- "I knew you would come. I dreamed it."
- ―Dhara Leonis, to her brother, Zare
Dhara Leonis was a Force-sensitive human female Imperial cadet at the Academy for Young Imperials on the planet Lothal approximately fourteen years after the rise of the Galactic Empire. She disappeared during her time at the academy. The Empire claimed that she ran away, but her brother, Zare Leonis, did not believe the Empire's story. He became a cadet at the Imperial Academy to investigate his sister's disappearance.
Dhara was identified as a Force-sensitive and abducted by the Grand Inquisitor as part of an Imperial project codenamed Project Harvester. Zare Leonis was later transferred to the officers' academy on Arkanis, where his sister was being kept. His efforts were nearly in vain when he was revealed as a traitor to the Empire and scheduled to be executed. However, with the help of his friend Beck Ollet, his girlfriend Merei Spanjaf, his parents and those of Spanjaf, and a bold group of rebels known to some as "the Spectres," he escaped and pulled off a daring rescue. The entire group then took refuge in Garel City, Garel.
Dhara Leonis was the daughter of Leo and Tepha Leonis, two agricultural scientists who worked for the Imperial Ministry of Agriculture. She was one year older than her younger brother Zare Leonis, a grav-ball player. Both Dhara and Zare were raised from young by the family's nanny droid Auntie Nags. Since their parents' work involved moving between different places, Dhara and Zare spent much of their childhood traveling through the galaxy. Some of the worlds that she and her family had lived on in the past included Hosk Station, Moorja, and Viamarr. Dhara had a warm and friendly relationship with her younger brother. According to Zare, she always beat him when playing the game of "find and seek."
Moving to Lothal
- "...Teamwork, leadership, strategy, discipline—that's what we're taught here every day."
- ―Dhara describing her experience at the Lothal Imperial Academy
About fourteen years after the rise of the Galactic Empire, Dhara and her family moved to the planet Lothal, a hitherto sleepy Outer Rim world that was undergoing substantial industrial development under Imperial rule. Since she was fifteen years old, Dhara enrolled at Lothal's Academy for Young Imperials while her family settled down at an apartment in Lothal's Capital City. Since her brother Zare was a year younger, he had to attend the Junior Academy of Applied Sciences. To celebrate Dhara's acceptance to the Imperial Academy, her family hosted a farewell dinner at their Capital City apartment that was attended by several prominent local Imperial officials including Assistant Vice Minister Sarkos, Lieutenant Piers Roddance, and Governor Arihnda Pryce.
During the farewell dinner, her father Leo gave a speech extolling the Empire's progress and offering his daughter into the Empire's service. Dhara also introduced one of her new Imperial Academy classmates, Ames Bunkle, to Governor Pryce. Prior to departing, Dhara had a quick conversation with her brother. She confided that she was going to miss him. She also promised to talk regularly with him and update him about Academy life once orientation had ended. She also assured Zare that he would succeed at his new school and urge him to do well in his studies. Following Governor Pryce's speech, Dhara left for the Imperial Academy.
A month later, Zare and her parents visited her during the Academy's Visiting Day. After singing the Imperial anthem and listening to a speech by Commandant Cumberlayne Aresko, Dhara joined her family at a table in a large amphitheater. After exchanging jokes with Zare, she informed her family that she had been selected for the Imperial officers' training program. While her father Leo expressed pride that his daughter would have the opportunity to lead stormtroopers into battle, her mother Tepha was worried that her daughter would be sent to the battlefield.
During their meeting, Dhara and her family talked about her brother Zare's "unhappy adventure" at Beck Ollet's former orchard in the Westhills. Tepha reported that one of her colleagues in the Ag Ministry had mistakenly filed the land for mineral extraction. Meanwhile, Leo defended the land reclassification on the grounds that Lothal was too far from the trade routes to sustain a viable jogan fruit trade and contended that Ollet's former orchard would be more profitable as a mine. This conversation revealed the growing tension between her pro-Imperial father and her more liberal mother and brother. When Dhara asked about the family's nanny droid Auntie Nags, Zare chuckled that she was unhappy about his involvement in grav-ball; which the droid regarded as a dangerous and dirty sports.
- "Let me see. "I, Dhara Leonis, of Capital City, Lothal, do hereby certify that Zare Leonis is personally known to me and of good moral character." Well, I suppose that's true if you don't count a history of stealing sweet-sand cookies and sassing poor Auntie Nags..."
- ―Dhara joking with her younger brother Zare while verifying his Academy application form
During that year's winter break, Dhara returned to visit her family for the holidays. By that stage, Zare was growing more disillusioned with the Empire's policies towards Lothal. Her brother was unhappy that the Empire was turning good farmland and orchards into mineral mines. Zare was also at odds with his athletic director Janus Fhurek, a bigoted Imperial loyalist who disliked aliens. While her mother Tepha was growing concerned about the Empire's heavy-handed policies, her father Leo continued to defend the Empire's policies as a preliminary to progress.
Dhara returned home in time to attend Zare's fifteenth birthday celebration. Having turned fifteen, Zare was eligible to enroll at the Academy for Young Imperials and was preparing his enrollment application. After their parents had viewed Zare's application, Dhara certified that her brother was of good moral character. She joked that Zare had a history of stealing cookies and annoying their nanny droid, but certified that Zare had no history of insurrection, rebellion, or aiding the Empire's enemies. As a result, Zare was able to transmit his enrollment application to the Imperial Academy.
Later, Dhara and Zare had a private conversation in her bedroom. Zare noted that her bed was immaculately made; a trade which Dhara attributed to her highly-regimented academy training. At Dhara's prompting, Zare related his grievances with the Empire; namely the destruction of his friend Ollet's orchards and his problems with Fhurek. Sensing her younger brother's despondence and disillusionment, Dhara tried to convince Zare to think about the "bigger picture." She rationalized that Ollet's orchards was a small loss compared to the potential wealth and development that would come from Imperial mining projects. She also conceded that the Empire's civil servants did made mistakes but argued that these did not make the Empire bad. Dhara also advised her brother Zare not to get on the wrong side of the Empire and reiterated her familial love for him.
- "Of course not. Dhara wanted to serve the Empire since she was a little girl. She was your star cadet, Commandant [Cumberlayne Aresko]. She'd never do this. Never."
"She certainly wouldn't do it without letting us know."
- ―Leo and Tepha reacting to their daughter's "disappearance"
By the time of Lothal's spring season, Dhara had advanced in her officer training at the Academy for Young Imperials. With a green status, she applied for an internship program at the Imperial Headquarters in Capital City. Dhara also participated in an Imperial military training exercise in Lothal's Easthills and was incommunicado with her family for more than a week. After a week had elapsed, her family received word from Commandant Aresko that she had allegedly run away during her training exercise. This news was a shock to her family who knew that Dhara was a loyal and committed Imperial citizen. The Imperial authorities placed a planet-wide alert for her but despite their efforts, she was not found.
Her brother Zare suspected that the Empire was not telling the truth and concocted a plan to infiltrate the Academy for Young Imperials in order to discover the truth behind Dhara's disappearance. Zare was tacitly supported by their mother Tepha, who promised to keep this plan a secret from their pro-Imperial father Leo. With the help of his hacker girlfriend Merei Spanjaf, Zare learnt that his sister had been forcibly dragooned by the Grand Inquisitor into a secret Imperial project called Project Harvester, which aimed to identify Force-sensitive individuals to train as Inquisitors, secret agents of the Empire tasked with hunting down Jedi survivors of the Purge. Project Harvester was run from a secret installation on the planet Arkanis that was connected to the Imperial Academy there.
Zare and Merei shared this information with Tepha but kept it a secret from Leo, who believed that the Empire was doing everything it could to find his daughter. While Zare desired to rescue his sister, his mother Tepha feared that she would lose both her children. Later, Zare was transferred to the Arkanis Academy at the middle of the year under the pretext of rewarding his loyalty to the Empire. However, this was part of a plan by the Grand Inquisitor to uncover Zare's connection to a local rebel cell.
- "It really is you, Zare. I'm so tired but I don't want to sleep. I'm afraid I'll wake up and this will all have been another dream."
"It isn't. I'm real, and you're safe. Now go to sleep. When you wake up I'll be here and Mom and Dad will be waiting."
- ―Dhara and Zare, while escaping from Arkanis
During her time in captivity, Dhara was imprisoned in a cell in Area Null, a tower at the Arkanis Academy that the Empire used for several classified operations. She was detained in Cell Seventeen and kept isolated from her family for several months. As a result of her long captivity, Dhara became delusional and initially thought that her brother Zare was an illusion created by the Grand Inquisitor. Her brother Zare had infiltrated the Arkanis Academy as a Cadet in the hope of rescuing her. However, he was exposed as a traitor and scheduled for execution. With the help of his former classmates Beck Ollet, Merei Spanjaf, and a rebel group known as the Spectres, Zare managed to escape his cell and penetrate Area Null.
While Dhara initially mistook her brother for an illusion, Zare managed to convince her that he was real. Zare also told her that the Inquisitor, her former tormentor, was dead and that their parents were waiting to see them. As a result, Zare won her trust and led her out of the cell. Upon exiting the cell, Zare's companions Beck and Merei reported that several stormtroopers were pursuing them. While fleeing past the control room, Beck sacrificed his life to allow his companions to escape by charging at the Imperials with a thermal detonator. The ensuing explosion buried Beck and the stormtroopers under a great pile of stone chunks and jagged metal rubble.
Shortly thereafter, the doors of an auxiliary elevator opened and an Imperial military officer named Lieutenant Chiron stepped out with four stormtroopers. Chiron attempted to force Zare and his companions to surrender. Zare responded by trying to reason with his former mentor and revealed that the Empire had kidnapped his sister Dhara. Despite being confronted by evidence of the Empire's wrongdoing, Chiron was still loyal to the Imperial cause but vowed to investigate the matter. Before anyone could react, Dhara used the Force to summon chunks of rock and metal down on Chiron and his stormtroopers, killing them. This exertion weakened her, and Zare had to lead her into the elevator. Upon reaching the roof, they were picked up by the Spectres' modified freighter, the Ghost.
After the Ghost had entered hyperspace, Zare and Merei led Dhara to a bunk aboard the ship. She lay down without speaking and stared at the bunk above her. While alone with Zare, she told him that, in a dream, she had foreseen through the Force that he, Merei, and Beck would come to rescue her. She also recalled seeing Chiron and his stormtroopers but could not remember what had transpired next. Knowing that she had killed Chiron and his men, Zare calmly assured her that everything was all right and told her to get some rest. He also promised her that their parents would be waiting for them when she woke up. Upon arriving on Garel, Dhara embraced both her parents and told them not to let her go.
Personality and traits
- "Look, Zare. The Empire isn't a machine. It's made up of people. Most of the ones I've met are pretty great—they want to make the galaxy a better place. But a few of them aren't so great. They make mistakes—bad ones, sometimes, like what happened to your friend's [Beck Ollet] old farm. And some of them are bullies, or worse—like your athletic director. They're the kind of people who give the Empire a bad name. The way I see it, it's up to the rest of us to find them and stop them from doing more harm."
- ―Dhara's early views of the Empire prior to her kidnapping
Dhara Leonis was a beautiful and intelligent young woman who excelled in her training at the Lothal Imperial Academy. Due to her leadership skills, Dhara was recruited into the Academy's officer training program. Growing up under the Empire, Dhara believed that the Empire was a force for good in the galaxy. While she acknowledged that the Empire made mistakes, she still believed that the Empire had the interests of its people in mind. Despite being more talented than her younger brother Zare, they still had a strong familial bond and looked out for each other.
Prior to her kidnapping, Dhara was both ambitious and sincere in her desire to serve the Empire and was considered Commandant Aresko's top cadet.
Powers and abilities
As a Force-sensitive individual, Dhara Leonis had the ability to sense the presence of other people. She was also able to read the thoughts of other people. While her Force powers gave her an edge over the other cadets, this caught the attention of the Academy's authorities, who informed the Grand Inquisitor. Despite receiving no training in the Force, Dhara was still able to summon chunks of rocks and metal on a group of Imperials that had cornered her and her rescuers on Arkanis. While doing so, she shrieked in rage and pain, her eyes seen as "burning like fire," indicating potential use of the dark side of the Force. She could also experience Force visions.
Behind the scenes
Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire series author Jason Fry described Dhara Leonis's use of the Force in Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy as a "dark-side tantrum," stating that he deliberately left the character of Kanan Jarrus out of her rescue, as he would have sensed her use of the dark side and started asking questions.
- Servants of the Empire: Edge of the Galaxy (First appearance)
- Star Wars Rebels – "Breaking Ranks" (Mentioned only)
- Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks (Mentioned only)
- Servants of the Empire: Imperial Justice (Mentioned only)
- Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide (First mentioned)
- Star Wars Rebels: Head to Head (Indirect mention only)
- "Blaster" – Star Wars Insider 154 (Indirect mention only)
- Who Are the Rebels?
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles
- (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 36 (Databank A-Z: Cut Lawquane–Lothal)
- Dawn of Rebellion
- Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition
- The Star Wars Book