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Warning! This page contains spoilers from the episode "Choice" of The Acolyte. Caution is advised.

"This isn't about good or bad. This is about power, and who is allowed to use it."
―Aniseya[2]

Mother Aniseya was a human female who lived during the High Republic Era. She led an exiled coven of witches and eventually settled the group on the planet Brendok after they had suffered persecution for some time. Around 156 BBY, Mother Aniseya created the twin children Mae-ho and Verosha Aniseya, who were then carried until their birth by Mother Koril. Mother Aniseya Koril raised the sisters together as their mothers, though the pair often disagreed on how to raise the twins.

In 148 BBY, Aniseya hosted Rite of Ascension ceremony for her daughters to become witches. When several visiting Jedi interrupted, and Mother Aniseya agreed to let the pair be tested after Jedi Master Indara insisted. Not long after, Aniseya died when she attempted to forestall further conflict during a confrontation with Master Sol and the Padawan Torbin where the Jedi questioned her about the nature behind her daughters' birth. Triggering the beginnings of a transformation within both herself and Mae-ho, Aniseya was killed by Sol, who mistook her efforts as an attack against him and struck out with his lightsaber, mortally wounding the witch, who explained with her dying breaths that she had been intending to allow Verosha to leave and join the Jedi Order. Her death having started the following skirmish, except for Verosha and Mae-ho, who had sparked a fire to prevent Verosha from leaving to become a Jedi, Aniseya's entire coven subsequently perished. Verosha—who became a Padawan afterward—grieved her mothers' deaths for several years afterward.

Biography[]

Leader of an exiled coven[]

Destiny-TheAcolyte-Thumbnail

Mother Aniseya in the Brendok fortress

Mother Aniseya was a female human who lived during the High Republic Era.[2] She[3] led a coven of witches that eventually got exiled. During their exile, the coven was persecuted and could not perform their usual ceremonies, such as the Rite of Ascension. Aniseya eventually settled the witches in a fortress on the planet Brendok, with the leader insisting to a fellow witch—Mother Koril—that the world would be safe. When Aniseya created Mae-ho and Verosha Aniseya[2] around 156 BBY,[6] Koril carried them in her womb. After their birth, the women both became the twins' mothers. Though Mother Aniseya often adopted a more relaxed parenting style, in contrast, Koril's fierce protectiveness of the twins[2] made her a comparatively stern and intimidating caretaker.[7]

When Aniseya and Koril disagreed in parenting matters, the latter deferred to the twins' other mother due to the former being the coven's leader.[2] By 148 BBY,[1] Aniseya had a set of advisors that helped her make decisions, and some had varying levels of authority. Around this time, Verosha began sneaking outside the fortress to explore, which was against the coven's rules for the twins. Mother Aniseya felt that her daughter's rebelliousness was natural for a child, though Koril sharply disagreed and often reprimanded Verosha—and sometimes Mae-ho—for sneaking out. During their childhood, Mother Aniseya trained her daughters how to use the Thread—also known as the Force—to train them to become witches.[2]

Training with the Thread[]

In 148 BBY,[1] several JediJedi Masters Indara and Kelnacca, the Jedi Knight Sol, and the Padawan Torbin visited Brendok on a mission, soon discovering the witches after having initially assumed the planet was uninhabited. One day, Koril brought the pair's daughters back to the fortress after finding them wandering Brendok's forests. Though Koril did not want to allow the girls to indulge in spice creams, Aniseya disagreed, insisting her girls must have treats. The latter mother sent the pair away to prepare for their training session, while Koril deferred to the woman's authority.[2]

KorilAniseyaFortress-Destiny

Mother Aniseya and Koril conversed about their daughters leaving the fortress while there were Jedi visiting Brendok.

Afterward, Mother Aniseya and Koril conversed about their daughters having left the fortress again, as well as the visiting Jedi on Brendok and their ship's location. When the coven leader encouraged the Zabrak to speak freely, Koril indicated her displeasure with the other mother's lenient parenting style but acknowledged that she deferred to the former's judgement due to her authority in the coven. Mother Aniseya expressed that she felt the fortress would keep them safe, though Koril countered that it would not remain so if Verosha continued to leave its safety.[2]

In the fortress's common room, Aniseya then hosted a training session to teach Mae-ho and Verosha how to wield the Thread. She explained what she was doing as she floated a fruit through the air and fought off the attacks of one, and then later two witches. However, the twins began squabbling with each other and stopped paying attention to their mother. The coven leader threw both to the ground using the Thread, warning them that their enemies would not give warning before striking. When Mae-ho successfully blocked one of Mother Aniseya's attacks, Verosha hid behind her sister, causing Koril to scold her for not doing better. When a noise sounded in the training room, Koril exchanged a glance with Mother Aniseya and got up to investigate, intently surveying a nearby corridor leading to the coven's electricity generator.[2]

Rite of Ascension[]

The coven's witches donned[2] ceremonial purple robes[8] and gathered in the fortress's courtyard for Mae-ho and Verosha Aniseya's Rite of Ascension ceremony to become witches, with Mother Aniseya putting on an elaborate version of the ones worn by her coven members. The gathered witches parted and let Mother Aniseya move through them, with Koril stepping aside to let the former take the lead position. After Mother Aniseya proclaimed the significance of the ceremony—which they had not performed since before the group's exile—and enumerated on the suffering their group had endured, until now, in which they could rejoice in the gift of life.[2]

AniseyaIndara-Destiny

Indara and Mother Aniseya argued on Brendok when the Jedi interrupted the witches' Rite of Ascension.

After Mae-ho vowed to keep the coven's secrets, even after its leader's death, Mother Aniseya completed a ritual that left a white, spiraling mark on the girl's forehead. Though Verosha made the same vow, albeit more reluctantly, two witches rushed into the courtyard and informed the leader that the Jedi were coming to their location before she could complete the second Rite of Ascension. At their leader's command, the witches quickly crowded around the children to hide them, with Aniseya making her way to the front and telling her coven to put down their drawn weapons. Indara introduced her colleagues by name to the witches, insisting to the skeptical women that the Jedi did not mean to intrude or cause harm, having thought the world was uninhabited. However, Mother Aniseya mocked these claims and reminded the Jedi that they were carrying weapons. The witches also rebuffed the Jedi's claim that children were present on Brendok, offended at the visitors breaching their sacred inner circle.[2]

After Osha caught Indara's eye, the Jedi Master encouraged the child to come out of the crowd of witches, disappointing Aniseya. Mother Aniseya agreed to Indara's inquiry of meeting Mae as well, informing her that the children had no father. When Sol proposed to Osha that she be tested as a Jedi, the child implored her mother for permission. However, Mother Aniseya used a Thread ability to incapacitate Torbin, threatening Indara that they needed to leave or she would not undo the effects. Indara insisted that she could not deny the Jedi's right to test potential Padawans, prompting the leader to reluctantly agree to allow the twins to be brought to the Jedi's camp the following day. The Jedi Master thanked them for cooperating, exiting the courtyard with her colleagues.[2]

Testing and fire[]

KorilAniseyaArgument-Destiny

Aniseya and Koril argued over whether to allow the Jedi to test their daughters.

In a meeting of adult witches afterward, Koril Zabrak proposed killing the visiting Jedi, other witches disagreed, as the Republic would be angered if any Jedi blood was spilled. However, Mother Aniseya pointed out that it was her decision to make, and also reminded the Zabrak that she had created the twins. Koril countered that she had carried the twins and did not want to lose them to "deranged monks." The elder witch Naasa, however, offered her advice that the two children would be forcibly taken away if they passed the test, with the leader considered.[2]

AniseyaKorilAfterTesting-Destiny

Aniseya and Koril spoke with their daughters after their Jedi testing.

The following day, the girls were set to tested by the Jedi and sat with Mother Aniseya beforehand. The woman encouraged them to lie, though Verosha was hesitant. The coven leader told her that what she wanted may change, even if she wished to be a Jedi now, that may not always be the case, and that she and her sister were powerful, special girls. Following this, Mae-ho failed the test by lying, Verosha opted to tell the truth and passed the test. Mother Aniseya and Koril sat with the other witches in the coven's common room afterward, as the girls explained what happened. When Mae-ho began to tussle with her sister for their differing viewpoints, Koril dragged the child away forcibly to go on a walk at Mother Aniseya's suggestion. When Verosha continued to insist she had not wanted to lie and did want to be a Jedi, her mother accepted her answer and promised to consider her wishes as the witches discussed, but indicated such things were rarely simple.[2]

After, Verosha began packing to leave with the Jedi.[2] However, Sol and Torbin soon arrived, intending to take the twins due to a belief that they were a vergence in the Force. Aniseya, alongside Koril, confronted the Jedi once again for trespassing. Meanwhile, Mae-ho had started a fire in an attempt to prevent her sister's departure. Shortly thereafter, Mae-ho arrived to warn her mother, only for Koril to suddenly attack Torbin. In an attempt to prevent violence, Aniseya began to act, dissipating into a black smoke and triggering a similar transformation for Mae-ho. Before she could fully dissipate, however, Sol stabbed her with his lightsaber. Sol grabbed Aniseya, who confessed that she was going to let Verosha leave. Just after, she died.[9]

After Verosha was later saved from the fire by Sol, the girl saw Mother Aniseya's body dead on the floor as they fled, traumatizing her.[2] Afterward, Verosha became Sol's Padawan, though continued to mourn her mothers' deaths for years after their passing and harbored resentment toward Mae-ho for destroying their family, having been told that the coven had perished as a result of the fire lit by her twin sister. Eventually, Verosha left the Jedi[10] around 138 BBY[11] and by 132 BBY,[11] she still mourned the loss of her family.[10] Mae-ho, who the Jedi believed to have perished that night as well, eventually became apprenticed[12] to a mysterious Sith Lord calling himself "the Stranger"[13], who eventually tasked her with killing the four Jedi stationed on Brendok at the time of her mothers' deaths.[14]

Personality and traits[]

Aniseya and Koril shared a close, companionable bond with each other, which was furthered by the matriarchal culture of their community.[5] The pair shared several moments of gently emotionally comforting each other[8] and Mother Aniseya encouraged the Zabrak to voice her opinions and concerns to her. However, the coven leader was also willing to exercise her authority and directly defy Koril's adamant wish for the Jedi not to test the pair's daughters, insisting it was her decision alone as their leader.[2] Aniseya had brown eyes and brown skin with white tattoos. The coven leader had black hair with brown highlights, which she styled in a set of elaborate braids.[2] Mother Aniseya stood 1.75 meters tall.[4]

Powers and abilities[]

Aniseya was a Force-sensitive witch who could wield the Thread—also known as the Force—to move objects and block attacks. She was also able to weaponize the Thread by using an ability that would render an individual incapacitated and put them out of their right mind as their eyes turned fully black.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

"In designing for Mother Aniseya and for the witches, I wanted to set them apart from what we've seen in previous Star Wars episodes and movies. I use purple as a color because it [evokes] a kind of royalty."
―Jennifer Bryan, about the witches' Ascension costumes[15]
Jodie Turner-Smith

Jodie Turner-Smith, the actor who portrayed Mother Aniseya

Aniseya first appeared in "Destiny," the third episode of the live-action Disney+ series The Acolyte,[2] which aired on June 11, 2024.[16] In "Destiny," the character was portrayed by Jodie Turner-Smith.[17] Prior to the episode's release, she was first identified and visually depicted in both a StarWars.com in an article revealing information about some of the then-upcoming series's characters, which included Aniseya's coven of witches,[18] and Aniseya's StarWars.com Databank entry,[4] which were both released on March 18, 2024. Her casting was also revealed in the article.[18]

The robes Aniseya—and the rest of the coven's witches—wore during the Rite of Ascension were designed by The Acolyte's costume designer, Jennifer Bryan. Bryan indicated that the original color of the fabric upon arrival was more similar to a fuschia shade and had to be dyed to the royal purple seen in the finished episode.[19] The color purple for the costumes was chosen because purple evokes a feeling of royalty, and Bryan wished to reflect that the women in the episode were a group of elevated ladies. Mother Aniseya's costumes especially were meant to show her as a queen, elevated even above the other witches in quality of fabric.[15]

In "Destiny," Aniseya and Koril are depicted as a caring pair of mothers[2] who share several affectionate physical interactions.[8] The Acolyte's showrunner Leslye Headland later indicated that she knew the pair's relationship had closeness between them seemed natural and plot driven. The showrunner also stated that while she knew their relationship would read that their sexuality was queer, that there also were not any men in their community, and noted that it would be "really reductive to call them lesbians." However, the creator also felt that if any her content was seen as queer, she was proud elements viewed as such by fans could inspire people.[5]

Appearances[]

Sources[]

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Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The events of "Destiny," including the death of Aniseya on Brendok, take place sixteen years before the present day events of The Acolyte, which occur in 132 BBY per the reasoning here.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "Destiny"
  3. 3.0 3.1 StarWars Introducing the Cast of The Acolyte on StarWars.com (backup link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 StarWars-DatabankII Mother Aniseya in the Databank (backup link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Leslye Headland on Queerness in 'The Acolyte', the Witch Coven, and More by Sydney Sumpter on www.starwarsnewsnet.com (June 21, 2024) (archived from the original on June 21, 2024)
  6. The events of The Acolyte take place in 132 BBY per the reasoning here. "Lost / Found" states that Mae-ho and Verosha Aniseya were eight years old when separated. As "Destiny" dates itself to sixteen years prior to the series' main events, equating to 148 BBY. The episode also depicts their separation, meaning the pair must have been created by Aniseya around 156 BBY.
  7. StarWars-DatabankII Mother Koril in the Databank (backup link)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "Destiny" (Audio description from Disney+)
  9. The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "Choice"
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "Lost / Found"
  11. 11.0 11.1 StarWars "Lost/Found" Episode Guide | The Acolyte on StarWars.com (backup link) states that the events of The Acolyte take place 100 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, which Star Wars: Timelines dates to 32 BBY. Therefore, The Acolyte takes place in 132 BBY. "Lost / Found" establishes that Verosha Aniseya left the Jedi Order six years before its events, equating to around 138 BBY, as the episode's events take place in 132 BBY.
  12. The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "Revenge / Justice"
  13. Seeing red: Inside The Acolyte's shocking bloodbath and big villain reveal by Ross, Dalton on Entertainment Weekly (June 26, 2024) (archived from the original on June 26, 2024)
  14. The Acolyte logo Celebration The Acolyte — "Day"
  15. 15.0 15.1 StarWars In The Acolyte, Jodie Turner-Smith's Mother Aniseya is Mothering on StarWars.com (backup link)
  16. DisneyPlusLogo Next on Disney+: June 2024 on Disney+ (backup link)
  17. The Walt Disney Studios All Access - PDX-FF-002650 on Getty Images (May 4, 2024) (archived from the original)
  18. 18.0 18.1 StarWars The Acolyte Characters Revealed — First Look on StarWars.com (backup link)
  19. StarWars "Destiny" Trivia Gallery | The Acolyte on StarWars.com (backup link) (Slide 2)
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