Attack of the Clones is still the worst Star Wars movie (yes it is – I will fight you) and one of the biggest weaknesses in it is the random introduction of a mysterious name when Obi-Wan Kenobi first discovers the clone army on Kamino. Who commissioned this army, a perplexed Obi-Wan asks. Why, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas.
Who? I realize that sometimes a new thing gets dropped into a movie as a surprise or a mystery. But any good story eventually points back and explains that new thing and how it fits. Not so Attack of the Clones, and for years Star Wars fans would be left with that loose thread just hanging in the galactic winds.
Who is Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas?
George Lucas originally planned for it to be Darth Sidious who ordered the creation of the clone army, using the name “Sido Dyas” as a pretty obvious distortion of Sidious. Lucas then changed his mind and decided that Sifo-Dyas was a Jedi patsy tricked by the Sith Lord. He intended to reveal some of this content in Revenge of the Sith but those scenes got cut.
One of the biggest mysteries in Star Wars
So as the Prequel movies bumbled to a conclusion, the mystery of Sifo-Dyas remained. A few years later, Star Wars: The Clone Wars gave us a bit more information in an episode revealing that Sifo-Dyas had been killed by the Pyke Syndicate and finally giving us an image of the man himself (in hologram form). It wasn’t until Cavan Scott’s audiobook Dooku: Jedi Lost that we finally get the full story.
Why did Sifo-Dyas order the creation of the clone army?
In Scott’s book, Count Dooku and Sifo-Dyas were close friends who believed that the Jedi Council was wrong to ignore the power of the Cosmic Force, the use of which often revealed visions of the future. The two Jedi had discovered the Bogan Collection of Dark Side artifacts, which in turn brought the attention of Jedi Master Lene Kostana, who encouraged Sifo-Dyas to further explore his visions through the Cosmic Force.
Sifo-Dyas foresaw a great war that would threaten the entire Republic, but the Jedi Council never listened to him. Going rogue, he sought out the Kaminoans and commissioned the creation of a clone army. His friend Dooku had by now succumbed to the Dark Side and this army became known to Darth Sidious, who built it into his plan to control the galaxy.
How did Sifo-Dyas die?
Sidious realized that Sifo-Dyas was a threat to his plan, as the tortured Jedi might learn of the developing Sith plan to return to power. He ordered Dooku to kill Sifo-Dyas, and the dark apprentice arranged an untraceable death through the Pykes. Any account of the incident was scrubbed from the records and it took the Jedi too much time to see the truth. By then, it was too late.
Sifo-Dyas doesn’t receive his share of the blame
For a minor character, Sifo-Dyas carries a huge burden for the disaster that was the Clone Wars. It’s true that his motives were good – he just wanted to create an army to protect the Republic – but at no point did he try to stop the war: he just hoped to control it.
There is some fan interest in a Sifo-Dyas project, but if I can please make a suggestion: he’s just another sign of Jedi hubris and decadence. And Mace Windu is way cooler.