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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[13]

The Nightsisters, also known as the Witches of Dathomir, were a clan and ancient order of magick-wielding women, most of whom were 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.


Life on Dathomir[]

According to a commonly told story, the first of[6] the ancient[14] 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,[6] it was true that Allya wrote the Book of Law, which taught the sisters to dislike the Jedi.[7] However, the Dathomirian people also had ties to the extragalactic planet Peridea, which was once the site of the Witch Kingdom of the Dathmiri, and said to be their original homeworld. The ancient Dathomiri tamed the Purrgil, beings that could traverse hyperspace and therefore bridge the gap between Peridea's galaxy and Dathomir's galaxy. The Great Mothers,[10] three Nightsisters[15] who slumbered on Peridea, hated the Jedi as well.[16]

When the Fromprath[17] 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.[18] Knowing that technologically advanced aliens posed a threat to covens, the Nightsisters modernized some of their weapons, such as their energy bows.[18]

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.[19] Though a weapon used more commonly by Jedi, the Nightsisters had adopted lightwhips by the High Republic Era.[20] In 232 BBY,[21] Jedi Padawan Imri Cantaros thought about how the Nightsisters had less rules than the Jedi and their creative, more destructive values.[20]

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,[22] unifying them[23] into a single clan.[2] During this time, Talzin worked alongside Sith Lord Darth Sidious.[24] While she became wary of such machinations, knowing there could only be two powerful dark side factions at one time due to the Rule of Two,[18] Sidious promised she would be his right hand. Both shared secret knowledge and worked to combine dark side powers and Nightsister magicks. Ultimately, however, he betrayed Talzin by taking her beloved son Maul from her to train as his Sith apprentice.[24] At the time of the Clone Wars, Talzin began to sell her sisters' services as mercenaries to the galaxy's wealthy citizens.[25]


Asajj Ventress returns home to Dathomir.

In 50 BBY,[26] the clan was forced to give up the young Asajj Ventress to the Siniteen criminal Hal'Sted as insurance for protection.[8]

Other witch groups active on Dathomir included the Singing Mountain and Blue Coral Divers Clan. 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.[27] The Nightsisters became embroiled in Arzo Suun's attempt to steal from a Nightbrother village.[6]

Downfall and collapse[]


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.[8] 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.[28] However, their scheme would earn them the ire of Dooku, who would later dispatch General Grievous to Dathomir in retaliation.[2] The witches had also posed a threat to Sidious' planned Galactic Empire[29] and thus were a target he wanted destroyed.[30] Grievous then destroyed their fortress and killed off the majority of the Nightsisters during the battle,[2] marking the end of the Nightsisters as a civilization.[13] The few survivors included Ventress, Talzin,[2] Merrin,[13] Yenna,[27] Jerserra,[4] Shelish,[9] and Morgan Elsbeth.[31]

While Ventress pursued a path as a bounty hunter,[32] Mother Talzin continued to live in seclusion in the Nightsisters' ruined fortress, where she helped heal the broken body and mind of her oldest son, Darth Maul.[33] 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.[34] Maul and Talzin conspired to eliminate Darth Sidious and Dooku, but Talzin was killed in the eventual confrontation.[35] Meanwhile, Ventress joined Jedi Master Quinlan Vos in one final assassination attempt against Dooku, but was[36]seemingly[37] killed by the Count while protecting Vos, her newfound lover.[36] However, Ventress was alive and continued her bounty hunter life into the Imperial Era.[38]

Survival and adapting[]

"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[13]
JFO Nightsister Merrin introduction

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 Empire.[13]

Although Grievous's attack marked the end of the Nightsisters,[36][29] 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 time, the Nardithi Nightsisters and other such groups would no longer be found on Dathomir.[39]

Elsbeth, a human Nightsister, was enraged by the massacre of her people during the Clone Wars. In her rage, she built up the Imperial Navy by plundering entire worlds of their resources.[40] In 9 ABY,[41] the former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano recounted the story of Elsbeth's people to the Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin in 9 ABY.[40]

In 14 BBY,[42] Merrin joined the crew of the Stinger Mantis, made up of the Jedi Cal Kestis, the ex-Jedi Cere Junda, the latero pilot Greez Dritus, and the droid BD-1, with whom she left Dathomir to explore the galaxy.[13]


Nightsister spirits summoned by Ezra Bridger and Maul in 2 BBY

In 2 BBY,[43] two spirits of the Nightsisters were summoned by Maul and Ezra Bridger in order to swap information they received when the fused a Sith and Jedi holocron. However, the spirits demanded their flesh and blood as payment. The Nightsister spirits attacked and possessed Bridger’s Master 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.[29] By that time,[44] with Maul's own death soon to come,[45] Dathomir was regarded as a dead world in terms of sentient life, with no Nightsisters nor any other civilization remaining.[44]

By the Galactic Civil War, Shelish was among the few known surviving Nightsisters. During the lockdown of the Anoat sector[9] between 4 and 5 ABY,[46] she taught the ways of the Force to a smuggler from Burnin Konn who ultimately emerged as the leader of the Uprising.[9]

The Nightsisters' return[]

Before the time of the New Republic, Elsbeth, another surviving Nightsister and a servant of Grand Admiral Thrawn, had taken control of the city of Calodan on the forest planet Corvus, and Djarin speculated she was plundering the planet like she had done to many others for the Empire. Working together, Djarin and Tano liberated the city, and Tano asked her where Thrawn was located.[40] Elsbeth was then taken into the custody of the New Republic, where she revealed the location of an ancient temple built by her people on Arcana containing a map to Peridea,[31] a planet in a distant galaxy which is the ancient homeworld of the Nightsisters,[47] and place of exile for Thrawn. This map was recovered by Tano and unlocked by Wren. Elsbeth was freed from New Republic imprisonment by former Jedi Baylan Skoll and his apprentice Shin Hati, and the map was taken from Sabine in a duel with Shin.[31] Using her influence with Imperial loyalists at her former shipyard on Corellia, Elsbeth had ordered the construction of a massive hyperspace transport ring called the Eye of Sion, which was completed shortly after her escape from the New Republic.[47]


The docked Chimaera approaches Dathomir, bringing about the return of the Nightsisters to the galaxy.

Morgan and her allies used the Eye to hyperspace jump to Peridea with coordinates gained from the map, using a reflex point on the planet Seatos.[48] At Peridea, Elsbeth and Thrawn were reunited at a Nightsister fortress and it was revealed that he had allied himself with the Dathomirian Great Mothers. In preparation for the journey back, mysterious, coffin-like, containers were loaded onto Thrawn's Star Destroyer from the catacombs.[5] Bridger, Wren, and Tano stormed the fortress in an attempt to stop Thrawn's return. A unit of resurrected Night Troopers and Elsbeth, wielding the Blade of Talzin and empowered with the magick of the Great Mothers, were able to suppress the attack long enough for Thrawn to dock with the Eye of Sion and escape Peridea. In the process, Bridger was able to stowaway on the Star Destroyer so he could join the New Republic to stop Thrawn for good and Elsbeth was slain by Tano. Upon their return to the galaxy, Thrawn and the Great Mothers travelled to Dathomir with their cargo.[16]

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[36]
Dathomir DoR

Dathomir, a planet bathed in "magick"

By tapping into the magical ichor that flowed from Dathomir's depths, the witches could harness a power[49] they referred to as "magick."[50] The most powerful of the Nightsisters could use that ichor to create objects out of thin air,[28] transform people into ghostly versions of their true forms,[8] or even reanimate the dead.[2] They were also known to domesticate benign rancors.[51]

Although their the Jedi and Sith would view their powers as residing in the dark side of the force,[6] the Nightsisters' study differed from the power hungry ambitions of the Sith or the seeking of knowledge of the Jedi Order. In actuality, they made little distinction between the light and the dark, though their techniques were frequently dark in nature. Nightsisters' 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 the Sith while wielding powers a Jedi withheld tapping into.[6]

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.[6]

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[28]

Mother Talzin's clan

Most Nightsisters were Dathomirian,[2] but members of other species, such as[31] the human[52] Morgan Elsbeth, could be part of the coven.[31] Several studies indicated that the Nightsisters were a peaceful tribe who lived in harmony with their planet, but this was not true.[18] The Nightsisters of Dathomir lived in the seclusion of a stone fortress that bordered dense swamplands.[49] 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.[50] Nightsisters were known to have less rules than Jedi.[20]

Nightsister positions included Nightsister acolyte[53] and the ruling Clan Mother.[28] 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.[54]

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[13] and mummified.[54][6]

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.[6]

As young initiates, Nightsister witches undergo training as children to master their power over magick.[13] 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.[36] An important component of training was that a Nightsister had to master their power without losing control and giving into the dark side completely.[13]

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.[13] The Nightsisters also 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.[18]

Behind the scenes[]

Yansu Grjak

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.[55] 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.[56]

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.[57] 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.[58]

Morgan Elsbeth first appeared in "Chapter 13: The Jedi," where she was played by Diana Lee Inosanto and it was stated her "people" were slaughtered in the Clone Wars.[40] Inosanto's hairstylist, Maria Sandoval, claimed on her Instagram that Elsbeth's people were the Nightsisters.[59] This was confirmed in "Part One: Master and Apprentice."[31]


Non-canon appearances[]


Non-canon sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 StarWars-DatabankII Nightsisters in the Databank (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Massacre"
  3. StarWars-DatabankII Nightbrothers in the Databank (backup link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ghosts of Dathomir
  5. 5.0 5.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Six: Far, Far Away"
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 Collapse of the Republic
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Build the Millennium Falcon Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon 59 (Guide to the Galaxy: Denizens of Dathomir)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Nightsisters"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Star Wars: Uprising
  10. 10.0 10.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Six: Far, Far Away"
  11. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Dathomir, a massacre of the Nightsisters in which few survived, to 20 BBY.
  12. Star Wars: Timelines (Exclusive Edition) places the events of "Part One: Master and Apprentice" around 9 ABY. Therefore, the events of Ahsoka must take place around the same year.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  14. StarWars-DatabankII Dathomir in the Databank (backup link)
  15. Aktropaw (Nightsister) Life-Size Cardboard Cutout on advancedgraphics.com (archived from the original on October 5, 2023)
  16. 16.0 16.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Eight: The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord"
  17. Last Shot
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Star Wars: The Dark Side
  19. "The Gilded Cage" — Dark Legends
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 The High Republic: A Test of Courage
  21. Star Wars: Timelines dates the events of The High Republic: Light of the Jedi to 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.
  22. AltayaCite "Bespin and Other Planets in the Outer Rim" — Star Wars Encyclopedia
  23. Topps logo 2015 Topps Star Wars Chrome Perspectives: Jedi vs. Sith – Jedi Temple Archives (Card: Mother Talzin) (backup link)
  24. 24.0 24.1 Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 3
  25. StarWars Mother Talzin in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  26. 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.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Bug" — The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Monster"
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels — "Visions and Voices"
  30. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 1
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part One: Master and Apprentice"
  32. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Bounty"
  33. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Revenge"
  34. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "The Disappeared, Part II"
  35. Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir 4
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 Dark Disciple
  37. StarWars Watch the Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 3 Trailer on StarWars.com (backup link)
  38. TBBtemplate Star Wars: The Bad Batch — "The Harbinger"
  39. Dawn of Rebellion states that Dathomir was home to no permanently-settled sentient life in the time before the events of "Twin Suns." As such, the Nardithi Nightsisters or any other clan mentioned in Ghosts of Dathomir must no longer be present on world by some means.
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 The-Mandalorian-logo The Mandalorian — "Chapter 13: The Jedi"
  41. Star Wars: Timelines dates the events of "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian" and "Chapter 16: The Rescue" to 9 ABY. The events of Chapters 1–16 must therefore also take place in 9 ABY, and the events of Chapters 17–24 must take place around that year as well.
  42. Star Wars: Timelines dates the events of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to 14 BBY.
  43. Star Wars: Timelines
  44. 44.0 44.1 Dawn of Rebellion
  45. Rebels-mini-logo Star Wars Rebels — "Twin Suns"
  46. 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.
  47. 47.0 47.1 AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Two: Toil and Trouble"
  48. AhsokaS1 Logo Ahsoka — "Part Four: Fallen Jedi"
  49. 49.0 49.1 StarWars Dathomir in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  50. 50.0 50.1 StarWars Nightsisters in the Encyclopedia (content now obsolete; backup link)
  51. Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
  52. Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition
  53. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
  54. The Courtship of Princess Leia
  55. Lit Exclusive: Dave Wolverton Addresses Fan Criticisms of The Courtship of Princess Leia, & MORE (Forum) on TheForce.Net (November 17, 2014) (archived from the original on April 23, 2019)
  56. TwitterLogo 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."
  57. TwitterLogo Tricia Barr (@fangirlcantina) on Twitter: "Extrapolating from source material. Nightsisters have magic and tech. That is sufficient to reproduce." (screenshot)
  58. Instagram-Logo Maria Sandoval (@hairdepartmentetc) on Instagram: Morgan Elsbeth, Dathomirian (November 27, 2020) (backup link)

External links[]