|“||Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.||„|
|~ Palpatine about the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis.|
Darth Plagueis, born under the name of Hego Damask, and remembered as Darth Plagueis the Wise, is a Muun Dark Lord of the Sith, heir to the lineage of Darth Bane and a master of midi-chlorian manipulation. He lived during the century leading up to the Invasion of Naboo. Obsessed with eternal life, Plagueis experimented with ways to cheat death and create new life from the midi-chlorians. He is the titular protagonist villain of the novel Darth Plagueis.
His great contribution to the history of the galaxy was training Darth Sidious in the ways of the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force, whom he incited to take control of the galaxy and bring about an age of the Sith. Sidious, convinced that his master had outlived his usefulness, eventually killed him in his sleep.
Years later, Sidious (in his civilian guise of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine) recounted Plagueis' story as The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, an old "Sith legend", to sway Anakin Skywalker to the dark side.
Several years before Hego Damask's birth, his father, a Force-sensitive Muun named Caar Damask, who worked as a middle ranking Banking Clan agent, met renowned starship designer Rugess Nome by chance on High Port Space Center. Nome, in his capacity as reigning Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Tenebrous, had been searching for the right apprentice to train for the sole purpose of eventually possessing through the virulent midi-chlorians he had dubbed "maxi-chlorians" in order for his consciousness to survive until the creation of the Chosen One. Years after his meeting with Damask, Tenebrous discovered another Force-sensitive Muun—a lower-caste female—and conscripted her as a disciple, for she was not strong enough in the Force to be considered for apprenticeship. Tenebrous, using Bith scientific methods, had predicted that the offspring of Damask and his disciple would be strong in the Force. For this purpose, he tasked his Muun disciple to seduce Caar Damask and bear him a child.
Born on Mygeeto sometime between 200 and 100 BBY, the son of Caar Damask, who had become the planet's administrator more than ten years earlier, and his codicil wife, Hego Damask was named after his grandfather. Growing up in a domed city on a perpetually frozen and sparsely populated planet under the overly attentive gaze of his mother, Hego had a very atypical childhood for a Muun. She recorded every detail of his upbringing, encouraged him to talk with her about even the most furtive of his thoughts, and provided playmates for him, observing his interactions with them and interrogating him about his feelings regarding each specific youngling. Before his fifth birthday, Hego discovered that he could manipulate the Force by using it to ply the feelings of his playmates. He eventually tested the limits of this power by using a very potent mind trick on a Muun youngling he had grown to dislike, convincing the boy to commit suicide by jumping into a courtyard from a high window. Hego's mother instructed her son to keep his powers secret, and confided in him that they shared the gift.
Hego's parents handed him over to Nome as a youngling in return for a career advancement for Caar, presumably arranged through the Dark Lord's shadowy intelligence network. Tenebrous took the child as his apprentice, the one he intended to eventually possess, naming him—at some unknown point—Darth Plagueis. Plagueis left Mygeeto for the first time in his life, and began his life as a Sith.
Five years after handing his son to the Dark Lord, Caar Damask was appointed director of the treasury branch of the Banking Clan, realizing his lifelong dream of wielding real power within the IBC. His codicil wife disappeared without a trace. Five years after that, Plagueis learned the truth of Tenebrous's machinations that led to his birth. Caar Damask eventually rose to the top of the IBC as Chairman.
Darth Tenebrous and Darth Plagueis
|“||We Sith are an unseen opposition. A phantom menace. Where the Sith once wore armor, we now wear cloaks. But the Force works through us all the more powerfully in our invisibility.||„|
|~ Darth Tenebrous to a young Darth Plagueis.|
Darth Plagueis traveled the galaxy with his master, masquerading as Rugess Nome's young accountant while the two carried out the Sith plan of spreading discontent to ripen the galaxy for their rule. During his travels, Plagueis became acquainted with the backwater of the galaxy; in the years to come, he would feel at home in the run-down spaceports, seedy tapcafs and rough cantinas common in the Outer Rim.
Around the year 104 BBY, Plagueis undertook the trial of visiting Kursid and fighting its natives with Tenebrous for the first time.
Plagueis later told his own apprentice that his first mission under the tutelage of Lord Tenebrous was undertaken in the twenty-fifth year of his apprenticeship, at some point after 99 BBY: Tenebrous tasked his apprentice to murder Kerred Santhe the Elder. The assassination was accomplished by means of telekinetic strangulation during a banquet on Corulag; the Sith Lords took advantage of the fact that bloat eel was served in order to blame Santhe's death on the chefs. Following this trial, Plagueis veered from the Sith path, as often happens with apprentices when they first discover the potency of the dark side.
At some point, Darth Plagueis inherited the Damask fortune and took over the Sojourn Gatherings from his father. Gatherings were clandestine annual meetings of politicians, the leaders of various trade organizations and cartels, and even gangsters, hosted by Damask Holdings on the moon of Sojourn. Hego Damask transformed the Gatherings from the elite secret club it had been under his father into a Sith tool to influence the most influential beings of the galaxy in order to prepare the Republic for the submission to an enlightened elite promised by Darth Tenebrous.
During their long years together, Tenebrous did not invest in properly training Plagueis as a Sith. Instead, he sent him on various missions he judged pointless as a distraction, and cultivated his apprentice's unprecedented talent for midi-chlorian manipulation, all the while making sure that the Muun would only apply it to the preservation and extension of his own life, thus ensuring that he would live long enough for Tenebrous to possess the body of the Chosen One. Plagueis developed his powers in the Force and in the mundane world largely on his own, and indeed took them further than his Master believed. Tenebrous also took on a second apprentice, a Bith to whom he bestowed the name "Darth Venamis." Although Venamis was appraised of Plagueis's existence, Plagueis was kept in the dark—he believed he was his master's sole apprentice, in accordance with the Rule of Two, a rule he had come to resent.
The Murder of Darth Tenebrous
|“||Foolish, pathetic Plagueis....||„|
|~ Darth Tenebrous's thoughts on his apprentice.|
67 years before the Battle of Yavin, Darth Tenebrous learned of a cortosis deposit on the planet Bal'demnic, and personally went there to survey it with his apprentice, a treddroid, and an M-2 mining probe provided by Subtext Mining. What neither Tenebrous—apparently—nor Plagueis knew was that the probe had been sabotaged by an unknown party, with Subtext's complicity. Inside a cave on the side of a steep escarpment on the shore of the Northern Sea, the two Sith Lords landed their craft, a ship designed by Tenebrous himself, and set out to survey the cortosis vein, using enviro-suits to protect them from the deadly heat.
Tenebrous ascribed special significance to the mission—he believed that two Sith Lords mining cortosis at the apex of the Rule of Two era amounted to the “closing of a circle,” a circle that had began with Darth Bane, the Sith'ari of legend, starting on the path toward darkness in the Apatros cortosis mines. The enterprise soon came to an unexpected end, however, when the droid reported that the mining probe had discovered a pocket of a highly combustible variant of lethane directly beneath the borehole. Tenebrous ordered the droid to have the probe deactivated, but it failed; the probe overrode the droid’s commands. After the two Sith unsuccessfully tried to damage the probe using Force lightning, they hastened to return to the grotto where they had landed the ship, leaving the treddroid behind. Plagueis made sure to let it know that it had been useful before running away.
As the two Sith ran through the superheated caverns, Plagueis noticed that his Master was uncharacteristically distressed, as if he sensed something alarming in the Force. They had just made it to the grotto near the surface when the gas explosion caught them—Tenebrous conjured a barrier to shield them from the fireball, and when the ceiling began to collapse, he used the Force to protect the ship. It was at that moment that his apprentice saw a chance to kill him. Plagueis swiftly brought the huge slabs of stone down on his Master—and their ship—using the Force. Racing to Tenebrous’s side, Plagueis tried to comfort his Master. The Bith went along with his apprentice’s charade, and conferred the mantle of Sith Master to him. Plagueis informed Tenebrous that his death would mark the end of the Rule of Two, and that he would escape the grotto even without the ship; he then broke the Bith's neck, killing him.
Both Darth Plagueis and Darth Tenebrous had waited a long time for that moment. The latter had hoped that his apprentice would have made his move years earlier, and was happy to finally implement his plan. As Plagueis reached out in the Force to study Tenebrous’s dying midi-chlorians, the maxi-chlorians carrying the Bith's intelligence slipped out of his body undetected and infected a wound on the the Muun’s lower back, caused by a rock or some other projectile. As the maxi-chlorian virus propagated inside Plagueis's cells, Tenebrous accessed his apprentice's powers of foresight, the powers he had to give up himself in order to code his intelligence into the retrovirus. What he witnessed horrified him: instead of providing access to the Chosen One, Darth Plagueis died at the hands of his own apprentice, "the shadow." After the retrovirus completed the task it had been engineered for, the infection of all the cells in Plagueis's body, the Muun Dark Lord lost his powers of foresight. Tenebrous, after slipping out of his apprentice's body in panic, remained trapped as a disembodied essence in the cave.
Plagueis lost track of time after the murder, immersed as he was in the Force in order to study his Master's dying midi-chlorians. When he regained his composure, he discovered that he had been injured. After accessing the damaged ship, he realized that he could not repair it, nor could he use the Force to reach the oculus that led to the surface. So he set to work on removing the rubble from the ship using telekinesis and adding the rocks to a rubble pile he could climb to reach the surface. After he had completed his task, he entered the cockpit and retrieved his travel bag, which contained, among other effects, his lightsaber, a change of clothes, and a comlink, and also took Tenebrous's lightsaber and comlink. He changed, and after reassuring himself that the scene of the crime actually showed no evidence of a crime but rather of a simple starship crash, Plagueis left the cave.
Relying on a map in Tenebrous's comlink, the Sith Lord set out in search of the nearest city with a starport, located a few hundred kilometers to the south of the grotto, taking care to avoid contact with the Kon'me, the planet's indigenous inhabitants. When night fell, the Dark Lord took shelter in a shallow cave, and as he replayed the events of the previous day in his mind in an effort to fall asleep, he sensed the presence of a being of near-equal power to his. He considered that it might be Tenebrous's spirit come to hound him as legend would have it happened to Darth Bane with the Dark Lords whose tombs he had desecrated. But Plagueis, confident that he would outlive any usurpers to his rule of the Sith, did not allow this premonition to worry him, and fell asleep.
He awoke and resumed his course before sunrise. Famished, having caught little sleep, with an infected wound and tormented by biting insects, Plagueis was in bad shape, but he immersed himself in the dark side and ran. Resisting the urge to attack the lower-caste Kon'me of the nearby dwellings for sustenance, he sated his hunger on bats and dead fish washed ashore. As he reached the city, Plagueis had a vision of the future, a future of war for Bal'demnic. In the starport, the Muun looked around for an appropriate ship to stow away in. After finding one to his liking and recording its registry number—LS-447-3—in his comlink, he sneaked into the spaceport authority building, escaping the notice of the sleeping Kon'me nightshift guards, and found the registrar's office. He sliced into an office computer's control network, and called up information on the ship he had selected: the Woebegone out of Ord Mantell, captained by a Togruta woman by the name of Ellin Lah. The starship was scheduled to launch in the morning, bound for several Auril sector planets, with a cargo of fresh sea life kept within refrigerated containers that had cleared customs. It was within such a container that Plagueis sneaked inside the Woebegone, taking advantage of the Muun ability to regulate blood flow to the hearts in order to survive the freezing temperatures.
Once the crew discovered the stowaway, Plagueis promised to captain Lah that he was prepared not only to offer full recompense for the cargo he had spoiled, but moreover to reward them handsomely in exchange for passage to Muunilinst. He chose not to divulge his identity, however, and most crewmembers treated him with distrust. The deal eventually went sour, and Plagueis killed everyone—captain Lah, first mate Maa Kaap, the pilot Blir', the navigator Semasalli, and the crewmen Doo Zuto, Wandau and PePe Rossh, all fell to Plagueis's lightsaber; he only spared Lah's droid, 11-4D. Much to Plagueis's displeasure, he was unable to sustain the midi-chlorians of the crewmembers he butchered. Plagueis ordered 11-4D to set a course for the coordinates he provided, and retreated to the captain's quarters. The droid then tended to the festering wound the Dark Lord had received in the cave-in, and served him food and drink.
The Discovery of Darth Venamis
|“|| Venamis: I am Darth Venamis.|
Plagueis: Darth? We'll see about that.
Venamis:Your death will legitimize the title, Plagueis.
|~ Darth Venamis and Darth Plagueis.|
During the Gathering on Sojourn, Plagueis met with Gardulla the Hutt, Qayhuk of the Yinchorri Council of Elders, and Gossam representatives of Subtext Mining. After threatening them for causing the death of Darth Tenebrous, the Gossams revealed the presence of a massive plasma reserve recently discovered under the city of Theed on the Mid Rim world of Naboo that could be highly profitable for Damask Holdings. Plagueis chose to spare their lives, ordering his Sun Guards to transport them to the most remote world they could find in the Tingel Arm in case he needed them again.
After the Gathering, Plagueis was informed by his Sun Guards that an intruder had breached the retreat's security. The Dark Lord sensed this was the work of a Force-sensitive being and set out to challenge the trespasser in the forests of Sojourn. Originally, he thought it was a Jedi, but was proved wrong when attacked by a Bith wielding a crimson-bladed lightsaber. Caught by surprise, Plagueis momentarily believed this to be his deceased Master Tenebrous, and then mused that he might be an artificially-created offspring, but the Bith claimed to have been selected by Tenebrous as his Sith apprentice under the moniker of Darth Venamis. Venamis told Plagueis that he planned to execute his Master's last command—to kill Plagueis, and legitimize the title as Darth.
Theirs was a short but fierce duel; so as to better prepare his apprentice for the fight against Plagueis, Tenebrous had taught Venamis the same fighting style the Muun was proficient in so that he would have an advantage when they faced each other. Damask originally had trouble fighting this new foe, but eventually gained the upper hand and disarmed Venamis, using both his and the Bith's weapon to force him to his knees. Darth Venamis then offered to apprentice himself to Plagueis, but the Muun had other plans for him: he forced Venamis to poison himself by ingesting a coma-bloom. Plagueis planned to use Venamis as a test subject, as part of his experiments on midi-chlorians.
Eliminating the competition
Plagueis discovered that Venamis had kept his eye on several Force-sensitive troublemakers as potential apprentices. With a comatose Venamis safely inside a bacta tank in Aborah, he set out to eliminate them and secure his position as the reigning Dark Lord.
Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious
|“||Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength, so I will know how best to undermine you; tell me of your greatest fear, so I will know which I must force you to face; tell me what you cherish most, so I will know what to take from you; and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you.||„|
|~ Darth Plagueis to a young Darth Sidious.|
In 65 BBY, Plagueis, under his public name of Hego Damask, traveled to Naboo to inspect the situation for himself. During this time, Naboo was at the peak of election season, and the candidates for the throne were divided between a conservative faction which wanted Naboo to remain an isolationist Republic member world, its resources exploited only internally and not by greedy megacorporations, and a liberal faction which wanted to fully integrate Naboo into the Galactic Republic. The candidate of the latter faction, Bon Tapalo, secured the endorsement of both Damask Holdings and the Trade Federation by promising to open Naboo to trade, which would allow them to profit from the plasma resources. His opponent was supported by staunch royalists and traditionalists such as Cosinga Palpatine, patriarch of House Palpatine, and Naboo representative Vidar Kim, influential figures in Naboo politics both.
Plagueis eventually learned that Tapalo had an informant in the rival campaign who provided him with vital information. His agents discovered that the informant was a seventeen-year-old student in the Legislative Youth Program called Palpatine, the son of the man who stood most fervently against Tapalo and his ilk, Cosinga Palpatine. Eager to know more about the young man, Plagueis convinced him when they met at the Legislative Program's Theed headquarters to give him a tour of the town in his prized speeder.
From this first encounter, Plagueis learned much about the young aristocrat: he was interested in politics but was shy to admit it; had a modest fondness for art and desired for his homeworld to be opened to the wider galaxy. Most notably, Plagueis learned of the young man's severe estrangement with his father which had been going on for years and years. Impressed by the young man's ambition, intelligence and motivations, Plagueis offered to use him as a spy to secure Tapalo's election and Damask Holdings' interests on Naboo. Palpatine accepted the offer on one condition: he would report to Plagueis alone and directly. This led Plagueis to consider that Palpatine saw him as the father figure he never had. But he too was intrigued by the young man. For two standard days after leaving Naboo, Palpatine was constantly in Damask's mind. After a falling out with Senator Pax Teem of the Gran Protectorate over Damask's support of Gardulla during the Phoebos Memorial Run on Malastare, Plagueis began to consider Palpatine for the role of figurehead Supreme Chancellor that would bring the galaxy under the rule of the Sith.
Immediately after landing on Naboo a standard month after his first visit, Plagueis and his retinue of Damask Holdings and IBC members were detained by a group of security guards. The Muuns were forced to remain in one of the spaceport's holding areas for about an hour, after which time two Palace Guards arrived to escort the Magister to a waiting Gian speeder. Damask was taken to Convergence in the Lake Country, where he met Cosinga Palpatine. Cosinga, who had noticed the friendship between the Magister and his eldest son, demanded that the Muuns stay away from Naboo, and that Damask specifically stay away from his son.
Plagueis, undeterred, traveled to Hanna City on Chandrila to meet with Palpatine, who was on the planet participating in a monthlong retreat sponsored by the Legislative Youth Program at the time, and updated him on the situation. The young man was furious at his father's attempt to meddle in his affairs, and his fury buffeted Plagueis as he felt it in the Force. Palpatine demanded help and advice, to which Plagueis replied that the young Human could use this incident as a means of emancipating himself. After some back-and-forth palaver, Palpatine revealed to the Magister that he sought ultimate power, and Plagueis told him that he was willing to be his ally in this quest provided that he free himself of all restrictions, chief among them his family. The Muun then related the story—a carefully put together amalgam of fact and fiction—of his own emancipation: he told Palpatine that, following his father's deathbed advice to use whatever means were necessary to protect his interests from less enlightened beings, he had orchestrated an elaborate ruse to poison his family and inherit the Damask fortune in its entirety. In reality, Plagueis was coaxing the young Human to confront his father and break the barriers he had built to hide his true nature. In fact, he had approached him on Chandrila so that Cosinga's spies would spot them together, making the confrontation between father and son inevitable.
All went according to Plagueis's plan, and as Palpatine was preparing to leave for Naboo aboard the Jafan III, one of his father's security guards came to escort him to the family starship. Palpatine murdered his family soon after the starship entered hyperspace, and contacted Damask, who promised him that all evidence would be destroyed, leaving nothing to link Palpatine to his family's disappearance. Plagueis also saw the young man, whose power in the Force was immense, who was insidious, ambitious and arrogant by nature, as well as completely lacking in empathy, ready to join the Sith as his apprentice. In a cabin aboard the starship Quantum Collosus, Palpatine knelt before his new Master and swore his loyalty to the Sith Order, and Plagueis bestowed upon him a new name: Darth Sidious.
|“||Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?||„|
|~ Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker about the legendary Sith story|
Sidious spoke little of Plagueis to his apprentice Darth Tyranus, who himself knew the Muun as Hego Damask, and in the following decades, only gave hints to his next apprentice, Darth Vader. However, he did use Plagueis' story to seduce Anakin Skywalker into becoming Vader. The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, Palpatine's Sith legend, told of Plagueis' abilities to create and preserve life; according to Palpatine, the tragic irony was that though he could keep others from dying, he could not save himself. Skywalker, seeking Plagueis' power to save his own wife Padmé, later apprenticed himself to Palpatine.
At some point after Palpatine brought the galaxy under his heel by reorganizing the Republic into the First Galactic Empire, probably between 19 and 18 BBY, the Dark Lord included a manuscript fragment on the nature of the dark side and the progress of the Aborah experiments written by Plagueis's hand c. 45 BBY (both dates are Master Luke Skywalker's non-scholarly estimates) into his Book of the Sith, showing respect for his master by including him among the handful of Sith who advanced the cause and left behind documents detailing their approach to the dark side.
At some point after Plagueis' death, some of the members of a Sith cult known as the Apex Society, believed that Collan Eislo, the leader of the cult, was being guided by the spirits of deceased Sith Lords, such as Plagueis.
When historians in later years were unable to find much information on Plagueis, they suspected that Palpatine had destroyed everything about his master. The Wavlud Manuscript, one of the few sources of knowledge for the Jedi on the Sith and Sidious, revealed information on Plagueis to the Galactic Alliance and New Jedi Order. It is not known whether the information revealed about Plagueis identified him as the same individual as Hego Damask.
Personality and Traits
|“||You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species… finally, the galaxy itself.||„|
|~ Darth Plagueis|
Plagueis was wise and intellectual, so he possessed a logical mind, and his apprentice Palpatine believed that the extent to which he turned his sight inward was the source of his power and knowledge. He believed that power was to be gained incrementally, beginning with the self and culminating with control of the entire galaxy. As his own powers grew, he became afraid of nothing but losing that power. Plagueis was pathologically afraid of death, and this was the main reason he was chosen by Darth Tenebrous as an apprentice. He elected to change the usual means of Sith succession, death of the master by the hand of the apprentice, by becoming immortal together with his own apprentice and forgoing the need for succession. Eventually, he achieved a level of midi-chlorian control that allowed him to kill and resurrect sentient beings, as well as regenerate damaged or aged portions of his body through direct mental contact with the organelles, and came to see himself as the Sith'ari, the being free from all restrictions. However, as a result of his arrogance and his lack of precognitive abilities resulting from his maxi-chlorian infection, he never saw his own death coming.
Powers and abilities
|“|| Ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself.|
Is it possible to learn this power?
Not from a Jedi.
|~ Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker.|
- Unlike other characters who lived before the movies took place, Darth Plagueis has not made any significant in-person appearances, though he was briefly mentioned by Palpatine.
- It was theorized that Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Plagueis; however, this was quickly proven wrong, as Andy Serkis said that Snoke is "just Snoke".