Are Sith spirits the same as Force ghosts in ‘Star Wars?’

Star Wars Yoda Luke Skywalker
Image via Lucasfilm

After spending some time in that galaxy far, far away, you might have asked yourself whether or not Force ghosts and Sith spirits are one and the same. Star Wars has offered us a fair share of both, after all, but do these denizens of the afterlife have anything in common apart from their spiritual natures?

The short answer is not at all. It would stand to reason that with two entirely different philosophies on life, the Jedi and the Sith would hold different beliefs on death and what comes after. Sith Spirits are vastly different than a Jedi’s Force ghost and, regardless of allegiance, in Star Wars the characters that end up conquering death are few and far between.

To put it lightly, what the afterlife holds for a Jedi or Sith comes down to their ideological differences. Moreover, the abilities of a Force ghost completely eclipse those of Sith spirits in every way imaginable. It’s really no contest.  Becoming a Force ghost is no easy feat, and to reach that level of enlightenment, a Jedi must let go of their identity only to reconstruct it in the afterlife. In essence, a Jedi becomes one with the living Force by letting go of their hopes, dreams, and desires. 

Transcending life, some Jedi are able to have such a close relationship with the Force that they find ultimate balance before death. After the fact, these Force ghosts are able to interact with the world, communicate with the living, and appear whenever they want. Jedi don’t fear death because they understand that what comes after isn’t nothingness, but rather more life.

Can the Sith become Force ghosts?

The Sith, on the other hand, outside of the spirits they can manifest, fear death completely ⏤ and for good reason. Sith are all about egos, selfishness, and power. To let go of their own identities long enough to find balance in the Force is basically impossible, which precludes them from becoming Force ghosts.

This is why Sith constantly seek to lengthen their lives and live as long as possible. A Sith Lord like Darth Plagueis spent his entire existence attempting to cheat death, even if eternal life was never possible. Sith spirits, unlike Force ghosts, must be tied to a certain place, item, or specific person, and unlike Force ghosts, they can’t interact with the physical world or manifest at will. Sith spirits are almost like echoes of the past instead of the real thing. 

These spirits can also be destroyed, which is a massive distinction. Where Force ghosts are eternal, Sith spirits can be vanquished by getting rid of whatever the spirit is attached to in the first place. There’s no doubt that Sith are much weaker than that of their light-loving counterparts. 

It seems that at the end of the line, it pays to be a Jedi if you want to conquer death. But then, isn’t it always better to be a Jedi anyway? If coming back from the dead is important to you, there’s no question that the light side is the way to go.