In a previous list, we took a look at some of the most powerful Jedi ever to have turned to the dark side of the Force. For various reasons, these men and women all turned their backs on a lifetime of education and training to embrace the dark side’s promise of unrestricted power and control. It’s a journey even casual Star Wars fans are all too familiar with, but one that can also go the other way. Belief in redemption and in sapient species’ fundamental capacity for good is one of the most important aspects of Jedi philosophy: No matter what horrific crimes they may have committed, nobody is pure evil (well, maybe except Palpatine) and even the worst monsters have a spark of goodness within them that can be ignited if you know where to look. Whether they were raised in darkness or renegade Jedi who were seduced by it, these following Force users all ultimately chose to turn away from its destructive power and return to the light.
These are 15 Sith (And Dark Force Users) Who Turned Good.
15 Anakin Skywalker
Whether you take the hated prequels into account or not, the story of Anakin Skywalker has arguably become the most famous redemption arc in the history of modern western fiction. Introduced as a towering masked brute at the service of Imperial technocrats in A New Hope, Darth Vader cemented his grip on our collective imaginations in The Empire Strikes Back as an unexpectedly complex villain with deeper ambitions and motivations than audiences could possibly have imagined, before coming full circle in Return Of The Jedi as a tragic anti-villain saved by the very last emotion we expected to find within him: Love.
Although the trap on Bespin was designed to capture Luke and turn him to his side, it was arguably Vader who walked away from their confrontation the most changed man: he had offered his son truth, a family and power beyond his wildest dreams, and the boy had responded by choosing certain death. In their subsequent reunion on the second Death Star, his words and demeanor revealed a broken man, enslaved to the Emperor and resigned to a lifetime of evil, too far gone to imagine a way out of the darkness. Only the sight of Luke begging for his life, tortured for refusing to finish him off when he had the chance, was able to ultimately bring Anakin Skywalker back – long enough for the aged Jedi to sacrifice his life for his son before dying in his arms.
Revan’s personality and actions can vary greatly depending on player choices but their true nature ultimately comes down to one pivotal decision made just before the game’s climax: either they embrace their past and succumb to the dark side once more in order to reclaim the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, or they reject it and remain committed to crushing the Sith once and for all. In the canonical ending of Bioware’s ground-breaking Knights Of The Old Republic, the amnesic former Sith Lord chose the latter option, and in doing so set out to right all the wrongs he had unleashed on the unsuspecting galaxy.
After successfully defeating his former apprentice Darth Malak in single combat and helping the Republic fleet destroy the Star Forge from which the Sith had drawn their power, Revan fled to the Unknown Regions in search of the ancient Sith Empire responsible for his fall. There, he was held captive and tortured for three centuries, released only thanks to the intervention of Republic forces and killed in the ensuing battle, at which point his mind splintered in half, with his light side successfully passing on while his dark side remained alive in the physical world and sought to conquer the galaxy again. After a series of intense battles, the two halves finally merged together once more and became one with the Force.
A highly conservative Jedi Master who served as Chronicler of the Jedi Archives during the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil War, Atris was among those who refused Revan’s call to join the war effort and stood by her fellow Council members’ non-interventionist policy. So when her friend Meetra Surik, who had been up until then one of the Order’s most promising young Jedi, chose to join Revan’s crusade against the invaders, she felt profoundly betrayed. When Surik returned at the end of the war to face trial and exile, her steadfast defiance and moral certainty caused Atris to start questioning the principles she had spent her entire life believing.
After the Jedi Civil War left the Order in tatters, Atris slipped even further away from it after she accidentally caused most of the galaxy’s surviving Jedi to die simultaneously at the hands of Darth Nihilus, by leaking information of their gathering on Katarr in the hopes of drawing him out. Believing herself to be the only Jedi left in the galaxy, she retreated to the polar ice cap of Telos IV where she built a secret Jedi Academy. There, she studied Sith holocrons in the hopes of finding a way to better protect the next generation of Jedi against the lure of the dark side but started gradually falling herself at their contact, something she refused to acknowledge until Darth Traya confronted her with her self-deceptions. Only after losing a duel to Meetra Surik and being unexpectedly spared by her did Atris finally find inner peace and return to the light.
12 Gav Daragon
Conflict between Light side and Dark side Force users is almost as old as the Force itself, but almost all the wars that took place before the Clone Wars can be traced back to the Great Hyperspace War. 1900 years after the Hundred-Year Darkness ended with the exile of the Dark Jedi, their descendants returned to the known galaxy, now the leaders of a mighty Empire populated by the red-skinned Sith species, whose name the dark side practitioners had taken as their own. Hyperspace explorer Gav Daragon, along with his sister Jori, was the first Republic citizen to make contact with the Empire, after the two landed on the forgotten world of Korriban while escaping assassins sent after them by their creditors.
Due to his Force-sensitivity, Gav was soon recruited by the ambitious Sith Lord Naga Sadow and trained in the ways of the dark side. After successfully removing his rival Ludo Kressh from the throne, Sadow launched an invasion of the Republic with Gav by his side as his apprentice. Jori managed to escape just in time to warn the galaxy of the impending invasion. After confronting him during his attack on their homeworld of Koros Major, she succeeded in convincing her brother to renounce the dark side and turn on Sadow, an act which ultimately cost him his life. Just before his death, however, he was able to transmit coordinates of the strongholds to the Republic fleet, thereby allowing them a swift and decisive victory.
11 Kyp Durron
Sentenced to forced labour with his parents at a young age for anti-Imperial activities, Kyp Durron spent most of his early life working in spice mines as a slave. After escaping with the help of Han Solo and Chewbacca, he pursued a new life as a Jedi, training in the Massassi Temple of Yavin 4 under the mentorship of Luke Skywalker. His learning pace was too quick for his fellow Jedi to keep up with, however, and the boy was advised to spend more time thinking on what he already knew before going any further. In frustration, Kyp turned to the dark spirit of Exar Kun who haunted the temple and accepted him as his new Master.
With newfound dark knowledge, Kyp Durron began a rogue campaign across the galaxy to destroy what was left of the Empire by any means necessary. After stealing an Imperial superweapon known as the Sun Crusher from Republic custody, he used it to destroy an entire nebula then turned it towards the planet Carida where his brother Zeh had been held prisoner. Before its destruction, he found out too late that Zeh was actually still alive and was unable to save him. When Exar Kun’s dark influence was put to an end by Luke’s students on Yavin, Kyp surrendered to the Republic. After almost killing himself destroying the Sun Crusher, Kyp briefly exiled himself from the Order. He was officially knighted upon his return, cementing his controversial acceptance back amongst the Jedi.
10 Visas Marr
A member of the near-Human Miraluka species, who perceive the world through the Force rather than conventional eyesight which they lack, Visas Marr was the only being to survive Darth Nihilus’s devastation of her homeworld of Katarr when the Jedi assembled there. Injured, alone and traumatized beyond measure by the loss of life she had experienced, Visas was taken aboard Nihilus’s ship, where the Sith Lord forced her to see the galaxy through his eyes, as a chaotic mass of unconnected lives devoid of purpose or value. The shock of the vision was such that Visas chose to follow Nihilus, convinced that life itself was an evil that needed to die so that peace and order may prevail in its place.
When Meetra Surik returned to the galaxy from her exile, Visas sensed her presence as a disturbance in the Force and was sent by Nihilus to assassinate her. When bested by her target in duel, however, Visas was not killed as she expected – and desired – but rather spared and healed. Confused by Surik’s kindness, Visas began to question her master’s view of life and chose to aid the exile in her quest, eventually leading her to confront her old master on his ship, where she was able to assist in his slaying and come to terms with the destruction of her home.
9 Yuthura Ban
In many ways, Yuthura Ban’s turn to the dark side is like a simpler, more efficient version of Anakin’s: Originally the impoverished slave to a Hutt master whom she eventually killed, she was found by the Jedi and trained in their ways before abandoning them due to their inaction against the galactic scourge of slavery. Her anger and hatred against those who oppressed her were easily exploited by the Sith, who promised her enough power to free and avenge her fellow slaves in exchange for her loyalty. She soon drew the attention of Korriban Sith Academy headmaster Uthar Wynn, who took her in as his apprentice and appointed her deputy headmistress.
Her fate took a startling turn during the last year of the Jedi Civil War when a reformed Revan infiltrated the Academy as a prospective student. Sensing his power, Yuthura roped him in a plot to assassinate Uthar and take over the Academy. Unexpectedly, the master-student relationship between the two blossomed into friendship as Yuthura began to open up about her past. As she did so, she slowly realized how far she still was from her original goal and grew fearful of the doubts her new friend was stirring within her. After killing Uthar, Yuthura turned on Revan only to be defeated in turn. Instead of killing her, the former Sith Lord was able to persuade her to seek another path and return her to the light.
8 Ajunta Pall
Ajunta Pall is a unique case among redeemed Sith as he is, to date, the only known dark Force user to return to the light well after his death. After his alchemical studies on the Force’s power to transform life were banned by the Jedi Council, Pall and his followers instigated a century-long war against the Order known as the Hundred-Year Darkness. The war ended with the Dark Jedi’s defeat and exile on the world of Korriban, where they conquered the indigenous Sith species and founded the very first Sith Empire. Pall’s reign ended, as so many of his kind do, in bloodshed; jealousy and lust for power created internal strife within his empire that led to his death and that of his fellow dark Jedi.
Millennia later, a reformed Revan encountered Ajunta Pall’s Force ghost in his own tomb on Korriban, as part of a test to gain prestige within the Sith Academy. Far from the fearsome Sith Lord of old, the spirit that spoke to him was that of a sad, bitter old man, tormented by three thousand years’ worth of guilt and remorse for the life he had wasted in destructive pride. After successfully passing his test, Revan was able to persuade the old spirit to forgive himself for all the pain he had caused and end his suffering once and for all.
7 Jaina Solo
In the Legends continuity, Han and Leia suffered the misfortune of having not one but two of their children turn to the dark side. The most famous of these is of course Jacen Solo, who became Darth Caedus as part of a rather complicated plan to bring peace to the Galaxy. But his twin sister, Jaina, experienced an earlier (and much briefer) fall, years before she herself would personally bring his reign to an end.
During the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, Jaina Solo and her younger brother Anakin took part in a mission on Myrkr to eradicate the voxyn, a species of creatures bred by the Yuuzhan Vong for the specific purpose of hunting and killing Jedi. The mission’s success came at the cost of many Jedi lives, including Anakin’s. In her grief, Jaina called upon dark side powers to retrieve her brother’s body. Her rage and thirst for vengeance considerably affected her tactics, as she became more violent, calculating and willing to risk innocent lives against the Yuuzhan Vong. Fortunately, Kyp Durron, acting as her informal Master, was able to make her see the dangerous person she was becoming just in time to stop her from falling any further.
6 Kyle Katarn
He might be best known as one of the most popular Legends characters and a hero of the well-loved Jedi Knight games, but Kyle Katarn started off as a promising young officer of the Empire, who wrongfully blamed the Rebel Alliance for the death of his father. After discovering that the attack that killed him was in fact staged by the Empire, Kyle defected and became a mercenary for the Alliance. Under the guidance of the spirit of the Jedi Qu Rahn, he started training himself as a Jedi and became known throughout the galaxy for his defeat of the Dark Jedi Jerec in Valley of the Jedi, an act which freed the souls of all the Jedi that had been trapped there for a thousand years.
Soon after, he experienced a brief but dramatic fall during a mission on the ancient Sith world of Dromund Kaas, where powers within the Dark Force Temple turned him to the dark side of the Force. He was rescued by his young apprentice Mara Jade, who chose to lower her guard rather than engage him in a duel. Incapable of killing her in cold blood, Kyle managed to reject the dark side but was so scarred by the experience that he eventually gave up the Force altogether and went back to being a mercenary, only returning to the Jedi Order to avenge the apparent death of his partner and lover Jan Ors at the hands of the Empire Reborn movement. But that’s another story.
Notable for being the first explicitly LGBT character in Star Wars audiovisual media, Juhani appears in Knights Of The Old Republic as a playable companion whom the amnesic Revan must first return to the light side in order to complete their initiation into the Jedi Order. While the reason for her fall to the dark side – she struck her Master down in anger and thought her crime too great to be forgiven – may appear somewhat trivial, the way her personal history and background have shaped her character give it deeper meaning.
The child of Cathar refugees who fled their home planet under Mandalorian bombs, Juhani grew up in the slums of Taris where she endured economic and racial oppression at the hands of the dominant wealthy humans. After losing both her parents, she was forced into slavery by the Exchange and about to be sold when Revan and his crusaders liberated her and her fellow slaves. Inspired by the heroic Jedi’s example, she went to Dantooine to train as a Jedi. But a lifetime of oppression had left her feeling perpetually inadequate, making her easily prone to anger and resentment. By persuading her that she was not an inherently bad person, Revan was able to bring her back to the light but it took a lot of opening up on her part and many trials, including a confrontation with her father’s murderer, for her to finally let go of her anger.
4 Asajj Ventress (Canon)
By far the most popular character to come out of Clone Wars-related Expanded Universe material, Asajj Ventress’s fate differs dramatically depending on the continuity: her Legends version is last seen faking her own death and exiling herself as far away from the war as possible, whereas her Canon version eventually breaks away from the Confederacy to work as an independent bounty hunter before partnering up with Quinlan Vos and sacrificing her life to save him. For simplicity’s sake, this entry shall focus on the latter continuity.
Born on a planet run by a coven of Force-using witches known as the Nightsisters, Ventress was sold into slavery as a child to the pirate Hal’sted as part of a bargain to keep their world safe. After her master was killed by pirates, the young Dathomirian was found by Jedi Master Ky Narec and taken in as his Padawan. When the pirates got him too, Ventress called upon the power of the dark side to avenge him. She was then discovered by Count Dooku, who completed her training and made her one of the Confederacy’s most feared leaders. As she grew in power and violence, even Darth Sidious began to fear her and ordered Dooku to have her killed. She survived and turned to bounty hunting after another attempt on her life ended with the death of her fellow Nightsisters. In the course of her new profession, she met and fell in love with Jedi Master Quinlan Vos, who partnered up with her in a plot to kill Dooku. The plan failed and a captive Vos was tortured into the dark side. Only after absorbing a Force lightning blast intended for him was Ventress able to redeem her lover. This act of sacrifice, combined with her rejection of the dark path, earned her respect and honour from the Jedi Council.
3 Quinlan Vos
Like his lover Asajj Ventress, Quinlan Vos has experienced fall and redemption in both Canon and Legends continuities. This entry shall likewise focus on the Canon version of the character. Known for his rare power of retrocognition, through which he could perceive a person’s memory by touching an object they had come into contact with, Quinlan Vos established himself as a particularly unorthodox Jedi who specialized in infiltrating criminal underworlds to root out evil. This trait would eventually lead to his downfall.
As part of an assignment to assassinate Count Dooku, Quinlan Vos enlisted the aid of his former apprentice Asajj Ventress. After gaining her trust over the course of several bounty hunts, Vos revealed his true identity and purpose to her and Ventress agreed to help him on the condition that he let her teach him how to use the power of the dark side against their common enemy. The two became lovers in the course of their training and Vos forsook the Jedi. Their mission went awry, however, and Vos was captured. Under torture, Vos fully succumbed to the dark side and became Dooku’s apprentice, hoping to eventually uncover Darth Sidious’s identity and end the war by killing them both. After tricking the Jedi into welcoming him back as a former captive, Vos made an attempt at double-crossing Dooku that ended with Ventress dying at the count’s hands. Instead of avenging his lover’s death, Vos ultimately rejected the dark side and spared Dooku.
2 Bastila Shan
Despite her youth and inexperience, Bastila Shan was pushed at the forefront of the Republic war effort against Darth Revan’s Sith Empire due to her rare battle meditation ability, which enabled her to boost her allies’ morale and coordinate their actions as one. With that power, she was able to lead a sneak attack on Revan’s flagship and engage him in direct combat. When Revan’s apprentice Darth Malak seized the opportunity to betray his master, her efforts to save his life resulted in the creation of a Force bond between the two. After reprogramming Revan’s identity, the Jedi Council instructed Bastila to use that bond to search the former Sith Lord’s memories for knowledge of the source of the Sith’s power that could be used to take them down.
Against all expectations, the Force bond between Bastila and Revan blossomed into a romantic one. Terrified of breaking the Order’s ban on intimate relationships and confused over the dissonance between the man she loved and the monster she had faced in battle, Bastila broke off the relationship shortly before getting captured by Malak. After torturing her for a week, he succeeded in turning her to the dark side by appealing to her pride and repressed hunger for power. When Revan confronted her again on the planet Lehon, she unsuccessfully tried to rally him to her side and overthrow Malak. During their second confrontation aboard the Star Forge, Revan was able to use their bond to convince her to embrace her true feelings, reject the dark side and atone for her betrayal by using her battle meditation to aid the Republic fleet in destroying the Star Forge.
1 Mara Jade Skywalker
Few Star Wars characters have had as long and varied a career as Legends hero Mara Jade Skywalker. After enjoying a career as one of Emperor Palpatine’s most lethal personal assassins, she reconverted into smuggling before embarking on a career as a Jedi Knight, eventually marrying Luke Skywalker – the very man she had previously sworn to kill – and running the New Jedi Order by his side before meeting an untimely end at the hands of her own nephew, Jacen Solo.
Trained from a young age to infiltrate, spy on and assassinate the Emperor’s enemies, she forged a powerful bond with her master that allowed her to experience his death directly through him. Enraged, Mara Jade set out to execute the last command Palpatine had telepathically transmitted to her before dying: Kill Luke Skywalker. On the run from ambitious Imperial forces seeking to fill the power vacuum, Mara turned to smuggling to survive. She encountered Luke while working for underworld kingpin Talon Karrde and grudgingly joined forces with him against Grand Admiral Thrawn’s campaign of conquest. In time, she realized her need to kill Luke was more the result of Palpatine’s psychic influence than a genuine desire for revenge on her part. With his help, she overcame the Emperor’s influence and began training as a Jedi Knight under the mentorship of Kyle Katarn.