Star Wars Theory Explains The Sith’s Worst Superweapon (& Why It Failed)

A new Star Wars theory finally explains one of the most terrifying Sith superweapons, which backfired and petrified Jedi and Sith alike. There’s considerable evidence the early Jedi were not bound to either the light or dark sides of the Force, but rather were agents of balance. All that seems to have changed millennia ago, when a schism led to the creation of the Sith, and the Jedi swore themselves only to the light side in apparent response. Since then, the history of the Star Wars galaxy has been one of unceasing conflict between Jedi and Sith, with light and dark vying for supremacy. One of the greatest battles, thousands of years ago, was fought on the forbidden planet Malachor.

Malachor was the site of the Sith’s greatest defeat. According to the Star Wars: Force & Destiny sourcebook Unlimited Power, the Sith took advantage of the dark side vergence at Malachor to create a place where they could experiment with the dark side of the Force. They created a spectacular superweapon – but the Jedi heard rumors of it, and launched a first strike. The superweapon backfired during the battle, transforming every living being on Malachor’s surface – Jedi and Sith alike – to stone. Horrified but triumphant, the Jedi banned Malachor, erasing its very existence from the archives. It wasn’t until Star Wars Rebels that a Jedi set foot on Malachor again, when Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger discovered Darth Maul attempting to claim the power of that ancient superweapon for himself. But the true nature of this destructive Star Wars superweapon has remained a mystery – one potentially explained by a new theory.

The Sith Superweapon On Malachor Could Have Stripped Jedi Of The Force

Like most Sith superweapons, the mysterious Malachor device was powered by a gigantic kyber crystal. The energy field it generated was clearly very different to the typical blasts emitted by the Death Star and Starkiller Base, though, given it had a much more exotic effect – it literally petrified Jedi and Sith alike. Even stranger, though, there are rumors the petrified bones became a source of dark side energy; smugglers claimed to make a substance called « Ashes of Malachor » from these bones, pulverizing them and snorting them. « Some dark essence trapped within the ashes empowers those that consume it, » the aforementioned sourcebook notes. « Gruesome power warps their will, increasing their power at the cost of their Morality. » Nothing like this has ever been seen before in Star Wars lore.

But something like it has been seen since – in Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The High Republic transmedia initiative. This has introduced a dangerous Force predator, a creature known variously as the « Nameless » or the « Leveler » – the Nameless because the mere presence of these creatures fills a Jedi with nameless dread, the Leveler because they are seen as leveling the playing field between Jedi and non-Force-sensitives. These creatures actually consume the Force within a victim, drawing sustenance from them. The experience calcifies a Jedi, in something disturbingly similar to the Sith superweapon on Malachor – and they then crumble to dust.

The similarities between the Nameless and the Malachor superweapon are striking. They raise the possibility the superweapon contained in the Sith temple on Malachor was designed to target a planet, stripping all Force-sensitives there of the Force – literally turning them to stone. It’s easy to see how the Sith would have used such a weapon; they could have targeted any planet with a Jedi temple upon it, destroying all their enemies in a single shot. Darth Maul, too, would have considered it the perfect way to defeat Palpatine and Darth Vader – simply by aiming it at Coruscant.

Why The Sith Superweapon On Malachor Backfired

This theory would also explain why the Sith superweapon malfunctioned on Malachor. Whenever a Nameless feeds on a Jedi, they create small tears in the fabric of the Force – vacuums where any other Jedi who pass by find themselves deeply disturbed, unable to draw upon the Force for guidance or power. These naturally fade with time. But Malachor must create vacuums in the Force far greater than any Leveler or Force predator. There’s an old saying that nature abhors a vacuum; the same is likely true in terms of the Force as well.

If this theory is correct, then the Sith superweapon on Malachor backfired simply because it was targeted on Malachor itself – a dark side vergence. It must have been activated by the Sith when they realized they were about to be defeated by the Jedi, in something akin to a kamikaze strategy, and it tore the Force out of every Jedi and Sith on the planet, turning them to stone. But the vacuum it created was immediately filled by the dark side, destabilizing the superweapon and flooding the petrified bodies with the Force – explaining why these bones can now be ground down as Ashes of Malachor.

Kyber crystals lay at the heart of many superweapons. This theory would turn Malachor’s superweapon into the most dangerous and destructive of them all, though, a weapon used against the Force itself – one that left Malachor ravaged and ruined by the dark side. Little wonder the Jedi forbade ever visiting Malachor again, while the Sith venerated it as one of the holiest places in the Star Wars galaxy.