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"You both shall learn. When you face one Nightsister of Dathomir...you face us all!"
Merrin, to Taron Malicos and Cal Kestis[10]

The Nightsisters, also known as the Witches of Dathomir or Daughters of Dathomir, were a clan and order of magick-wielding female Dathomirians who lived on Dathomir, a planet bathed in dark energies. These Dark side users were able to perform their arcane magicks by tapping into the magical ichor that flowed from the depths of their planet.


According to a commonly told story, the first Nightsisters were trained in the ways of the Force by Allya, a female Jedi whom the Jedi Council had sent into exile on the mysterious planet of Dathomir. However, the Jedi Council had no records of an exile named Allya, and the Nightsisters themselves had other, contradicting tales about their origins. Even if she was not the founder of the sisters,[5] Allya also wrote the Book of Law that taught the sisters to dislike the Jedi.[6]

When the Fromprath[11] came to Dathomir, they exploited the natural resources of the planet. The Nightsisters opposed this technological invasion, forming a symbiotic alliance with the rancors, in order to drive out the colonizers. They mounted them in combat and succeeded in driving the colonizers out of the soil of Dathomir.[12] Knowing that technologically advanced aliens posed a threat to coven, the Nightsisters modernized some of their weapons, such as their energy bows.[12]

According to legend, the Nightsister Zeldin went after the Sith Darth Caldoth, after he stole a burial pod from Dathomir. Zeldin attempted to manipulate Caldoth into causing his own death out of revenge, but Caldoth was aware of Zeldin's presence, exploiting their connection before trapping her consciousness within his mind.[13] Though a weapon used more commonly by Jedi, the Nightsisters had adopted lightwhips by the High Republic Era.[14]

A period took place known as the Golden Age of the Nightsisters. The clan flourished and the separate Nightsister clans lived in harmony. However, the era nearly came to an end as the clans drifted apart. However, the iron will of new Clan Mother Talzin kept the clans together.[15] Since their power was at its most potent on their home planet, the Nightsisters rarely ventured off-world during the height of the Galactic Republic. However, this changed under Mother Talzin. During this time, Talzin worked alongside the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious.[16] Talzin became wary of her machinations knowing there could only be two powerful dark side factions at one time due to the Rule of Two.[12] Sidious ultimately betrayed Talzin and took her son Maul from her.[16] At the time of the Clone Wars, Talzin began to sell her sisters' services as mercenaries to the galaxy's wealthy citizens.[17]

In 232 BBY,[18] Jedi Padawan Imri Cantaros thought about how the Nightsisters had less rules than the Jedi and their creative, more destructive values.[14]

Asajj Ventress returns home.

In 50 BBY,[19] the clan was forced to give up the young Asajj Ventress to the Siniteen criminal Hal'Sted as insurance for protection.[7]

A couple years before the Clone Wars, Talzin came to tell the witch of no clan Falta to give up her daughter, Yenna. After Falta declined, Yenna slowly became frustrated with her mother's teachings, and one day left to join the Nightsisters in hopes of different teaching.[20] The Nightsisters became embroiled in Arzo Suun's attempt to steal from a Nightbrother village.[5]

Decimation of the Nightsisters[]

The Battle of Dathomir resulted in the decimation of the Nightsisters clan.

Ventress later returned to her people after being betrayed by Count Dooku, seeking their help for revenge against her former master.[7] After the failure of their first attempt, the Nightsisters used the Nightbrother, Savage Opress, as an instrument to destroy Dooku.They used their magic to increase his size, rage, and power.[21] However, their scheme would earn them the ire of Dooku, who would later dispatch General Grievous to Dathomir in retaliation. Grievous then destroyed their fortress and killed off the majority of the Nightsisters during the battle, with Ventress, Talzin,[2] Merrin,[10] Yenna,[20] Jerserra,[4] and Shelish being the few survivors.[8]

While Ventress pursued a path as a bounty hunter,[22] Mother Talzin continued to live in seclusion in the Nightsisters' ruined fortress, where she helped heal the broken body and mind of her son, Darth Maul.[23] She orchestrated the kidnapping of Bardottan Queen Julia to make her more powerful than the Jedi and the Sith. However, she failed when Jedi Master Mace Windu and Representative Jar Jar Binks foiled her plans and she disappeared.[24] Maul and Talzin conspired to eliminate Darth Sidious and Dooku, but Talzin was killed in the eventual confrontation.[25] Meanwhile, Ventress joined Quinlan Vos in one final assassination attempt against Dooku, but was killed by the Count while protecting Vos, her newfound lover.[26]


"I've spent years…of waiting for a chance to avenge my sisters. I'm finished waiting. I wish to fight by your side. Nightsisters and Jedi do not travel together but…survivors. We adapt."
―Merrin, to Cal Kestis[10]

Survivors such as Merrin were among the last of the Nightsisters.

Following the end of the Clone Wars, the Nightsisters' massacre at the hands of Grievous and Dooku became known, with very few Nightsisters remaining, like Merrin. However, as the Nightbrothers weren't wiped out. Merrin would take them as her servants and they took control of Dathomir during the age of the Galactic Empire.[10]

Although Grievous's attack was regarded as the end of the Nightsisters,[26][27] there existed clans of Force users on Dathomir by the time of the Imperial Era who continued to use the name, such as the sect known as the Nardithi Nightsisters. These groups remained a concern for Sidious, who ordered a small garrison of the Imperial Military to report if any tried to make it off world. At some point, a female Inquisitor found Jerserra, a member of the Nardithi Nightsisters, and took her as an apprentice. However, years later, Jerserra betrayed her master, covered up her death, and took her double-bladed spinning lightsaber.[4]

In 14 BBY,[28] Merrin joined the crew of the Stinger Mantis.[10]

Around 2 BBY,[29] two spirits of the Nightsisters were summoned by Maul and Ezra Bridger in order to break their Force-bond. However, the spirits demanded their flesh and blood as payment. The Nightsister spirits attacked and possessed Kanan Jarrus and Sabine Wren. Together they fought Maul and Bridger. Maul abandoned the fight, but Bridger continued fighting. Bridger spoke with the Nightsister that possessed Kanan. The Nightsister told Bridger that Maul promised flesh and blood to rebuild the Nightsister clan. However, Bridger was able to destroy the source of the Nightsisters' powers, the altar, and the spirits disappeared.[27]

By the Galactic Civil War, Shelish was among the sole known surviving Nightsisters. During the lockdown of the Anoat sector[8] between 4 and 5 ABY,[30] she taught the ways of the Force to a smuggler from Burnin Konn who ultimately emerged as the leader of the Uprising.[8]

Religion and philosophy[]

"Nightsisters know the dark side better than anyone. We grow up steeped in it, but we can use it as a tool and stay ourselves—unlike the Sith. That balance is what you must learn."
Asajj Ventress to Quinlan Vos[26]

Dathomir, a planet bathed in "magick"

By tapping into the magical ichor that flowed from Dathomir's depths, the witches could harness a power[31] they referred to as "magick."[32] The most powerful of the Nightsisters could use that ichor to create objects out of thin air,[21] transform people into ghostly versions of their true forms,[7] or even reanimate the dead.[2] They were also known to domesticate benign rancors.[33]

Although their powers resided in the dark side of the force, the Nightsisters' study differed from the power hungry ambitions of the Sith[12] or the seeking of knowledge of the Jedi Order and as such, did not hold either's goal in high regard. They viewed everything such as animals, weapons like the energy bows, and even the Nightbrothers as tools to ensure their clan's ultimate survival and would bend or discard such tools without remorse, pity, and regret. Due to this mindset, they could avoid the passions and rage that swayed those in the Sith while wielding powers that the Jedi feared tapping into.[5]

Some Nightsisters believed in the Winged Goddess, a deity of life, fertility, and divination, while some others believed in the Fanged God, a deity of death and the hunt. The Nightsisters did not celebrate death, but did not fear it and saw it as a part of life, with the divide being a veil that they would all eventually pass through.[5]

The Nightsisters used spells once intended to help plants and animals thrive, to create incantations of dark magic that gave supernatural strength to their best warriors, imbuing them with ichor.[12]

Society and culture[]

"I believe the old alliance can again be what it once was. You would only have to pledge your clan's allegiance to the Separatists' cause. We could certainly use the powers of the Nightsisters against the Jedi."
"Such a generous offer, Count. But our loyalty is reserved for only each other."
―Count Dooku and Mother Talzin[21]

A member of the Nightsisters

Several studies indicated that the Nightsisters were a peaceful tribe who lived in harmony with their planet, however this was not true.[12] The Nightsisters of Dathomir lived in the seclusion of a stone fortress that bordered dense swamplands.[31] A matriarchal society, the coven of sisters lived apart from the men of Dathomir, the Nightbrothers, whose only use was to serve the sisters as servants and breeders.[32] Nightsisters were known to have less rules than Jedi.[14]

The Nightsisters mummified their dead before placing them in pods of animal skin decorated with tassels, which were hung on structures made of branches, bones, animal skins and shells. Their graveyards mimicked the configuration of the plant life seen on Dathomir, with its crooked trees burdened by large, cocoon-like fruits.[34]

Nightsister funerals[]

Before placing dead Nightsisters in burial pods, Nightsisters went through many steps to prepare a funeral. When using cloth for burial pods, the cloth was washed in magickal water. Then, the cloth was hand-braided together while Nightsisters recited a spell of protection. Finally, the bodies were cleansed with fragrant oils and placed in the newly created burial pod[10] and mummified.[34][5]

Skills and training[]

Considered formidable force-wielders, the Nightsisters are known to wield different powers compared to other force wielders derived from incantations and spells. While rumors persisted about them being powerful, only strong leaders within the Nightsisters had power that could contend with fully trained Jedi Masters or Sith Lords.[5]

As young initiates, Nightsister witches undergo training as children to master their power over magick.[10] Young women aspiring to join the ranks of the Nightsisters first had to use the Dark side to subdue a powerful, strong-willed creature living in the depths of the pools in the village known as the Sleeper, and bring back a part of its body. The harvested remains would then be converted into the Water of Life, a major component of Nightsister magicks. Any initiate who gave into their fear, such as Talia's twin sister, would be dragged down into the depths and killed.[26] An important component of training was that a Nightsister had to master their power without losing control and giving into the dark side completely.[10]

Years before they were wiped out, the Nightsisters practiced their magick inside the Witches Horn, a cliff high above the cave of the chirodactyl Gorgara. A Nightsister there made potions and elixirs. Some were medicine, while others were poisons.[10]

Behind the scenes[]

Nightsister concept art for Jedi Alliance

The Nightsisters were created by Dave Wolverton, and first appeared in his Star Wars Legends 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia.[35] In Legends, they are depicted as a splinter faction of the native Witches of Dathomir; descendants of the fallen Jedi Allya and appeared in multiple Legends works. Wolverton himself noted in an interview that he sought to create a set of powerful female figures in the Star Wars universe that had been dominated by men at the time, and expressed delight that the concept was picked up by George Lucas for his backstory of Darth Maul.[36]

George Lucas later decided to integrate them in his TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars after he saw Lucasfilm Animation Singapore's use of the Nightsisters in the video game Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance (2008), and how they were inspired by a concept art by Iain McCaig for The Phantom Menace. They were first introduced in the current canon with the twelfth episode of the third season, "Nightsisters," aired on January 7, 2011.[37]

Tricia Barr, author of the 2018 reference book Star Wars: The Dark Side, extrapolated from source material that the Nightsisters had enough magick and technology to reproduce without the necessity of the Nightbrothers.[38]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 StarWars-DatabankII.png Nightsisters in the Databank (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Massacre"
  3. StarWars-DatabankII.png Nightbrothers in the Databank (backup link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ghosts of Dathomir
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Collapse of the Republic
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Build the Millennium Falcon.png Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 59 (Guide to the Galaxy: Denizens of Dathomir)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Nightsisters"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Star Wars: Uprising
  9. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Dathomir, a massacre of the Nightsisters in which few survived, to 20 BBY.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  11. Last Shot
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Star Wars: The Dark Side
  13. "The Gilded Cage"—Dark Legends
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The High Republic: A Test of Courage
  15. AltayaCite.svg "Bespin and Other Outer Rim Planets" – Star Wars Encyclopedia
  16. 16.0 16.1 Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 3
  17. StarWars.com Encyclopedia Mother Talzin in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  18. The Star Wars Book dates the launch of the Starlight Beacon, which is depicted as part of the events of The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, to 232 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 232 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. As such, the rest of the novel's events must also occur around 232 BBY. The High Republic: A Test of Courage is set concurrently to Light of the Jedi, meaning that its events must occur around that year as well.
  19. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Character Encyclopedia - Join the Battle! places the birth of Asajj Ventress to 50 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. As Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states that A New Hope begins in 0 BBY, Ventress' birth must have occurred in 50 BBY.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Bug"—The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Monster"
  22. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Bounty"
  23. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Revenge"
  24. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Disappeared, Part II"
  25. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 4
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Dark Disciple
  27. 27.0 27.1 Rebels-mini-logo.png Star Wars Rebels – "Visions and Voices"
  28. The events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order occur five years after the proclamation of the New Order, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. Therefore, it can be deduced that the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order take place in 14 BBY.
  29. Dawn of Rebellion dates the events of Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow seventeen years after the end of the Clone Wars, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY; therefore, the events of Steps Into Shadow must take place in 2 BBY. According to Star Wars: On the Front Lines, Mon Mothma's denunciation of the Galactic Empire and the Declaration of the Rebel Alliance take place 2 years before the Battle of Yavin or 2 BBY. As "Visions and Voices" is set between Steps Into Shadow and "Secret Cargo," the events of the episode must also take place in 2 BBY.
  30. This event begins after Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and ends at the time of the Battle of Jakku culminating with the signing of the Galactic Concordance. The Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the events of Return of the Jedi in 4 ABY and the signing of the Galactic Concordance as 5 ABY.
  31. 31.0 31.1 StarWars.com Encyclopedia Dathomir in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  32. 32.0 32.1 StarWars.com Encyclopedia Nightsisters in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  33. Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
  34. The Courtship of Princess Leia
  35. Lit Exclusive: Dave Wolverton Addresses Fan Criticisms of The Courtship of Princess Leia, & MORE (Forum) (2014-11-17). TheForce.Net. Archived from the original on April 23, 2019.
  36. TwitterLogo.svg Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) on Twitter. "Jedi Alliance, out of the Singapore studio. He recognized their use of Iain McCaig's Ep I concept art and liked it."
  37. TwitterLogo.svg Tricia Barr (@fangirlcantina) on Twitter. "Extrapolating from source material. Nightsisters have magic and tech. That is sufficient to reproduce." (screenshot)

External links[]