- "This place holds much power, both of the light and dark variety."
- ―Urai Fen
Dathomir was a remote, obscure and dangerous planet in the Outer Rim Territories. It was inhabited by Force-sensitive Humans known as the Witches of Dathomir, along with their evil counterparts, the Nightsisters. It was also the homeworld of the dreaded rancors. Dathomir was the site of numerous battles throughout galactic history.
Dathomir was considered a temperate and beautiful planet by Human standards, with a varied terrain that included coastal lakes and tar-pits, thick forests and snow-capped mountain peaks, powerful rivers and broad savannas, small icecaps and dramatic rift valleys. Even under the New Republic, however, nine-tenths of the planet remained unexplored and uninhabited, with the population limited to a relatively small area along the edge of one of the three main continents, a zone of uplands and river plains bordered on one side by the unsailed ocean and on the other by vast expanses of desert.
Although the two cultures most closely associated with Dathomir were the ancient spacefaring Kwa and the Human group known as the Witches of Dathomir, it should not be overlooked that the semi-sentient species at the apex of Dathomir's native food-chain was in fact the mighty rancor.
The fact that the rancors were semi-sentient often came as a surprise to unsuspecting offworlders. It is not clear whether they had made any independent progress towards basic tokens of civilization like kindled fire or shaped tools, and their social system and lifestyle were little different from those of many nonsentient animals: matriarchal herds led by herd-mothers roamed the landscape, hunting live prey for food. But they passed on their clan histories from generation to generation, and when they formed a symbiont circle with the planet's Human population in the last centuries of the Galactic Republic, they adopted basic armor and weapons. Under the New Republic, Tosh, herd-mother of the rancor group, associated with the Human Singing Mountain Clan, learned to read and write, and began to pass on this skill to the other rancors of her herd.
Dathomiri rancors were also larger than off-world specimens, with full-grown adults in the range of eight to ten meters tall. This extreme size can in part be attributed to the planet's low gravity, which allowed native trees to rise up to eighty meters tall, but it may also reflect a more general effect of the sheer vibrancy of the planet's biosphere. The temperate climate and varied terrain had given rise to a dramatically diverse ecosystem, thriving with so much life that the air almost seemed to sparkle in the Force. Other native fauna included the rancor's major prey species, the drebbin and ssurians, as well as the burra fish, the simian pack-hunting purbole and the acid-jawed, insectile shear mite.
- "Attuned to the Power of the Cosmos, my people traveled the galaxy via Infinity Gates—portals that transported us instantly between great distances. We observed many worlds and brought civilization to their people."
Dathomir was originally the homeworld of a spacefaring species, the reptilian Kwa. By 100,000 BBY, the Kwa had built an Infinity Gate—the Prime Gate in a network of similar devices, used by them as a means of interstellar travel and as superweapons. The Infinity Gate was covered by massive pyramid-shaped structures known as the Star Temples, incorporating defensive systems to protect them from intruders. If the gate was ever activated, the planet housing the equipment could be collapsed into the Gate itself, along with the surrounding planets, moons and even suns.
For reasons that are unclear, the Kwa species began to degenerate, ultimately losing the ability to speak or use technological tools. Apparently recognizing the path that their civilization was on, they sealed the Infinity Gate and the Star Temples and set guardians to protect the Temples—whuffa worms with thick hides and an impressive turn of speed. The degenerate descendants of the Kwa came to be known as the Kwi or Blue Desert People, and like the rancors they appeared to be simple herd animals living around the planet's arid Great Desert; but on occasion they still showed some surprising hints of intelligence, including a capability to create primitive tools and ornaments, and they possessed a collective memory of their former glory, and the importance of the sanctity of the Star Temples.
By 36,453 BBY, the planet was already inhabited by a few Humans, whose origin is unknown. They were organized in tribal units with shamanistic beliefs. Some of their seers were brought on Tython in a Tho Yor ship and were among the founders of the Je'daii Order.
Around 30,000 BBY, Dathomir was ruled by the space-faring Rakata. Using Force-based hyperdrives, they traveled to many worlds around the galaxy that possessed significant signatures in the Force, uniting them to form the Rakatan Infinite Empire. Of Dathomir they noted the rancor, and transferred some of them to their homeworld, Lehon, as curiosities. After five thousand years of galactic dominance, the Rakata retreated to Lehon following the outbreak of a plague.
Old Republic era
- "Your people cast them out of the sky for their crimes, and sent them here. The warriors were given no weapons, no metal, no blasters. So they fell prey to rancors. For many generations they lived like beasts, and were nearly hunted to extinction, until the star people cast out Allya."
- ―Augwynne Djo, to Luke Skywalker
Around 3000 BBY, Dathomir became an adjunct of an Outer Rim empire known as the Paecian Empire. The Paecians established a stable population on the planet. The later Human populations of Dathomir mostly derived from those Paecian settlers and the Paecian language was still spoken on Dathomir thousands years after the collapse of the Paecian Empire.
After the disappearance of the Paecian Empire, Dathomir fell under the control of the Sith who also settled the world for some times. Around 1002 BBY, during the New Sith Wars, the Brotherhood of Darkness operated a Sith academy on the world that trained Sith Acolytes and apprentices. These Sith later abandoned the planet.
During the last centuries of the Galactic Republic, the planet was used as a penal colony by the Republic. Some of its worst criminals were sent to Dathomir where they were forced to spend the rest of their life struggling against the world's hostile fauna. Without weapon or technology, they had become little more than the favorite food for the rancors who exterminated them. Later Dathomiri tradition would remember this exiled criminals as a group of creators of illegal and dangerous battle droids.
The Daughters of Allya
In 600 BBY, a rogue Jedi Knight named Allya was banished to Dathomir by the Jedi Council. She took the leadership of the survivors, teaching the ways of the Force to the exiles, and eventually to her own children. In later centuries, Allya was remembered as single-handedly transforming Dathomiri society, credited with enslaving the entire male population under her leadership, turning the rancors from predators to friends, pets, and war mounts, and codifying her teachings in the Book of Law. Some accounts even seem to suppose that she was a lone woman within an otherwise entirely male population. But in reality, these practices may have evolved over several generations, and the parallel with the matriarchal social structure of the rancors may be significant, especially given the symbiosis of the Human warrior-women and their mounts; but Allya's leadership undoubtedly laid the foundations of a unique culture, dominated by Force-using women who regarded themselves collectively as her descendants, known to outsiders as the Witches of Dathomir.
Over the centuries, the total Human population of Dathomir grew to perhaps just over five thousand, based in a relatively narrow coastal area of one of the planet's continents: even under the New Republic, more than 90% of the planet remained unexplored. The Dathomiri came to be divided into a number of reasonably permanent local clan communities, which took their names from significant geographical features such as Singing Mountain, Frenzied River, and Misty Falls. These clans, each just a few hundred strong, accounted for almost the entire planetary population, but there were also small numbers of exiles who lived outside the clan communities, including the planet's dark-siders, called Nightsisters, who at times existed in sufficient numbers to form a distinct clan. In total, the clans could probably put at least a thousand warrior-women into the field, each of them a trained Force-user and many of them riding rancor mounts.
The strength of the Dathomiri was discovered by the Jedi Order in around 340 BBY, when the Jedi academy ship Chu'unthor crashed into a tar pit on Dathomir. The Jedi Masters Yoda, Gra'aton and Vulatan then traveled to the planet but all attempts to retrieve the wreck were blocked by the natives. Centuries later, the witches still remembered, albeit in a embellished way, the day when they defeated the powerful Jedi. Sometimes later, Yoda returned to Dathomir and negotiated a peaceful settlement of this affair. One young warrior-woman, Rell, who would survive over centuries to meet Luke Skywalker in the days of the New Republic, reminisced about Yoda as an "old flirt". Nevertheless, the wreckage of the Chu'unthor remained on the planet. Following this incident, the Jedi Council interdicted access to the planet.
Generations prior to the Clone Wars, a small group of Iridonian Zabraks originating from Rattatak, where their ancestors had crashed in a starcruiser, were brought to Dathomir during pirate raids. When the Human Nightsisters discovered that they could interbreed with Zabraks, they isolated them to a small part of the planet where they could draw from them at whim. The Nightsisters also sold some Zabraks and Zabrak-Human hybrids (and even some of their own) to the Rattataki. Prior to the reign of Talzin, Nightsisters were known to utilize various male castaways for slave labor; Talzin restricted the use of males to the Zabrak Nightbrothers.
- "You presume to assault us on our home planet? You will pay for your arrogance!"
- ―Nightsister to two Jedi sent to Dathomir
Darth Sidious visited Dathomir in 54 BBY and was approached by the Nightsister Kycina, who begged him to take away her infant son from the life of a Nightbrother. Sidious agreed, taking in the Zabrak who would soon become his apprentice, the fearsome Darth Maul.
In 31 BBY, many Kwi were decimated by a clan of Nightsisters during their attempt to access the secrets of the Infinity Gate. Zalem, styling herself as the Queen of the Nightsisters, intended to use the device to destroy Coruscant. Their plot was thwarted by the Jedi Quinlan Vos, who was able to make contact with the Kwa, and assumed the role of Temple Guardian, to redirect the deadly Infinity Wave aimed at Coruscant back at the Infinity Gate. Only the scattered ruins of the Infinity Gate and the Star Temple were left, and the Kwi disappeared once more to roam the deserts. As Coruscant was almost destroyed by the Kwa superweapon, the Jedi later deleted all references to Dathomir from all available records.
During the Clone Wars, around 21 BBY, General Grievous led an attack on the Nightsisters, in retaliation for the betrayal of Asajj Ventress and Mother Talzin. This assault led to the extermination of almost every Dathomirian Nightsister, and thus resulting in the original Human Nightsisters eventually returning to prominence on Dathomir.
In the waning hours of the Clone Wars the planet would be successfully invaded once again by a Separatist contingent led by Darth Sidious himself along with the cyborg General Grievous. They were on a mission to destroy Mother Talzin once and for all, who had taken possession of Dooku's body after being captured by Darth Maul. Upon Mother Talzin's death at the hands of Grievous, the planet was taken over by the Confederacy of Independent Systems presumably until the end of the galactic conflict.
Prior to the Galactic Civil War, Dathomir was conquered by Drackmarian warlords. However, this planet held little real interest for these methane-breathing aliens. Prior to the rise of the Galactic Empire, Dathomir was owned by the female Drackmarian warlord Omogg .
Galactic Civil War
- "The planet's name is Dathomir. It seems the planet holds many Force users of great power. However, the Emperor found it first - he's blockaded the planet and placed a nightcloak generator system in orbit."
- ―Urai Fen
After the Great Jedi Purge, the fabled village of Aurilia was believed to be located somewhere on Dathomir, and it was rumored that Force-sensitive individuals, perhaps even Jedi, lived here in exile during the reign of the Galactic Empire.
Also around the time of the Battle of Yavin, the Galactic Empire established a garrison on the Dathomir, with the objective to reestablish the old penal colony. While Emperor Palpatine was aware of the presence of the witches, he allowed the construction of a prison on the planet. Imperial troops initially encountered no resistance from the Witches, and focused their efforts in hunting the remaining Kwi to near-extinction.
Shortly after the Imperials arrived, an exile from the Singing Mountain Clan named Gethzerion and her clan of Nightsisters approached the Imperial commander and offered their services to control prisoners. Although the commander was suspicious about her true intentions, he accepted the offer. Gethzerion and her dark minions thus became a familiar sight in the Imperial compound. Using the dark side of the Force, the Nightsisters ssoon began to corrupt the Imperial troops and progressively usurped control of the prison. When the Empire discovered the situation, Gethzerion and the Nightsisters turned Imperial troops against their officers. A battle therefore erupted on Dathomir between loyal Imperial forces and the Nightsisters backed by their Imperial slaves. Eventually, the Nightsisters were defeated and repelled from the prison.
When Palpatine realized the threat Gethzerion and the Nightsisters posed in the Force, he quickly placed the planet under strict interdiction. Shortly after the Battle of Yavin, Captain Zsinj bombarded the Imperial prison from orbit, destroying every vessels parked there to prevent the Nightsisters to leave Dathomir. Imperial ships were stationed in the system to prevent further contact with the surface and to perform orbital scans periodically to ensure that the Nightsisters were still confined, with strict orders to never land on the planet. The Emperor ordered that at least two Star Destroyers guarded the planet at all times. Additionally, orbital nightcloaks were deployed in orbit. The prison and all Imperial forces at the surface were abandoned. These troops continued to fight the Nightsisters for years, but Gethzerion and her clan eventually enslaved the stranded Imperial garrison. For his role in the containment of Dathomir, Captain Zsinj was promoted to admiral by the Emperor and was given command of the new Super Star Destroyer Iron Fist. In the next years, Zsinj became Grand Moff of the Quelii Oversector and continued to oversee the blockade of Dathomir. Commanding the largest fleet of the Empire, Zsinj later defeated the Drackmarians..
Despite the presence of the Imperial blockade, the Dathomir system attracted a great deal of attention at the height of the Galactic Civil War, being the site of numerous skirmishes between Imperial and Rebel forces. By 1 ABY, the blockade had been quite loosened, being focused in one quadrant of Dathomir space. Intrepid spacers frequently managed to lure the Imperial Dathomir Station and get through the blockade to land at one of the two outposts present on Dathomir: the Trade Outpost and the Science Outpost. One year after the Battle of Yavin, the Dark Jedi Mellichae discovered the secret village of Aurilia but his Sith Shadows minions were defeated in battle by a group of Force-sensitive spacers.
In addition, the Empire had established on the planet a secret Imperial Research and Prison Facility where scientists studied the dangerous Blackwing Virus. In 1 ABY, an outbreak of the Blackwing Virus happened following an accident in the Imperial Research and Prison Facility. A large area of land was quarantined by Imperial troops and was directly supervised by Darth Vader. Groups of spacers where eventually permitted entrance, and did several quest to keep people safe and defeat zombies. During this period, a group of mercenaries known as the Witchblood Clan was active in Dathomir space. They usually attacked both Rebels and Imperials indiscriminately.
Around this time, Tyber Zann and Urai Fen of the Zann Consortium arrived on the planet, seeking one who could unlock a Sith holocron in Tyber's possession. They found an imprisoned Nightsister, Silri, capable of doing so, and freed her, from an Imperial prison. After helping her to kill the Imperial governor of Dathomir, Tyber Zann recruited Silri and a group of Nightsisters to his service.
After the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY Zsinj refused to recognize the authority of the Imperial Ruling Council and declared himself a Warlord, quickly coming to rival the power of both the legitimist Imperial authorities and the rising New Republic. Dathomir became key to his plans with the discovery of vast loads of the key shipbuilding metals of neutronium, lommite, and zersium on the moon Koratas, and Zsinj had the Rancor Base shipyard built in orbit of the planet to exploit the world's resources. All Zsinj's shipbuilding facilities were moved to the Dathomir system that became his secretly headquarters.
A few years after the Battle of Endor, General Han Solo was commanding the New Republic campaign against Imperial Warlord Zsinj. In the meantime, the Drackmarians discovered that Zsinj's base was located above Dathomir. They then elaborated a subtle move to attract the New Republic to Dathomir. Hence, Han Solo won the deed to Dathomir from Drackmarian Warlord Omogg in a game of sabacc in 8 ABY, unaware that the planet was in fact controlled by Zsinj. Han's kidnapping of Leia Organa to the planet led to a chain of events that changed Dathomir forever. Luke Skywalker and Prince Isolder, the heir of the Hapes Consortium, followed Solo and Organa to Dathomir and encountered the witches of the Singing Mountain Clan but also Gethzerion and her Nightsisters. The following battle resulted in the destruction of the Nightsisters and Zsinj's Empire. A large Hapan fleet sent by Ta'a Chume, the Queen Mother of the Hapes Consortium suddenly attacked Zsinj's fleet, destroying most of the fleet, including the Iron Fist, as well as Rancor Base and the orbital nightcloaks. Both Zsinj and Gethzerion were killed in the battle. The Imperial blockade was definitively broken as all remaining Imperial forces quickly fled the system. The prisoners of the Imperial prison, mostly political prisoners, were also liberated.
After the death of Zsinj, Han Solo gave over his claim to the planet to Augwynne Djo, matriarch of the Singing Mountain Clan. The woman was soon able to unite Dathomiri clans and requested membership into the New Republic. Augwynne's new title as planetary leader of Dathomir was little more than a constitutional formality bit it also ennobled her granddaughter Teneniel Djo, and enabled her to marry Isolder, with whom she had fallen in love. Free from the tyranny of the Empire, the planet was later integrated into the New Republic. Moreover, the Dathomiri witch Teneniel Djo became the queen of the Hapes Consortium after her wedding, thereby becoming the leader of a rich and powerful interstellar government ruling 63 inhabited worlds.
In 12 ABY, the forces of the Imperial Remnant returned to Dathomir, in the form of an expedition searching for the Infinity Gate, led by Sigit Ranth and General Vit. The Imperials overpowered the small New Republic embassy on the planet, and struck an alliance with a group of Dathomiri who styled themselves as a reborn clan of Nightsisters. Although Ranth soon departed the world when he discovered that the Infinity Gate was inoperable, General Vit and his garrison remained, tasked with imposing Imperial authority on Dathomir in alliance with the Nightsisters, investigating the Jedi artifacts on the Chu'unthor, and recruiting the planet's Force-sensitive warriors for the service of the Empire. Over the next months, Vit and his men reconditioned the old Imperial prison facility, and began rounding up the hostile Dathomiri and incarcerating them. Soon, the Singing Mountain Clan had been imprisoned in the camp, and prison columns from the defeated Dreaming River Clan were being marched under guard to join them. At this point, a miscellaneous group of heroes and rogues arrived on the planet, including renegade special forces officer and Jedi Praxeum trainee Dal Konur, as well as Imperial Royal Guard Kir Kanos. Working together with the Dathomiri resistance, they succeeded in ousting Vit and the Imperials; but neither the Empire nor the Nightsisters had been permanently destroyed.
In 19 ABY, the Dark Jedi Brakiss arrived on Dathomir. A Force-sensitive Imperial Intelligence agent working with the faction known as the Second Imperium, he infiltrated the Great Canyon Clan and transformed them into a new group of Nightsisters, to serve as a recruiting pool for the Shadow Academy. Brakiss also engineered a social revolution, so that the new Nightsisters came to treat males as equals—adding escaped slaves from the other clans to their ranks. By 23 ABY, some Great Canyon Clan warriors, like Captain Garowyn, had already undergone thorough training at the Shadow Academy, and received commissions in the Imperial military. Later that year, however, Tenel Ka and Luke Skywalker infiltrated the Great Canyon and from there were able to reach the Shadow Academy. The clan's strength would be subsequently slashed by their defeat in the Second Imperium's attack on Yavin 4.
- "There's no world better suited to be the home of this new Sith Order than Dathomir."
- ―Luke Skywalker, to Ben Skywalker
During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Dathomir was an obvious target for the extra-galactic invaders in their crusade against the Jedi and other Force Adepts. As the planet lacked technology and planetary defenses, it was easily invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong. However, the invaders soon realized that the native Witches of Dathomir were going to be harder to subdue. Despite long months of fighting, Dathomir was never fully conquered. Unable to defeat the Witches through conventional ground assaults, the Yuuzhan Vong renounced to their objective to control the planet and eventually left the star system.
After the war's end, Jedi Master Streen, with the help of Dathomiri Jedi Kirana Ti, did a great deal of work on the ravaged Dathomir and founded a Praxeum in order to train the local witches as Jedi.
In the following years, Jacen Solo came to the planet and trained in the arts of the indigenous witches. Later, in 43 ABY, just prior to the Lost Tribe of Sith emergence, Luke Skywalker and his son Ben tracked Vestara Khai to the planet and were rejoined by Han, Leia, and Allana Solo. The Jedi became involved in some affairs on the world, including a resurgent clan of Nightsisters and a proposed Sith-Nightsister alliance.
Behind the scenes
The PC game Star Wars: Rebellion places Dathomir in the "Quelli sector", a misspelling of the true Quelii Sector.
According to Cracken's Threat Dossier, Dathomir was admitted to the Hapan worlds, this despite the significant distance separating the two.
A character in Star Wars Galaxies stated that Dathomir was located in the Quelii system, but with the release of Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed, the system you travel to when traveling to Dathomir is called the Dathomir system. The game still presents these two conflicting pieces of information.
Notes and references
- Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds
- The Essential Atlas
- Cracken's Threat Dossier
- The Courtship of Princess Leia
- Fate of the Jedi: Backlash
- Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Massacre"
- The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nightsisters"
- Star Wars: Republic: Infinity's End
- Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures
- Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- The New Jedi Order: Dark Journey
- Young Jedi Knights: Shards of Alderaan
- "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Nightsisters but Were Afraid to Ask" – Star Wars Insider 122
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- Darth Plagueis
- Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan 3
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 139
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 1
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided—Herald NPC: "a commoner" on Dathomir
- "Who's Who in Star Wars Galaxies" – Star Wars Insider 65
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- According to its opening crawl, Star Wars Galaxies was set sometime after Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. The only precise time indication in the game was given by the character Ruwan Tokai, who referenced the destruction of the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin as occurring one year earlier, placing the game sometime around 1 ABY. Later, multiple elements confirmed the placement of the game storyline in 1 ABY. First, The Essential Reader's Companion established that the tie-in novel Star Wars Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine took place in 1 ABY. Furthermore, the game expansion Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees was set during the Blockade of Kashyyyk, one year after the Battle of Yavin according to The Star Wars Holiday Special. Additionally, the main scenario of The Nightsister's Revenge from the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game was set over a year before the Battle of Hoth (3 ABY), so around 1.5 ABY. Finally, the reference book Strongholds of Resistance placed the events of Star Wars Galaxies's Chapter 9: "The Fury of Exar Kun" one year after the Battle of Yavin. Of note, Galaxies's Chapter 11: "The Battle of Echo Base" introduced the Battle of Hoth in the game. However, the developers were quite clear that this was only intended to be a completely isolated "Star Wars Moment" without any effect on continuity for the rest of of the game.
- Star Wars Galaxies: The Complete Online Adventures—Game Update 14: Death Troopers
- The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force
- Young Jedi Knights: Shadow Academy
- Young Jedi Knights: Jedi Under Siege