The last five years have been bittersweet for Star Wars fans. Following completion of the prequel trilogy, most moviegoers believed that Expanded Universe stories, told across a wide variety of entertainment mediums, would be the only way to experience new Star Wars tales going forward - that is until the surprise announcement that Lucasfilm had been purchased by Disney. Along with the sale, it was revealed that plans were already taking shape for a new trilogy of episodes, set after the events depicted in Return of the Jedi, as well as spinoff stories (now dubbed "Anthology" films).
However, amidst the excitement, Lucasfilm and Disney also dealt a major blow to fan-favorite mythology set in the Galaxy Far, Far Away, by sidelining the Expanded Universe as non-canon "Legends," in order to ensure that Episode 7 director J.J. Abrams, and the parade of filmmakers that would follow with Episode 8 and 9 as well as the anthology installments, would not be limited by storylines, characters, and world-building depicted in decades-old novels, comic books, and video games. The move led to a lot of confusion - but, sadly, the shift from Expanded Universe tales to a fully-fledged Episode 7 (and beyond) wasn't the only time that fans have been confused. In fact, some hardcore Star Wars fans might, unknowingly, have been spreading misinformation for years.
To help readers prepare for The Force Awakens, we're breaking down a few of the biggest misconceptions that some Star Wars fans still get wrong.
Dark Force Wielders Are Not (All) Sith
Previously, we suggested Star Wars fans should watch The Clone Wars and Rebels - since both animated series explore a number of topics that indulge fan curiosity. The Force, in particular, is regularly explored in the animated series - especially the Dark Side. Throughout the six-part film series, George Lucas hammered home the Rule of Two - an ancient doctrine limiting the Sith to only two members at any given time: A master and an apprentice. Combined with the Skywalker-centric story of Luke and Anakin struggling to repel Dark Side temptation, the Rule of Two led many Star Wars fans to believe The Force manifests at black and white extremes - with Jedi on one side and Sith on the other.
However, not all Dark Force wielders are Sith - even within confirmed Star Wars canon. Most notably, the Nightsisters of Dathomir harness the Dark Force in the same way that Earth folklore would suggest witches harnessed Dark Magic - reviving the dead, spell casting, and cursing enemies with sickness. Similarly, Inquisitors in Star Wars Rebels are also not Sith - they're merely Dark Force users trained to hunt Jedi. Plenty of other Dark Force users exist within the Star Wars universe, the Nightsisters and Inquisitors are just two examples, with many "Dark Side Adepts" hiding in plain sight and using their Force-sensitivity in only subtle ways.
Conversely, the Sith is a specific religious sect, with clear-cut tenants, that utilizes the Dark Side in the interest of achieving absolute power - and destroying the Jedi. In the Expanded Universe (now non-canon "Legends"), Sith Master Darth Bane instituted the Rule of Two ("Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it.") to consolidate the orders's power - and ensure the Sith were not distracted by internal disagreements, politics, and in-fighting. While many Dark Force users have aspired to join the Sith, and sub-cults dedicated their actions to serving the Sith, the Sith Order is extremely exclusive.
To that end, this is why J.J. Abrams can claim that Episode 7's Kylo Ren (and the other Knights of Ren) is not actually a Sith warrior - since he, like many Dark Force wielders before him, is presumably just a disciple of the Sith and their aims, especially Darth Vader.