or not he was sane, Bane finally blasted the ghost with dark side energies, but damaged his ship, crash-landing on Dxun. Bane survived and marched out onto Dxun, ignoring Qordis as he continued out into the landscape. Kaan’s spirit also appeared to him, but did not trouble him, instead guiding him to the tomb.
Bane searched it and found Nadd’s holocron, but was attacked by several beetle creatures, orbalisks, that latched onto his skin and gnawed on him. He proved unable to remove them and was forced to study the holocron with them attached, discovering that the orbalisks had invulnerable shells, even to lightsabers. They also boosted his healing capabilities and increased his Force abilities and anger. Bane took the holocron from the tomb and headed to Onderon, finding Zannah trying to deal with Beast Riders. Bane attacked them, easily slaying them and he began training his apprentice. They left Onderon and spent the next ten years on Ambria, using the funds they took from Qordis to create a huge intelligence network that they used to gain information they could use to defeat the Jedi. Bane trained Zannah in the ways of the dark side, also teaching her the tenets of the Rule of Two to pass down to future Sith Lords. Bane also occasionally had Zannah cause rebellions on various worlds to keep the Republic occupied. However, he told her to make sure these rebels failed, not wanting any to overthrow the Republic just yet. On one occasion, Zannah returned from one mission with Hetton, a Force-sensitive nobleman, and his Shadow Assassins. Bane slaughtered them and angrily attacked Zannah, thinking she’d been trying to betray him. She managed to stop him by telling him it was a trick to finish off Hetton and get the location of the planet, Tython, which was the location of the fortress of Belia Darzu, an ancient Dark Lord, which contained information on how to make holocrons. Bane had been trying and failing to do so multiple times, before heading to Tython. He was starting to think the beetles on him might be keeping him from reaching his full potential. Bane wanted to know if he could remove them and claimed the holocron within, successfully using its information to create one of his own. However, Zannah returned, alongside Darovit, who’d informed the Jedi of the Sith’s continued existence.
After his apprentice told Bane that she’d been followed by the Jedi, the two engaged the Jedi inside Darzu’s fortress. They managed to cut down most of the Jedi until Bane moved to blast one with Force Lightning. He used a protection bubble to send the lightning back at the Sith Lord, frying the orbalisks and releasing poison into him, which left him on the verge of death. Zannah killed the last Jedi before taking Bane to Caleb for healing, but he refused as the apprentice had no leverage to make him. Zannah agreed to give herself and her master up to the Jedi if he was healed. A week later, Bane awoke cured, but was disappointed with Zannah for the agreement she made. He asked her to kill him, not wanting to be prisoner to the Jedi, but Zannah revealed her real plan, killing Caleb and driving Darovit insane with the Force. Thus, when the Jedi came for them, Zannah hid herself and Bane, allowing Davorit to attack the Jedi in his crazed state and forcing them to kill him. Bane admitted he was proud of his apprentice and told her she would one day be strong enough to take him down, then have her own apprentice.
Completing his Role (Legends)
Shortly afterwards, Bane and Zannah had based themselves in Ciutric IV, continuing to build their intelligence network and planning to finally take the Jedi down. Bane also posed as a collector of artifacts to obtain Sith artifacts, but he was starting to worry about Zannah. She seemed to have no interest in taking over as leader of the Sith and Bane worried she was too weak. The Rule of Two stated that the apprentice had to kill their master at their prime and if she waited too long, the Sith would become weaker. Bane was also aging much quicker than normal and sought to try and learn the ways of Darth Andeddu, a Sith Lord who’d used the Dark Side to live on for centuries. Bane met with an authority on Sith artifacts, Argel Tenn, despite finding the man irritating due to his claiming to be a Sith expert. The Sith Lord asked Tenn to find information on Andeddu and he brought him an ancient manuscript about Andeddu. Bane read in it about a fortress of Andeddu on Prakith, deciding to travel there while he sent Zannah on another mission. Bane located the fortress on Prakith, but was attacked by a cult dedicated to Andeddu, though he easily slew them. Inside, the Sith Lord found Andeddu’s holocron and activated it on the way back, only to find the gatekeeper personality of the holocron was unwilling to give him the knowledge he wanted. Bane angrily forced his mind into the holocron itself, taking the knowledge by force and learning to use the power of essence transfer, where, through a dangerous ritual, he could place his spirit in another body. But Bane returned to find Zannah was still gone and was then attacked by an Iktotchi and a bunch of soldiers. He managed to cut down several before being stabbed with a neurotoxin coated blade that knocked him out. Bane was brought to Princess Serra, the daughter of Caleb who wanted to make him pay for his death. Serra tried to torture him using poisons but Bane pointed out he hadn’t killed Caleb with Serra stating it was still his fault. However, he didn’t beg for any mercy, stating Caleb had been weak and he’d been captured because he hadn’t been strong enough. Bane added that he’d escape but Serra injected him with the neurotoxin from before in anger, knocking him out. However, Serra’s bodyguard, Lucia, had fought alongside Bane when he was Dessel and was shocked with the princess’ rage and cruelty. Lucia freed the Sith Lord since she felt he’d saved her life with his actions during the Sith Wars, giving him an injection that would stop the effects of the neurotoxin. Bane escaped, killing several guards, and sensed Zannah was nearby, his apprentice having tracked him and come to kill him as she believed his interest in Darth Andeddu was so he could rule the Sith forever. Bane came across Lucia, who told him what she’d done and asked him not to kill Serra. He replied he was not the soldier she’d known and prepared to kill her, before Zannah appeared and did it herself. The apprentice said Bane was weak and not willing to pass on his knowledge while he replied she was hardly ready to become Dark Lord of the Sith. Zannah attacked and Bane, lacking his lightsaber, held her off with his Force powers. However Serra activated the prison’s self destruct and Bane used the Force to bring down the ceiling, separating the two of them. As he made his escape, he came across the Ikotchi from before, who bowed and gave him his lightsaber. She said she wanted to be his apprentice and Bane accepted, realizing she was powerful in the Force and determined to be a Sith. They escaped together and the Ikotchi said she had tracked Bane down thanks to Force visions. The two headed to Ambria based on another of her visions and found Serra, who tried to convince them to stop pursuing the dark side. The Ikotchi merely killed her and Bane dubbed her Darth Cognus, before he focused on finally finishing off Zannah. He sent Zannah a message to come and face him and she agreed.
Bane told Cognus to stay back and when his former apprentice arrived, the two engaged in a duel to the finish. He continually maintained the upper hand in the duel and Zannah eventually unleashed tendrils made of pure dark side energy. One managed to touch Bane and he felt pain unlike any he’d experienced before, but managed to disarm Zannah. However, one tendril suddenly disintegrated his arm and Bane attempted to send out his spirit into Zannah, trying to wipe out her mind and take over. The two engaged in a battle of wills that his apprentice Darth Zannah ultimately won with Bane’s body disintegrating.
Legacy after Death (Canon/Legends)
Despite his death, Bane had succeeded in his goal, the Rule of Two continued on for almost a thousand years. Ultimately, it did succeed with the Sith Lords, Darth Sidious and Darth Vader taking over the galaxy and almost wiping out the Jedi entirely. Thus, Bane lived up to the legends that declared him to be the Sith’ari, who would restore the Sith to glory.
Bane’s spirit also once appeared to Jedi Master Yoda when he visited his tomb, asking if Yoda knew who he was. The Jedi revealed he knew exactly who Bane was and the Sith Lord attempted to convince Yoda to be his apprentice. However, he replied that he was nothing but an illusion and Bane’s spirit was dragged back into his sarcophagus.
Bane’s holocron, along with those of Darth Nihilus and Andeddu, came into the possession of Darth Krayt. He accessed Bane’s due to his experience with the orbalisks that had latched onto him, hoping to learn how he might deal with his Yuuzhan Vong infection. Darth Bane merely scolded him for replacing the Rule of Two with his Rule of One, stating it would bring about the Sith’s downfall.
Bane is a hateful Social Darwinist, believing that the weak only deserve to serve the strong, who should rule, and that equality was a lie. This was what drove him away from the brotherhood, as they advocated equality amongst the Sith. He is extremely dedicated to the Sith’s beliefs and wants to destroy the Jedi, even when it means thinking in the long term. Bane focuses on absolutely imparting his ideals to his apprentice and believes his Rule of Two could continually strengthen the Sith. Bane also believes that the natural ambition the Sith possess keeps them from functioning properly in great numbers and the infighting draws them away from fighting the Jedi. Bane is also quite dedicated to the classic ways of the Sith, taking the title of Darth after it had been forbidden for years. He also continually studied the ways of old Sith Lords to use for his own ends. Bane’s will is particularly strong, he entrenches himself deeply in the dark side, and has rarely showed any inclination to give up in a fight. Bane also looked down on focusing on material possession and wealth, only using such things to help the Sith order. Bane also considered honor to be a foolish ideal, but while he was a ruthless killer, he thinks very little of those who kill without reason, seeing them as barbaric fools.
Powers and Abilities
Bane is an extremely powerful Sith Lord in all aspects of the role. His lightsaber training with Kas’im gives him incredible skill and when he received his orbalisk armor, he took on an all offense fighting style derived from the Diem So style. After losing it, Bane uses a more complicated, unpredictable style that had various evasion moves. He is so fast he can deflect rain with his lightsaber and was called a force of nature by some. Bane’s power with the Force is vast, granting him telekinesis that he can use to move objects or unleash extremely powerful blasts of force, use extremely powerful force lightning, and draw on the dark side to unleash incredible Force Waves that can devastate almost anything caught in them. However, Bane cannot use this technique too much as it is quite taxing. He also studies many of the ancient knowledge of past Sith, which he used for things like making Sith holocrons. Bane is extremely good at taking physical pain thanks to his experience with the orbalisks and is also quite resistant to poisons. Bane also can draw on negative emotions to increase his power and strength.