For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire. And what an Empire it was!

Just as the Star Wars universe is lauded and loved for its heroes, those heroes would have no way to prove their bravery and valor without the best bad guys in the galaxy. Sure the Joker and Loki are incredibly popular, but Star Wars has the power to take characters with one or two lines of dialogue and make them full blown cultural icons. Or make dozens of highly sought after action figures based on characters with zero lines of dialogue who do little more than briefly stand around in the background.

That’s the power of Star Wars. The unlimited power! Just appearing in one scene in The Empire Strikes Back was enough to make fans obsess over and want to know every detail of a character’s backstory. And if that material was not provided officially, fans would fill in the blanks and make up their own stories for how Boba Fett got that dent in his helmet, or what that one member of the Emperor’s Royal Guard was named, or what brand of toothbrush was Bossk’s favorite.

And these are just the minor players. When you get into the big timers like Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, forget about it. Has there ever been a more popular bad guy than Darth Vader? Have you ever seen another bad guy with his face --- or helmet, I suppose --- on more merchandise than the former Anakin Skywalker? And could anyone short of the devil himself have seemed more deviously sinister than the Emperor when he tempted Luke on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi?

Vader famously said, “You don’t know the power of the Dark Side”, but let’s celebrate it anyway with this small collection of fan art and see if we can’t get a better idea.