What word in English would convey a lack of light in a positive manner?

I am specifically wondering what the Empire would have called "the dark side of the Force" if the Star Wars story were told from the point of view of the Empire and not the rebels. The English translation* of the phrase which describes the Empires' associates use of the force has obvious negative connotations. As presented to us from the rebel's point of view, even Darth Vader calls the his use of the force "dark", so it is reasonable to assume that either the same term is used by both sides, or similar terms are.

The closest that I could come up with would be "shrouded" or "mysterious" but I cannot imagine Vader having said "come to the shrouded side of the Force". What would have been the likely English translation had the Empire been the one to bring to us the story?

*English most likely did not exist a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

  • 3
    Most likely? The dark side. The fact that the story would be told from their viewpoint doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have used the same terminology. People who believe and dabble in ‘dark magic’ (misunderstood wicca and all that stuff) also frequently call it dark magic. The term just doesn’t have any negative connotations to them, unlike to the ones who originally invented the terms. Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 22:51
  • 2
    My first thought was...why assume they (the Empire) would consider themselves the "dark" force? Why not the "righteous" force, if it were to be told from their perspective? Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 23:13
  • 4
    How about "a shady glen"?
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 23:23
  • 1
    The Effective Side of the Force.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 1:14
  • Only the Shadow knows.
    – pazzo
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 3:12

3 Answers 3


Vader and the Emperor both seem to really revel in saying "the Dark Side" with emphasis, as well as doing and inspiring "dark deeds", so I think they would say that in their own histories, too.

But let's see... if we assume that not only is there a victor filter, but also an Earth English filter from the writer/inventor Lucas, and we pretend that Lucas is making an Earth-accessible version of a Light-Side-biased history, and the film versions are unfair demonizing caricatures... that opens more possibilities, but also means we need to provide our own guesses about their actual nature, and then find our own ways to convey those in this language which is so full of dark/light moral connotations of our own.

I think though that it seems like Dark Side philosophy seems to be unashamedly that anger, rage, revenge, destruction, violence, threats, terror, brutality, torment, torture, and selfishness are all good, fine and dandy. I don't think the darkness connotations will be the only issues. To try to be "politically correct" or at least neutral, one could say "the Lightless Side" or "the Dim Side" or "the Black Side", but I think that would miss their point. They like being the Dark Side, and want you to be terrified and think of them as murderous horrible hateful despotic loathsome torturing despotic overlords.

Only if we decide that Light Side propagandists made all of THAT up too, and that the Dark Side folks were actually misunderstood, with equally reasonable philosophical alternatives, then maybe it might make sense to look for less loaded terms. Maybe the Sith just wanted to be allowed to play with light sabers and use the force and ALSO have girlfriends (dumb emotion-stifling Jedi rules be damned!), and to keep their dying girlfriends alive, and maybe they had great ideas for economic development, great military service benefits, abundant gun rights, great advances in GMO soldier-cloning technology, and the Death Star could also be used as a giant holographic sky-wide movie projector to entertain the masses and so on.

Maybe they were the Black Side, or even the Indigo Side or the Colorful Side, the Deep Side, the Dusk Side, and/or the Night Side.

Or maybe the whole dark/light thing was a Light-side propaganda point, and they really just called themselves the Sith, or the Cathartic Side, but that doesn't really get at the question of what English words for dark don't have negative connotations.

I'd say the negative connotations with "dark" goes beyond words, to the ancient metaphor of the underworld as a dark world beneath where there is death and darkness. You can find words people aren't used to hearing, and use say, the Atramentous Side, which might be my best shot, but the metaphor about darkness itself may still be there, for Earthlings.

I suppose "the Shady Side" has positive connotations even if it also has dark ones.

  • The bad guys hamming it up is definitely part of the Lucas storytelling.
    – lly
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 15:02

In today's culture, the word night has an actually quite positive connotation. To most people I know, it would be associated with going out, partying, love.

My opinion is that the word "night" became positive as night became safer. Maybe in a galaxy far far away they had their own reasons for thinking of dark as a positive thing.

But also, the fact that you see negative as an unwanted thing is completely your point of view. Dart Vader might think of negative things as positives because he desires them.

  • Night isn't a negative word, but we wouldn't use it to describe something positively compared with its rival, day.
    – lly
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 15:01

Any word you choose is going to reflect the rebels' language, but the word that came to me was midnight. So you might say "we came from the luxurious midnight" or some such.

  • The Midnight Side? Nahhh...
    – lly
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 15:01

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