More to Explore | Sith Relics and Relic Hunters

Here is an interesting fact: Even though the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, was in all Original Trilogy films, the word “Sith” was never spoken in the three films. It is common in Star Wars to have similar facts as many canon elements have been back-explained or retconned. We have already changed Jango Fett’s origin as a Mandalorian foundling instead of a bounty hunter who stole the armor of one. The correction (as some would call it) of Mandalore Prime Minister Almec’s insistence that Jango was a “common bounty hunter” in The Clone Wars episode, “The Mandalore Plot.”

References to the Sith and the lore were first mentioned in the Prequel Trilogy. But it was still, in George Lucas fashion, mired in exposition (through conversation and throw-away lines). After the Prequels, Lucasfilm continued to develop Sith (and Jedi) lore in the animated, comic series, and games. Engaging canon stories that were built around the lore instead of using them as plot armor. 

The jury is still out on what The Bad Batch holds, but every animated series thus far has added to Sith lore in some way. The Clone Wars series introduced Mortis (the source of dark and light side Force entities), and the canon versions of the Nightsisters of Dathomir and Darth Bane. Star Wars Rebels featured Darth Maul trying to acquire a Sith holocron, which temporarily landed in Ezra Bridger’s possession. Both Marvel’s Darth Vader and Darth Vader: Lord of the Sith and Doctor Aphra Series also involved stories around the Sith.   

Mika Grey reaches for an ancient relic, Indy-style in Star Wars Resistance | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

While it is not officially canon, the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) games have done the most to add to ancient Sith Lore, specifically on Darth Revan. But Lucasfilm is investing in remaking the original game for the PlayStation 5, so it is only a matter of time before KOTOR lore is officially canonized. There are elements introduced in the original game, like the planets Dantooine and Moraband/Korriband, that have already been referenced in canon. Gaming is the best place for more Star Wars storytelling revolving around the Sith because anything involving dark side Force users can also present exciting gameplay environments and battles. Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy’s Edge gameplay also involves Sith artifacts during The High Republic.

But there is an interesting little pocket of the Star Wars universe that has not been explored in canon as much as Sith lore and artifacts: The concept of Relic Hunters. Doctor Aphra is an Archaeologist, but she is not dedicated to hunting only relics (and certainly not for free). 

As for Relic Hunters, the most prominent storyline involving one is from Star Wars Resistance in season two, episode “The Relic Raiders.” Kaz, Kel, and Eila stumble upon an ancient Sith Temple on Ashas See buried under a Jedi Temple while on a supply run. There, they meet archeologist Mika Grey who explains that Jedi would build over Sith temples as purification of suppression. Mika was trapped in the temple after attempting to excavate, which led to the nearby village fleeing out of fear that evil forces would be unleashed. With Mika’s knowledge, the group escapes the temple but runs into First Order Raiders, whose sole purpose was to locate Sith artifacts. They were formed under the leadership of Kylo Ren and comprised of highly skilled hunters. And this is the only time we see them. They are not in The Rise of Skywalker, even though we do have a Sith relic in the film and more Sith references than any other Star Wars film. The Sith relic Mika found was not even the same one Kylo was looking for in Episode IX, which was a missed opportunity to actually connect Star Wars Resistance and boost the profile of the series. Instead we get a vague description of the relic by Grey:

A power source from an ancient time. One beyond all of your reckoning. But it doesn’t matter now. On to the next problem.

– Mike Grey. Star Wars Resistance, episode “The Relic Raiders.”
Don’t you want to know what this relic is? | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

Mika joins the Colossus crew during the final season of Star Wars Resistance and forms a connection with Eila, who is naturally curious about the Force. Mika also mentions having a run-in with the Raiders on another planet, Vargos 9, a new planet only mentioned on the show. “The Relic Raiders” was a great episode for canon junkies and is an opportunity ripe for content.

A big part of Sith lore and relics are Sith temples. Nonexistent in The Original and Prequel Trilogies, Sith temples have more of a presence in Star Wars animation, especially Star Wars Rebels as the show had key arcs dealing with the Cosmic Force. Temples are also a great way to connect eras in Star Wars as their existence goes back as far as the existence of Jedi and the Sith. 

Within the heart of the Temple of Coruscant, in the Shrine in the Depths, the idols seemed to glow. Their burnished surfaces caught the candledroids’ light, and the jewels’ color brightened against the dusky gold. Cohmac stood amid them, trying to understand their nature and their secret histories. What darkness is contained within these idols? 

Gray, Claudia. Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark. Disney Book Group.

The Coruscant Sith Temple is beneath the Jedi Temple, which is explained as a purification process. This is not new information in canon, as the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was built over an ancient Sith shrine around 5000 BBY. It is mentioned as The Shrine in the Depths in The High Republic novel Into the Dark, where the Sith Idols used to contain the Drengir were brought. Because the Sith eventually adapted the Rule of Two, there were fewer Sith Temples at large in the galaxy, making ancient Sith relics harder to find. Ashas See is a planet mentioned in Legends as an old Sith World in a companion RPG sourcebook Tales of the Jedi (also not a coincidence that this was around 4000 BBY). And now, Ashas See has been canonized in Star Wars Resistance. KOTOR also takes place around 4000 BBY so, if there is additional content past the game remake, it would be a way to connect one of the oldest Star Wars stories to the newest.  

The relics that the Sith used to contain the Drengir | credit IDW Publishing

Another way to connect the old and new is through the wayfinders and interested parties who want to use them to travel through secret hyperspace lanes. In The Rise of Skywalker, a Sith wayfinder provides the hyperspace paths to Exegol, a Sith-dominated planet where Emperor Palpatine rebuilt himself. As ridiculous as that unfolded in the film, Lucasfilm can create stories that improve upon it in other canon mediums. In the Thrawn trilogies and The Aftermath Trilogy, it is clear that Emperor Palpatine had an interest in the Unknown Regions, and this interest came to fruition in the Sequel Trilogy as the part of the galaxy the First Order developed an entire military. Secret hyperspace paths and unknown parts of the galaxy are a significant part of The High Republic novels and publishing content. It is how the Nihil attack so efficiently and evade the Jedi. Their source of this ability is a Force-sensitive Mari San Tekka, who can see and map new hyperspace paths. 

There are more stories to be told from the content of these pages | credit Lucasfilm Press

In Out of the Shadows, Jedi Vernestra Rwoh states that some Jedi scholars believed hyperspace to be part of the Cosmic Force, which would match the mechanics of the wayfinder in The Rise of Skywalker. Per Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker Visual Dictionary, the wayfinder technology is not fully understood but was essential for the earlier exploration of hyperspace. Additionally, wayfinders were inspired by the brains of the Purrgil (hyperspace traveling whales) and infused with the presence of the Force. Navigational relics like wayfinders would be valuable for anyone, not just Force users. Since wayfinders are at least 4,000 years old by the time of The Rise of Skywalker, they should be fertile ground across all current eras of Star Wars to appear in live-action content.

In the Sequel Trilogy era, we assume Rey will look for new Jedi like Luke Skywalker did after Return of the Jedi. When Lucasfilm does continue Rey’s story, it could connect her to Mika and Eila from Star Wars Resistance. Given what Rey experienced on Exegol, she also could want to contain Sith relics or destroy them. 

To be fair, Sith relics are covered plenty in comics and the series. However, to avoid lazy storytelling where a device just happens to exist that aids our heroes in the films, Lucasfilm should provide context within the live-action film and streaming shows. I suspect The Acolyte will build upon Sith lore that we have already seen in canon, and Sith relics like a wayfinder could appear. The benefit of Star Wars storytelling is that, unlike the MCU, it is more freely able to time skip with content. We can have The Mandalorian, which takes place after the Original Trilogy and follow it with The Clone Wars back in the Prequel Trilogy.  

As Star Wars expands into streaming, canon lore like Sith relics (and hopefully Relic hunters) will become more relevant for casual fans to join the fun.