Why Star Wars’ darkest army scared the Sith more than the Jedi

Star Wars hinted that the Sith and Jedi teamed up against another ancient Dark Side cult… and that terrified the Sith.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers from Star Wars: Doctor Aphra # 16, on sale now from Marvel Comics.

Star warsThe Sith enhanced their power in the Force by using their emotions – their fear and anger – and combining them with a willingness to dominate everything and everyone. For years, members of the Sith have waged countless wars against the Jedi Order, but the Star Wars: Doctor Aphra the comic book series recently introduced another group that neither the Sith nor the Jedi could stand. Although there was little more than one name in the last issue, Doctor Aphra # 16 (by Alyssa Wong, Minkyu Jung, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Caramagna of VC) finally gave some details on the Ascendant.

The Bounty Hunter War is finally over, but that does not mean that there are no sequelae. During the war, Domina Tagge – the head of the Tagge Corporation – sent Dr Aphra and Sana Starros to the Crimson Dawn auction to spy on the resurgent criminal syndicate. Aphra did her job and stole the data necklace from a Black-Sun-turned-Crimson-Dawn agent, but that’s not all Aphra did. Aboard the Vermilion, Aphra also encountered an ancient evil technology called a thought dowser.

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Dr Aphra using a dowser

Aphra found the Thought Dowser as he fled from the guards and assassins of Crimson Dawn, so she activated him to allow her and Starros to escape. Technology worked for Aphra as their pursuers started stabbing each other, but the Thought Dowser also harmed Aphra, causing her to collapse under the weight of his terrible power. Now in Doctor Aphra # 16, Domina Tagge wanted an explanation of the Ascendant and its sophisticated technology.

Aphra explained to Tagge that the Ascendant was an ancient cult of non-Force users who were “obsessed with malicious technology and reproducing the effects of the Force.” In fact, the Mind-blowing Dowser was not just one of the sophisticated technologies the Ascendant created in the depths of the past. However, when Domina asked for more, Aphra clarified that, unlike other Jedi and Sith, the Ascendant had been completely wiped out centuries earlier by true Force users: “Kill the competition and all that.”

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Domina Tagge and Aphra Thought Seeker

Besides, Aphra did not rule out the possibility that the Jedi and Sith may have formed a temporary coalition to destroy the Ascendant. While sworn enemies, the Jedi and the Sith had one thing in common; the two orders were extremely exclusive. So when a cult came to try to reproduce the Force, they both perhaps took a “personal interest in the extinction of the Ascendant.” It would make for a very interesting piece of history that could be explored in future issues.

Regardless, it appears to be far from the last mention of the Ascendant cult, as Domina Tagge appears to have taken a personal interest in their technology. At the end of the problem, she sent Aphra and Starros to find out more about the Thought Dowsers. So, Aphra went to a Tase Somar for more information, but when they arrived they saw a strange sight. There were several severed arms in a circle, with the aftereffects of someone using a dowser of different thought. Then, a mysterious hooded figure emerged from the shadows. Maybe it was Tase Somar, or maybe it will be someone more sinister. Perhaps they will even have ties to the old Ascendant.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra # 17 will be released on December 22.

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