- "His companion, Charal, is a female shape-shifter, a Force-wielding witch who apparently escaped from her exile on a planet called Dathomir."
- ―Pfilbee Jhorn
Charal was a Force-wielding Nightsister who turned her back on the sisterhood and left her homeworld of Dathomir. Before getting off the planet for good, she stole the Talisman of the Raven, a prized artifact that allowed her to metamorphose into a bird known as a raven. The other witches called Charal a traitor and sought to feed her to their rancors, a species of ferocious predators. Charal spent decades trying to escape her pursuers and ultimately joined a band of Sanyassan Marauders, who were themselves being hunted down by law enforcement agencies. Their vessel crashed on the uncharted Forest Moon of Endor, where a Sanyassan warlord known as Terak set himself up as King, appointing Charal as his second-in-command.
Over roughly the next century, the long-lived Marauders established themselves as pillagers and raiders on Endor; Charal matched the Sanyassans' natural longevity through her affinity with the Force. Meanwhile, she enhanced her authority over the Marauders thanks to the powers of the Talisman she had stolen from Dathomir before her desertion. Charal hated being stuck on the Forest Moon, but she came to regard herself as the Witch-Queen of Endor. When the Towani family of Humans crash-landed on the moon in 3 ABY, Charal and the Marauders saw the newcomers' still-functional Star Cruiser as an opportunity to escape. However, the chance was foiled by the youngest Towani, Cindel, her Ewok friend Wicket Wystri Warrick, the Human scout Noa Briqualon, and his Teek companion. When Warrick destroyed her Talisman in the heat of battle, Charal became trapped in the form of a raven forever.
- "One of our sisters has yet to return the Talisman of the Raven."
- ―Talzin, referring to Charal
A Human female from Dathomir, Charal was born a witch to a Nightsister clan, well over a standard century before the Galactic Civil War. As she learned to master the spells of her coven, she came to be highly regarded by her sisters for her outstanding talents in Shadow Magic, especially the mysterious art of shapeshifting. During her life on her homeworld, Charal was also taught horsemanship—unlike many Nightsisters, she rode a black horse instead of a carnivorous rancor.
At some point, Charal decided to leave her homeworld. She abandoned her clan and stole the Talisman of the Raven, a ring that allowed the wearer to physically change shape to become a bird known as a raven. Her desertion was not well received, and Charal earned a death mark from the other witches, who wanted to return her to Dathomir so that she might be fed to the rancors. Hunted, Charal spent decades moving from star system to star system across the galaxy, trying to avoid both her former Sisters and those Jedi Knights who hounded runaway darksiders. She eventually joined a band of Sanyassan pirates known as the Marauders, who were on the run from law enforcement agencies. Terak, leader of the Sanyassan pirates, agreed to forge an alliance with Charal. The witch intended to stay with the raiders on their starship only long enough to secure herself passage with a different vessel—but a shipwreck ruined her plans.
The pirates were barely able to pilot their stolen Star Cruiser, and their navigator could not handle the complex gravity patterns of the Endor system. In 96 BBY, their vessel crashed on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor, a protected nature reserve located in the Moddell sector. Like many other unfortunate travelers, the castaway witch found herself stranded due to the stellar anomalies surrounding Endor.
Life on Endor
- "You have the distinct honor of being spoken to by Charal, Witch-Queen of this god-forsaken moon. You have come to serve my desires, have you not?"
- ―Charal, on Endor
While on Endor, Charal stayed with the Marauders. Their leader, Terak, set himself up as King, occupying a primitive castle in the plains of the Dragon's Pelt savanna. Using her Talisman to great effect, the Nightsister intimidated the Sanyassan pirates with displays of its power, and she eventually came to rule over them as Terak's cohort. There was a delicate balance of power between Terak and Charal, and each of them used every opportunity they could to overcome the other. Driven by delusions of grandeur, Charal styled herself as the Witch-Queen of Endor. Together with the Sanyassans, Charal constantly preyed on the more peaceful inhabitants of the Forest Moon, most notably the diminutive Ewoks. She was notably at odds with Logray, the Ewok shaman of Bright Tree Village, who was admittedly wary of her power.
Around 26 BBY, Charal and the Marauders captured Salak Weet, a stranded humanoid scout. Weet spoke of his Star Cruiser hidden in the forests, and he told the Marauders of how the vessel traveled through realspace, capable of doing so by the "power." In much of the galactic community, what the scout spoke of was considered everyday technology, but Charal and the Sanyassans were stuck in primitive thinking. They took Weet's words literally, and Terak became obsessed with finding the "power" of the stars that the scout mentioned.
While Charal held a position of authority, not all of the Marauders feared the witch. During their life on Endor, Charal and the Sanyassan scholar Szingo developed a bitter rivalry. One day, after Marauder scouts shot down a pirate ship, Szingo asked a passing spacer to disintegrate the survivors and to bring their leader's weapon to him. Once Charal heard of the discovery, she raided the crashed ship with a few Sanyassan henchmen and destroyed the wreckage to ensure that the scholar would find nothing else. Szingo, intent on revenge, ordered the spacer to kill the Marauders who had performed this act of treachery. When the offworlder did so, Terak was displeased by the deaths of his men, so Szingo intended to place the blame on Charal. However, the Nightsister used her sorcery to prove she had nothing to do with the attack, shielding herself from the King's wrath.
- "I have need of your services once again, my dearest. My poultice that will allow me to divine the future now needs the next ingredient. I will be pleased if you find my slave whom [sic] hasn't returned with it yet. Will you, my pretty?"
At some point between 0 ABY and 3 ABY, Charal was working on a poultice that would help her divine the future. A passing-by spacer approached her and offered to be of service. Charal took advantage of the offer and had the spacer venture into the woods to retrieve the spleen of a healthy Ewok. When the spacer returned with the spleen, Charal added it to her poultice. To retrieve the next ingredient, the Witch-Queen dispatched "Lizardman," a dimwitted Trandoshan slave she used as her personal assistant, as he had a keen sense of smell for the type of herb she required. When he did not return, Charal decided to enlist the spacer once again, this time to retrieve Lizardman. The spacer did so, and returned with Lizardman in tow. Fortunately for Charal, the Trandoshan had the herbs required. For her final ingredient, the Witch-Queen required Ewok spittle. The spacer assisted her once again, retrieving a whole, live Ewok and returning it to Terak's Keep.
Pleased, Charal extracted the required saliva from the captive and completed her poultice. With it, she saw a vision of many ships landing on the Forest Moon, ships she planned to steal. She also discovered that a ship had crashed on Endor recently, and that survivors of the crash possessed a comlink—a communication device that would allow her to steal the ships that would be landing in the future. Once more enlisting the spacer, whom she now regarded as a slave, Charal bade her servant steal the comlink from the survivors of the crash. The spacer ventured forth, killed the survivors, and returned with the device. The Witch-Queen was overjoyed; with the comlink in her possession, she believed she would be able to control the universe. Satisfied, Charal dismissed her servant; by following the spacer's own destiny, Charal reasoned, the spacer would serve the witch's as well.
The Witch and the Imperials
- "The Force witch Charal, who called herself a Nightsister, freed us after promise to take her with us when the retrieval ship homed in our beacons."
- ―Pfilbee Jhorn
When the Galactic Empire first explored the Sanctuary Moon, the Marauders captured the Imperial scouting party, including a Human Sergeant named Pfilbee Jhorn. Charal relished the hope that she could escape at last with the Imperials. Nevertheless, the Marauders merely took the intruders down into their gritty cellblocks, deprived them of their possessions, and tortured one of them to death. Unbeknownst to Terak, the Force witch sneaked into the dungeons to parley with Jhorn and his men. Charal promised to help the survey team escape as long as they vowed to take her with them. The prisoners agreed to the deal, but Terak learned of Charal's treachery before she could escape. He grew angry and had the Sister tossed into a cage even as the Imperials ran to their freedom. The woman stayed in prison until the King finally agreed to forgive her betrayal and let her become his second-in-command again.
Run-in with Logray
- "You decaying fool! Your pathetic forest magic is no match for the invaders, no match for the Griagh… And no match for a Nightsister of Dathomir!"
- ―Charal to Logray
By 3 ABY, the Imperials had come back to Endor and started building a deflector shield generator and a bunker on the Dulok Swamp. Their presence on the green moon had awakened the Griagh, a monstrous beast that had long been considered mythical. In the midst of these events, Charal had a showdown with the shaman Logray. He had come along with his apprentice Paploo to discuss the recent events with her. When the old Ewok allowed her to touch the Sunstar, Charal experienced a powerful vision that gave her a glimpse of the perils to come.
Enticed by the might of the Sunstar, she demanded that Logray let her have it. Faced with the Ewoks' refusal, Charal went on the offensive. Using her magic to summon a group of Dulok skeletons, she prevented Paploo from defending the shaman, whom she ensnared by making giant brambles grow and twist around him. The witch's plans almost succeeded, until Paploo got rid of the undead Duloks and used his slingshot to knock the Sunstar away from her hands. The shot not only hit Charal's hand, but it also struck her talisman, turning the witch into her raven form on the spot. Finding herself in the midst of a temporary defeat, the Witch-Queen of Endor retreated. As an act of revenge, she later had Logray and Paploo ambushed by a group of Imperial stormtroopers. While still in raven form, the Dathomiri woman scratched one of the stormtroopers' helmets with her claws, causing the trooper to chase her into the woods. This allowed Charal to lead the Imperials directly to the Ewoks.
The Battle for Endor
- "She's evil!"
- ―Cindel Towani, on Charal
In 3.5 ABY, Charal accompanied the Marauders during an attack on Bright Tree Village, an Ewok settlement where the Human Towani family had sought refuge after crashing on Endor in their Star Cruiser. Terak still sought what he called the "power"—actually the crystal oscillator from the family's spacecraft—which he believed the Towanis possessed. As such, during the attack, the Witch-Queen ventured to the location of the downed vessel. There, Charal found the family patriarch, Jeremitt Towani, working on the ship; she ordered the Marauders to beat him in an attempt to discover the location of the "power". In due course, Terak himself arrived and began interrogating the man. Towani claimed ignorance, but Terak strongly believed that the man was the "Guardian of the power." Terak removed the ship's crystal oscillator and triumphantly declared to his men that he had the "power". At that moment, Towani lunged for a blaster pistol and shot down one of the Marauders before attempting to escape. Terak, satisfied with his find, sent his men after the Human.
Using her ring, Charal shifted into her raven form and tracked down Jeremitt Towani, who was hiding with his daughter, Cindel. The Witch-Queen alerted the Marauders to their location, but the girl escaped into the woods. As Charal gave chase, the Marauders found and killed the elder Towani. The Human girl was not able to run far, however—the Witch-Queen returned to her normal form and stopped the young Towani in her tracks. With the rest of her family killed by then, the young girl was taken as a captive by Terak's Marauders. However, she escaped from their custody with the aid of the captured Ewoks while they were on the road to Terak's Keep. Back at the castle, Charal attempted to use her Force-witch magic to activate the crystal oscillator, but without success. She suggested to Terak that the Towani girl might be able to help activate the device, but her remark only incensed the King. He immediately ordered Charal and the Marauders to locate and recapture the young Human.
As a raven, Charal set out into the woods. She was able to ascertain that Towani was staying with another Human living on Endor, an older man named Noa Briqualon. The day after she had made her discovery, Charal distanced herself from Briqualon's residence and began calling Cindel Towani's name, replicating the voice of Catarine Towani, the young girl's mother. As the child grew nearer, Charal began singing "My Star," one of the young Towani's favorite songs. To further entice her prey, the Witch-Queen took on the appearance of a much younger Human with golden hair and white robes. Nearby, she had a white horse waiting. When Towani entered her presence, the disguised witch had the young girl bring a nearby robe to her. Taking the garment, Charal quickly transformed into her normal self and seized Towani. Her new captive in tow, Charal mounted her horse, which was now black, and rode for Terak's Keep.
The witch brought Cindel Towani before the Marauder king, and both ordered the girl to release "the power" of the crystal oscillator. Towani confessed that she did not know how to use the crystal, sending Terak into a fit of anger. The Sanyassan imprisoned both Charal and the girl in his stronghold's dungeon. Behind the bars, the Nightsister scolded Towani for not giving Terak what he had demanded. The witch also revealed that it was Briqualon's friend Salak Weet—now lying dead in one of the cells—who had first told them of "the power" contained in the energy cells. Meanwhile, Towani's friends sneaked into the stronghold to free the girl, as well as the Marauders' Ewok captives. Briqualon, Wicket Wystri Warrick, and Briqualon's Teek companion made it to the cellblocks and set their friends free. For a moment, Charal hoped she would be able to escape too, and she asked Warrick to open her cage. Towani, however, took the keys from her Ewok companion before he could comply. The party left the castle, taking the crystal oscillator with them.
When Terak learned of the jailbreak, he decided to lead a punitive expedition to retrieve the crystal. He turned to Charal and commanded her to go after the fugitives. He allowed the Force witch to use her Talisman to change into a raven again, but this time, Terak grabbed the bird by the leg and seized the ring. The Sanyassan wanted to keep Charal in bird form so she would track the group without betraying him and running away. The Nightsister flew off with the full Marauder army close behind. When they finally reached their targets at Briqualon's Star Cruiser, a battle ensued between the Marauders and the Ewoks. Charal observed the fighting in bird form, flying around the battlefield. During Terak's final duel with Briqualon, Warrick intervened and used his sling to hit the Sanyassan warlord. However, the Ewok's aim was low: instead of hitting Terak between the eyes, the rock struck Charal's ring, which was around his neck. The Talisman of the Raven shattered, unleashing its powers on the Marauder leader and burning him to a crisp, as well as trapping Charal in her animal form forever. She swooped down to the ground to try to reclaim the remains of her ring, circled frantically overhead and then flew away into the forest, shrieking. What became of her subsequently remained a mystery.
- "The final decision is up to the Emperor, of course, but I hope he chooses never to return to this unpleasant Forest Moon."
- ―Pfilbee Jhorn
Against the advice of Sergeant Jhorn, who had been tortured by the Marauders, Galactic Emperor Palpatine chose to build the shield generator for his second Death Star battlestation on Endor's forest moon, and the satellite found itself in the Empire's grasp. A few months after the defeat of Charal and the Sanyassans, members of the Rebel Alliance sought to destroy the Death Star, so they came to Endor in order to disable the shield generator. When Wicket Warrick first met Alliance heroine Princess Leia Organa, he remembered his previous encounters with Humans, and the memory of Charal still made him shudder in fear. The Death Star was finally destroyed from within by the Alliance Fleet, and Endor regained its freedom.
When agents of the New Republic—the democratic government established by the Alliance—scouted the forests, they found no trace of the Marauders or Charal. As the agents had no knowledge of the conflict between the Sanyassans and the Ewoks, they had not heard of what happened to the witch. In their reports, they erroneously postulated that Palpatine had killed Charal, as he would not have tolerated another dangerous Force-user dwelling on the moon he was planning to use.
Personality and traits
- "This blighted excuse for a moon is not what I had in mind when I escaped my home planet of Dathomir. After my concoction has come to completion, I will know how much longer I must remain upon this nightmare of a world."
- ―Charal, to a spacer
Charal was an imposing Human, standing 1.77 meters tall, with a slender shape, angular features, raven-black hair, and green eyes. She wore a black-and-red grafiform robe with octopus-like tendrils, a cloak of black feathers, and a tight-fitting Nightsister breastplate. Although she was a supercentenarian at the time of the Galactic Civil War, her appearance remained that of a person of indeterminate age. She would sometimes enhance her appearance by wearing bright red lipstick and nail polish as well as green eyeshadow.
After her crash-landing on Endor, the Force witch came to hate the Forest Moon and constantly sought to venture offworld. She was highly derisive of her ally, the Sanyassan King Terak, and one day hoped to put an end to her alliance with him. Charal seized every opportunity to gain the upper hand on the warlord and to increase her personal influence on the Marauders, but generally kept a low profile in front of the king, avoiding direct confrontation. The witch also developed feelings of rivalry toward scholar Szingo, another minor figure of authority at the Marauders' Stronghold.
The Witch-Queen also had a very low opinion of her slave, Lizardman, and wished that she possessed a more intelligent assistant. She reacted to any insubordination or lack of respect from those she regarded to be her inferiors with great chagrin. Charal had a habit of referring to those in her service as "slave" or "servant," although she immediately corrected herself upon doing so. Despite being inherently evil and an active supporter of slavery, she tended to be vain and opportunistic rather than actively malevolent toward those around her. She addressed her subservients with a patronizing yet often endearing tone, and she never attempted to hurt or kill them. The Witch-Queen placed great stock in the power of a standard item such as a comlink, believing it could grant her all manner of power. Her original culture, the Witches of Dathomir, were half-primitivists, having consciously rejected technology on philosophical grounds. Even after Dathomir joined the New Republic in 8 ABY, the Witches still preferred to maintain their natural lifestyle.
Powers and abilities
- "I'll give you to the count of five, then I shall begin singing… run, little rabbit, run…"
- ―Charal, to a spacer
When she still lived on Dathomir, Charal was regarded by others as a highly skilled witch. With the use of her ring, Charal had the power to transform into a raven. Following the traditions of the Nightsisters' magic, she used most of her powers through singing. Like many other witches, she was gifted with Force powers such as Animal Affinity, Summon Storm, and Force Whirlwind. She was also able to locate other beings and compel them to do her bidding. She could channel spirit ichor in the form of green smoke and use it as extensions of her arms to physically hit her opponents or raise them off the ground. Additionally, she had the ability to animate corpses, a feat that she shared with other powerful sorceresses like Old Daka. Through a power known to the Nightsisters as Surge of the Brier, she could trigger the growth of a plant and shape it into a form of her choosing.
Charal possessed useful, non-magical abilities. She was a capable martial artist and was also proficient with all kinds of weapons, including blaster pistols. She was skilled at horseback riding too—she possessed a black stallion she could turn into a white steed through magic. In addition to her other skills, Charal could speak at least four languages—Galactic Basic Standard, Ewokese, Sanyassan and Dathomiri.
Behind the scenes
- "Talisman of Transformation: This lets people turn into animals and references the 1985 TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, specifically the magic ring worn by the evil witch Charal (which allowed her to turn into a raven)."
- ―Daniel Wallace, in his endnotes for Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
Charal was created for the 1985 made-for-TV film Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Her name came about when ABC Entertainment pushed the movie's co-directors Jim and Ken Wheat to hire Cheryl Ladd to play the witch's part. In the actual movie, Charal was portrayed by Siân Phillips in her true form and Marianne Horine in her young witch form. The character was designed by the American director and artist Joe Johnston, who first envisioned her as a greenish-skinned humanoid.
Charal's exact origins and background remained a mystery until 1995, when Kevin J. Anderson retconned her into a Witch of Dathomir in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. The Force witches had been created a year earlier in Dave Wolverton's novel The Courtship of Princess Leia.
In the 2000s, Charal was featured as a non-player character in the Star Wars-themed MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies, in which she acted as a quest giver to the player characters, who had the ability to travel from planet to planet in spacecraft. Charal did not try to barter passage offworld with the spacers with whom she interacted, despite being shown as eager to leave Endor for good in the game.
During development of the Nightsister episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, supervising director Dave Filoni made sketches of Charal and considered including her in the show. Charal was indirectly mentioned in Daniel Wallace's Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side, in the Wild Power section. In it, Clan Mother Talzin mentions that "One of our sisters has yet to return the Talisman of the Raven." In his endnotes for the Book of Sith, Wallace revealed that the Talisman of the Raven was specifically created as a reference to Charal and her magic.
In "Who's Who in Star Wars Galaxies," an article published in 2003 in the Star Wars Insider 65, it was claimed that Terak's quest for the "power" is what caused him to forge his alliance with Charal. However, both Charal's Databank entry on StarWars.com and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, published in 2008, stated that the Nightsister joined the Marauders before the crash on Endor, which happened decades before Terak first heard of the "power" from Salak Weet. This article follows the version of the facts featured in the Complete Encyclopedia, as it is the newer source.
In October 2013, Charal was featured as a minor antagonist in Star Wars: Ewoks—Shadows of Endor, a trade paperback published by Dark Horse Comics. The comic's author Zack Giallongo commented that his version of the character was designed to look a bit more like the Nightsisters shown in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Charal notably summons corpses to fight in her stead, as did the Nightsister Daka in "Massacre," the nineteenth episode of the the animated series' fourth season. Giallongo added that Charal, however, did not have enough power to resurrect an entire army.
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars: Ewoks—Shadows of Endor
- Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (First appearance)
- Ewoks: The Battle for Endor book-and-record
- The Ring, the Witch, and the Crystal: An Ewok Adventure
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi junior novelization (Indirect mention only)