The Power of Darth Krayt - The Ultimate Essay
"Sometimes, things must be broken in order to be rebuilt. As I have bent the Force to my will, so I will bend the galaxy and it will know order."
"I have been through death and conquered it. I have returned with my power multiplied. The Dark Side of the Force lives and manifests itself through me!"
"Once, I thought to bring peace and order to the galaxy through existing governments--to align the worlds to the rule of the One Sith. That cannot work. The galaxy must experience the pain of death and the rapture of rebirth as I have. I will bring chaos. It is time for war."
Table of Contents
- Power Progression (this post)
- Physical Condition
- Fights and Inferiors
- Force Knowledge
- Force Powers
- Fighting Skill
To begin with, let’s look at the power progression from Jedi Master A’Sharad Hett to the Reborn Sith Emperor Darth Krayt. There are six distinct incarnations in total, and the title used for each will be referred to in other sections of this essay.
A’Sharad Hett is any time before his first travel to Korriban, which occurred a few years after Revenge of the Sith. This encompasses his time as a Jedi, a Tuskan warlord and bounty hunter.
Sith Apprentice Hett is after studying the holocron of XoXaan. He began his studies on Korriban a few years after Revenge of the Sith and ended in 25ABY, on the eve of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion.
Post-Vong Darth Krayt is the birth of Darth Krayt as a Sith Lord, after escaping his Yuuzhan Vong captors and returning to Korriban, creating the One Sith.
Apocalypse Darth Krayt is during the events of Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse.
Legacy Darth Krayt is during the events of Star Wars: Legacy #0 through #50.
Reborn Darth Krayt is during the events of Star Wars: Legacy: War, as well as his brief appearance in Legacy #50.
To give a basic understanding of A’Sharad’s capabilities, without going into the finer details until later, the former Jedi Master was able to give Obi-Wan Kenobi a close fight just two years after Revenge of the Sith.
A short time later, Hett travels to Korriban and finds the spirit and holocron of one of the original Dark Jedi Exiles, and founders of the Sith, XoXaan. He apprentices himself to her and, losing track of time, and spends nearly four decades on Korriban immersing himself in dark side lore. He gained “a great deal of strength in the Force” during this time, which I imagine is putting it quite mildly.
“I first encountered it after leaving my apprenticeship to XoXaan on Korriban.”
“When I emerged from the tombs, I discovered I had been on Korriban longer than I thought. I learned that Vader and Palpatine were both gone and that your ancestor was the instrument.”
“He created himself, then re-created the Sith Order under the guidance of XoXaan -- an ancient Sith warrior -- his first and greatest teacher.
“My Master followed the voice he felt rather than heard… a darkness calling to his darkness until he found a sealed door. The voice came from within. Using the Force, my Master shattered the barrier to find…”
“I am XoXaan. I was one of the first of the Sith Lords, one of those who abandoned the Jedi Order to seek a darker path to truth.
“I have waited for someone like you… someone who has served the Light and found it empt/y, who has found how lacing the galaxy is. Someone who has known anger, hate… and despair. My brethren and I invented what it means to be a Sith. Are you willing to open yourself to that truth?”
—The Spirit of XoXaan
“Master… I am.”
“An ancient Sith Lord noted for her skills as a healer.
She had stored her knowledge in a holocron, which Hett discovered with help from her spirit. When Hett opened himself up to her teachings, he absorbed her knowledge and eventually became Darth Krayt.”
—The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
“It was presumed that Hett had died during the execution of Order 66. In reality, he had taken the destruction of the Jedi Order to give in to and explore his emotions. Over time, he gained a great deal of strength in the Force, much of which came from collections of Sith lore he discovered in his travels to Korriban. Following the guidance found in an ancient Sith holocron, he eventually gave himself over to the power of the dark side, and became the Dark Lord known as Darth Krayt, a name honoring one of Tatooine’s most formidable predators.”
—The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
“Gaining knowledge from an ancient Sith Holocron on Korriban, Hett began to adopt the ways of the Sith and customise them, abolishing the restrictive Rule of Two in favor of the Rule of One, in which the overarching Sith Order was paramount.”
—The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Hett was later captured by a Yuuzhan Vong scout ship. He was subjected to unimaginable torture by being placed in the Embrace of Pain, and also by being experimented on by the Vong Shapers at the same time.
The intensification of Krayt’s powers during this ordeal were far greater than his decades of study under XoXaan; it is here where he first assumes the mantle of Darth, receives his vision for an army of One Sith and where A’Sharad Hett “died.” Krayt states that under XoXaan, he had merely been pretending to be a Sith, and Talon states that Krayt “could still not see the power within the darkness until he met the Yuuzhan Vong.” Simply put, Darth Krayt is a whole other monster from A’Sharad.
“And this XoXaan made him the grancha Sith Lorda he is today, I’ll bet.”
“XoXaan opened the Dragon’s eyes, but he could still not see the power within the darkness until he met the Yuuzhan Vong. And with the scales fallen from his eyes, Darth Krayt embraced the dark side.”
—Cade Skywalker and Darth Talon
“The Vong call this the Embrace of Pain. The more you struggle to escape, the more pain it inflicts. I first encountered it after leaving my apprenticeship to XoXaan on Korriban. I told myself I had only been pretending to be a Sith acolyte. I told myself I only desired new skills -- weapons with which to avenge myself on Vader and Palpatine.”
“I awoke in an Embrace of Pain like the one that now holds you.”
“You are a prisoner on an advance scout ship of extragalactic invaders called the Yuuzhan Vong.”
“The Force abilities you manifested intrigued them so their shapers implanted you with coral seeds as an experiment.”
“Accept your pain, allow it to feed your dark anger -- learn to invite its grip.”
“My existence was an endless state of pain dominated by experiments by the Shaper Caste. My body was enhanced, the better to withstand the strains put upon it. My left eye was replaced with the eye of a Vong creature.”
“Vergere taught me to use the agony of the Embrace of Pain to open myself to the Dark Side. That’s when I received my Vision.”
“You abandon me here to die?!”
“She left me. Alone, I would follow my vision for the Sith and the galaxy. I needed to live I needed to escape. And my enemies needed to die. Time passed. When the moment came, I seized it. Fire and red ruin marked my path.”
“On the eve of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, I escaped back into the galaxy.”
“A’Sharad died on that Vong ship. Darth Krayt was born and returned to Korriban -- first as an apprentice to Xoxaan, ready to embrace the way of the Sith -- then as a master prepared to create a new order.”
“After the Clone Wars, he found his way in the galaxy as a bounty hunter and that led him to discover the tomb of XoXann on Korriban. It was there that he was shown the path to the dark side - a path he would not truly embrace until after he was captured and experimented upon by the Yuuzhan Vong.”
The power disparity between Sith Apprentice Hett and post-Vong Krayt is apparent from their respective performances against the Yuuzhan Vong. While Hett is quickly overwhelmed by a group of three warriors, Krayt fights his way through an entire ship of them, “Fire and red ruin marked my path,” and he even succeeded in sabotaging the ship to explode, killing everyone aboard.
Decades later, during 44ABY (at which point, Krayt is 91 years old), Krayt aided Luke Skywalker in defeating Abeloth in Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse. The exact nature of this feat will be explained later, but to cut a long story short, at this point Krayt is immeasurably more powerful than he was as a Jedi or a student under XoXaan.
After this battle he spent most of his time in stasis leading up to the events of Legacy.
Between the wounds Krayt had sustained over the years, his age and the coral seeds continuing to kill him, Krayt is by far at his weakest physically at this time, and in terms of his overall power, he is weaker than both Apocalypse and Reborn Krayt. However, Legacy should be more powerful than Sith Apprentice and A’Sharad Hett. Krayt “killed thousands of opponents” since the Clone Wars and “perfected his combat techniques over many decades.”
“I completed training as both Jedi and Sith. I honed my skills in the Clone Wars and I’ve killed thousands of opponents since then.”
“Krayt perfected his combat techniques over many decades and his skills with telekinesis and Sith lightning far outstripped those of any Sith of his era.”
—Star Wars Insider #113
Finally, Reborn Krayt is the height of his powers, by far. He is even more powerful than he is during the events of Apocalypse. This is due to many reasons:
- His coral seeds had finally been removed, so he no longer had to dedicate any Force energy to fighting off their attempts to devour his insides and consume his mind.
- His body was healed to its peak state, to the extent he was able to regrow a human arm after it had been cut off, whereas before his body had been subject to nearly fatal injuries on two occasions.
- After transcending death, Krayt’s understanding of and connection to the Force increased greatly, independent of his body being healed.
“What no one knows is that Darth Krayt is returning better than before. . .”
—Star Wars: Legacy—War #1
“I have been through death and conquered it. I have returned with my power multiplied. The Dark Side of the Force lives and manifests itself through me!”
“I have become so much more than you can know, traitor.”
“Death is not an ending, boy -- but it is a passageway to something greater.”
“You fled our last fight -- and I am so much more now than I was then.”
"Speaking of Krayt, his surprise resurrection freed him from his reliance on the Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology that allowed the Clone Wars veteran—then known as A'Sharad Hett—to sustain his ancient body. The new Krayt is old but even stronger than before, and Duursema went through many concepts while working out his current look.
'In Legacy: War we see Krayt free of the Vong parasites and at the most powerful he's ever been,' she says, 'It's as if the Yuuzhan Vong biots were dampening his power. I wanted the design to reflect all that he had been through. I finally decided on giving him an aged look, like a mummy who has been reanimated, but I kept him looking strong. He is a being who has defeated age and disease. He has cheated death and believes himself to be immortal. He is the Krayt who would have been, had the Yuuzhan Vong not experimented on him.'"
“The re-designing of Darth Krayt has been an interesting challenge both story wise and visually. I went through a bunch of different looks for him, but the one that appealed to me the most was a Krayt who was Yuuzhan Vong parasite free and again in control of his own body—Darth Krayt as a Sith—now at the peak of his power and willing to set the Galaxy to rights as the Force guides him.”
“‘Legacy—War’ will fill readers in on what really happened to Krayt at the end of ‘Vector.’ I’d say that Krayt understands his power better than he ever has before and he is intent on exacting revenge for Wyyrlok’s transgressions.”
"Darth Krayt has returned from the "dead," stronger, more evil, and more determined than ever to crush the galaxy under his heel."
—Star Wars: Legacy—War #1 Solicitation
"It's an all-out war as the Sith emperor returns from the dead-stronger, more evil, more determined, and prepared to unleash a new secret weapon upon the galaxy!"
—Star Wars: Legacy Volume 11 -- War TPB Solicitation
As a potent demonstration of how much more powerful he is compared to Legacy Krayt, we simply need to compare their fights to Cade Skywalker. In Legacy #19, Krayt has a hard-fought duel with Cade that takes place over four comic pages, where Krayt is evidently seething with anger throughout.
Contrast this to their second bout in Legacy: War #6, (37 comic issues and over a year later), where Krayt defeats Cade in one comic page plus a couple of extra panels, launching him at a wall within the opening moments of the fight. Krayt is nonchalant the whole time, insisting that Cade surrender, and easily takes him down with Dark Transfer.
So not only does Krayt win far more easily, but the most profound method of comparison is in looking at how much more powerful Cade had become between fights. As a Skywalker who, clearly, is incredibly gifted with his unparalleled healing abilities, one might guess that if he spent a year fighting Sith and overcoming numerous challenges, he might increase in power rapidly - and they would be correct.
Cade spoke with Luke Skywalker’s ghost, where he was made to confront his lack of emotional control.
“You lack control of your emotions. Your pride, anger, and pain have made you lash out against everyone. You live in a constant state of revenge. You push everyone away.”
Later, he attempted to cure Deliah Blue of a poison that was so powerful he could not save her without killing her - while drawing on the dark side. For context, Cade had been able to cure himself and others of lethal doses of poison, nigh-incurable vong coral seeds and bring people from the brink of death successfully.
Yet, he was able to draw on the light side and not only cure her, but shield them from a massive explosion, walking out unscathed. Clearly, a massive increase in power and control over the Force.
“I need to draw myself deeper into the darkness!”
“No. You must use the light side, Cade.”
“Not… strong… enough! More power in the dark side.”
“That is a lie. Trust the bonds you once felt within the Force when you were my apprentice. The bonds you shared with your father, who walked firmly in the light. They are still strong in you! The Force brought me here to this place, light years from where I was, to be here with you at this moment -- How can you not trust in the power of the light side above the dark? How can you not trust in the power of the Force?”
“Let the Force flow through me into you. That Sith poison… burns bad… hate and fire… burns bad… love burns brighter, Blue.”
“Did as you said, master -- tapped into the light side. Hate to say it -- but you were right.”
“Then come back to the Jedi, Cade. Become who you should be.”
“Can’t. I know now what I am. Not Jedi. Not Sith. I am what the Force has made me… the Sith’s worst nightmare. Time to make war.”
—Cade Skywalker and Wolf Sazen
From this point on, Cade became more focused, waging a war on the Sith, believing that the Force was guiding him to kill Krayt.
“Lightsabers flash against sulfurious skies. Cade Skywalker’s personal war against the Sith has brought him here… searching…”
—Star Wars: Legacy #48
“Cade’s been on a tear ever since he learned this Isen was the one who posioned Dac. Got something else gnawing at him too, but he ain’t told me what. It’s like he wants to kill every Sith in the galaxy all by himself.”
“Look, Pateesas, much as we’ve shared -- you’re not Jedi. I was raised as one. Not sure I can make you understand what it feels like to touch the Force. I was in denial after Ossus, but since that day the Force has been driving me toward something. Then Krayt calls in the Force and brings it all home. Now I know what the Force has been preparing me to do -- Krayt is alive and I gotta kill him.”
“Cade’s been hunting down all the Sith that he can find.”
“That would be Cade. We’ve been through a lot with the guy, seen what motivates him-seen him at his weakest when dealing with addiction and at his strongest, when he decides to become a one man Sith-wrecking machine.”
Cade is again able to draw on the light side when healing his mother, learning a lesson of forgiveness, further mastering his emotions.
“Healing costs me. Gone to the dark side to do it every time but one. Healed Blue in the light side -- but I love Deliah, intensely -- and she loves me… I got no love for you. Get it? To heal you I’d have to impose my will on the Force -- go to the dark side -- and I won’t do that. Not for you.”
“One of the greatest lessons of the light side is forgiveness. Through it we find redemption. Your anger hurts you, Cade, more than it has ever hurt her. Let it go.”
“I forgive you, mom.”
—Cade Skywalker and Kol Skywalker
Finally, as stated by Jan Duursema, Cade is “more sober, focused and driven” when he fights Krayt, he has a “new mastery of the Force” and Talon notes he is stronger than before.
“Cade Skywalker is more sober, focused and driven. The party is over. There is no more running and hiding. Destiny has bit him with sharp pointy teeth.”
“When Talon witnessed Cade’s new mastery of the Force, she retreated to warn Krayt, leading Cade directly to his goal…”
—Star Wars: Legacy—War #6
“Cade is… stronger… than he was.”
In other words - the difference between Legacy and Reborn Krayt is so vast that it exceeded the growth rate of a Skywalker who was being tested to his limits over the course of a year. It was so vast that Legacy Krayt struggled against a relatively amateurish Cade, meanwhile Reborn Krayt practically stomped Cade in his prime.