If you have not seen all of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you might be confused by Morgan Elsbeth and the Nightsisters. Elsbeth first appeared in “Chapter 13: The Jedi” during Season Two of The Mandalorian, with fans believing she was connected to the Nightsisters.
Also called the Witches of Dathomir or Daughters of Dathomir, the Nightsisters first appeared in the eponymous episode of Season Three of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Nightsisters play a minor but significant role in the series. They have since played an increasingly prominent role in the Ahsoka series.
From their origins to their connection with the Force, here is everything you need to know about the Nightsisters in Star Wars.
Who Are the Nightsisters?
The Nightsisters are an ancient matriarchal society of Force-sensitive witches that could wield a mysterious dark magick. Distrusting of the Jedi, the Sith, and most outsiders, they mainly kept to themselves.
Spoiler Warning: This article includes spoilers for Ahsoka, The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Jedi: Fallen Order, and Jedi: Survivor. Avoid spoilers by skipping ahead to the spoiler-free essential Nightsisters watchlist.
The Nightsisters used their powers to control the Magical ichor, a luminescent green mist from the depths of Dathomir. Also called the magickal ichor or spirit ichor, it allowed them to conjure objects, transform beings into ghostly versions, or even reanimate the dead.
They were the descendants of the Witch Kingdom of the Dathomiri. Originally from the extragalactic planet Peridea, these witches use the purrgil space whales to travel across galaxies to settle the planet Dathomir.
Although the Jedi Archive has no record of this Jedi, legends say that the exiled Jedi Allya joined the Nightsisters around 600 BBY. While the witches were already powerful, Allya trained them to harness the power of the Force.
Around 40 BBY, Darth Sidious visited Dathomir. While initially seeking an alliance with the Nightsisters, he betrayed them by abducting Mother Talzin’s son, Maul. Maul served as Sidious’ first Sith apprentice.
During the Clone Wars, Count Dooku asked Mother Talzen for a new apprentice. Seeking revenge against Sidious for abducting Maul, Talzen trained Maul’s brother Savage Opress as a weapon against the Sith.
However, Savage failed to kill Dooku. Seeing the Nightsisters as a threat to Sidious’ plan, Dooku sent General Grievous to Dathomir to wipe out the Nightsisters. He destroyed their fortress, wiping out nearly all of the witches of Dathomir. By 9 ABY, only a few Nigthsisters remained.
What Race Are the Nightsisters?
While many people think the Nightsisters are Zabrak, they are actually a subspecies of women that originated from an unknown galaxy on the planet Peridea.
Sometimes called Dathomirian Zabraks, the witches settled on Dathomir and mated with Zabrak men. The Zabraks were native to the nearby planet Iridonia, but a small group lived in a colony on Dathomir. These male Zabraks were called the Nightbrothers.
Non-Dathomrians were also accepted into the coven. The most notable non-Dathomirian Nightsister is the human Morgan Elsbeth.
Most Nightsisters remained on Dathomir, where their powers were the strongest. However, several Dathomiran witches traveled the galaxy. The most notable include Asajj Ventress and Merrin.
Who Are the Most Prominent Nightsisters?
While there were many Nightsisters, these are the most well-known Daughters of Dathomir:
- Asajj Ventress – A Nightsister turned bounty hunter who was active during the Clone Wars.
- Morgan Elsbeth – A human Nightsister who worked with the Empire and was searching for Grand Admiral Thrawn.
- Merrin – A Nightsister who eventually joined the quest to help survivors of the Great Jedi Purge.
- Mother Talzin – The leader of the Nightsister on Dathomir during the Clone Wars.
- The Great Mothers – The leaders of the Witch Kingdom of the Dathomiri on Peridea.
- Allya – A Former Jedi who helped train the Nightsisters of Dathomir.
Ventress, Elsbeth, Merrin, Mother Talzin, and the Great Mothers all play prominent roles in parts of the Star Wars Universe. Mother Talzin, the Great Mothers, and Allya are historically significant for their contributions to the Dathomirian Nightsisters and the Witch Kingdom of the Dathmiri.
Perhaps the most well-known Nightsister, Asajj Ventress served as a Jedi Padawan, a Sith apprentice, and later as a bounty hunter.
Born in 50 BBY, she was taken by the Siniteen pirate Hal’Sted while still a baby. When Hal’Sted was murdered in 44 BBY, she joined Jedi Knight Ky Narec as his Padawan. Narec was murdered in 23 BBY, causing Ventress to fall to the dark side.
Shortly afterward, she fought as a gladiator for the warlord Osika Kirske. Feeling her power through the Force, Count Dooku murdered Kirske and took Ventress as his Sith apprentice.
She then served as a commander in the Separatist military, fighting in the Clone Wars against notable Jedi Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padawan Ahsoka Tano.
Sensing her growing powers, Sidious ordered Dooku to kill Ventress. When he failed, Ventress escaped and turned to a life of bounty hunting.
Shortly before the end of the Clone Wars, she helped Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos on a secret mission to assassinate Dooku. In the process, Vos fell to the dark side and fell in love with her.
Ultimately, Ventress gave her life to save Vos, and her sacrifice freed him from the dark side. Sometime just before the end of the Clone Wars, Vos and Kenobi laid Ventress to rest on Dathomir with her Nightsisters.
Asajj Ventress was first introduced in the 2003 comic Jedi: Mace Windu and later appeared in the 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars series, both of which are now part of the Star Wars Legends continuity. Canonically, her first appearance is in the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie.
Morgan Elsbeth, a human Nightsister from the planet Dathomir, survived the massacre during the Clone Wars. Under the Empire, she was an industrialist and starship-builder. At some point, she aligned herself with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
By 9 ABY, she was a magistrate on Corvus. Elsbeth also operated factories on Corellia, including a shipyard that refurbished Imperial hyperdrives.
Former Jedi Ahsoka Tano confronted Elsbeth, looking for a secret map that led to the location of Thrawn and Ezra Bridger. After beating her in a duel, Tano gave her to the New Republic for trial.
However, mercenaries Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati freed Elsbeth. Together, they recovered the map from Ahsoka. Attempting to stop Elsbeth from using the map, Tano and Sabine Wren duel Baylan and Shin. When Tano seemingly falls to her death, Sabine surrenders with the hope of rescuing Ezra.
They then travel to the extra-galactic planet Peridea, where they find Thrawn and the Great Mothers at the Dathomiri fortress.
There, Sabine finds Ezra and Ahsoka arrives with the aid of the purrgil space whales. Together, they attacked the fortress, attempting to keep Thrawn from leaving Peridea.
The Great Mothers conjured the Blade of Talzin for Elsbeth, who stayed behind to defend the Grand Admiral’s escape. She appeared to die in the battle, but she could return with the powers of the Great Mothers.
Morgan Elsbeth was created for The Mandalorian episode “Chapter 13: The Jedi.” She then appeared in the bulk of the Ahsoka series. Diana Lee Inosanto portrays the character in both series.
In The Mandalorian, Elsbeth says her “people” were slaughtered in the Clone Wars. In a now-deleted Instagram post, Inosanto’s hairstylist, Maria Sandoval, seemingly confirmed Elsbeth’s connection to the Nightsisters. This caused fans to speculate about the character before the release of Ahsoka.
Born in 33 or 32 BBY, Merrin was a Nightsister from Dathomir. At an early age, she fell in love with a fellow Nightsister, Ilyana. However, Ilyana died during the Battle of Dathomir.
Shortly after the Great Jedi Purge in 19 BBY, fallen Jedi Master Taron Malicos crash-landed on Dathomir. Seeking to learn the secrets of the Nightsister’s magick, he manipulated Merrin into believing the Jedi orchestrated the destruction of Dathomir.
Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis arrived on Dathomir aboard the Stinger Mantis in 14 BBY. Kestis was looking for artifacts that would help him locate Force-sensitive children throughout the galaxy. Merrin initially distrusted Kestis, while Malicos tried to turn him to the dark side.
Eventually, Merrin and Kestis bonded over their shared trauma as survivors of fallen orders. They defeated Malicos and Merrin joined the crew of the Stinger Mantis and helped Kestis on his quest to restore the Jedi Order and fight the Galactic Empire. However, they eventually parted ways.
Merrin then spent several years on her own, fighting the oppression of the Galactic Empire when she could. She also returned to Dathomir, communing with her fallen coven and strengthening her magick powers.
Eventually, Merrin started working for the Hidden Path, a secret network that hid Jedi and Force-sensitive beings from the Empire.
In 9 BBY, she reconnected with Kestis on Jedha. Merrin then joined Kestis’ search for a safe haven for Jedi. During this time, she began a relationship with Kestis.
Nightsister Merrin was created for the video game Jedi: Fallen Order. She later appeared in the novel Jedi: Battle Scars and the video game Jedi: Survivor. Merrin is one of the many LGTBQ+ characters within Star Wars.
Mother Talzin was the final clan mother of the Nightsisters, serving as their leader from at least 50 BBY until 23 BBY.
She notably reunited the different clans, pushing in the Golden Age of the Nightsisters. She was constantly scheming to maintain control and protect the coven.
Little is known about her past, although she played a pivotal role during the Clone Wars. Talzin was the mother of Savage Opress, Ferel, and Maul, with Maul and Savage serving the Sith.
She finally died in 19 BBY when Darth Sidious, Count Dooku, and General Grievous attacked Dathomir. Her death marked the fall of the Nightsisters of Dathomir.
Mother Talzin was created for the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.
The Great Mothers
The Great Mothers were the leaders of the fallen Witch Kingdom of Dathomir. Very little is known about the three mothers or their coven of witches. They lived in a fortress on the extragalactic planet Peridea and had a deep connection to an unknown dark magick.
Presumably, they formed an alliance with Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn sometime around 0 BBY. Thrawn promised to take the Mothers and the unknown cargo in their catacombs to Dathomir for their help in returning to his own galaxy. Potentially, the Great Mothers used their magick to communicate with Morgan Elsbeth.
In 9 ABY, Elsbeth and her mercenaries Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati traveled to Peridea to rescue Thrawn. While in the process of leaving the planet, Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, and Ezra Bridger attacked.
Sensing her powers, they conjured the Balde of Talzin for Elsbeth, who gave her live so the Mothers could escape. Traveling across galaxies, Thrawn made good on his promise to deliver them to Dathomir with their secret cargo.
The Great Mothers were created for the 2023 Disney+ series Ahsoka, where they appeared in the final three episodes of the first season. While their names are not spoken in the series, the credits list them as Klothow, Aktropaw, and Lakesis.
According to the stores, Allya was a former Jedi Knight who joined the Nightsister. Sharing her knowledge of the Force and Jedi lore, she strengthened the coven and made them even more powerful.
Allya also wrote the Book of Law, which is believed to contain the history, beliefs, and spells of the Dathomire witches. Little else is known about Allya’s life, and there are no records about her in the Jedi Archives.
Allya was created for the 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton, which is now part of the Star Wars Legends continuity. She was included in Star Wars canon in the 2016 article “Guide to the Galaxy: Denizens of Dathomir” in the 59th issue of Star Wars: Build the Millennium Falcon.
Who Are the Nightsisters in Star Wars Legends
Within Star Wars Legends, the Nightsisters were one of the clans of the Witches of Dathomir. The witches were originally all human. However, they later bred with Zabrak men to create the Dathomirians.
Rogue Jedi Knight Allya started the coven of witches when she trained the women of Dathomir to use the Force. Called Mother Allya by her followers, she wrote the Book of Law to govern their society. Over the centuries, the Witches of Dathomir divided into several different clans.
The clan of Nightsisters formed after Gethzerion and Baritha were exiled for the attempted assassination of their clan mother. Gethzerion then taught other exiles to use the dark magick, writing the Book of Shadows.
In 31 BBY, clan mother Zalem attempted to unite the clans by force and take over the galaxy. However, Zalem was ultimately killed by her daughter Ros Lai with the help of Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos.
Shortly before the Clone Wars, shaman mother Talzin united the clans. Under Talzin, the Nightsisters prospered as mercenaries, bodyguards, assassins, and soldiers.
This prosperity was short-lived as the Clone Wars drew them in, leading to a near-extermination in a battle with General Grievous. Despite this setback, the Nightsisters eventually regained their dominance.
Under Emperor Palpatine’s reign, Dathomir was quarantined to prevent them from escaping. Some witches allied with the Zann Consortium to flee, and Dathomir remained isolated until 8 ABY.
Around this time, the Nightsisters captured Han Solo. The witches attempted to trade the New Republic General to Imperial warlord Zsinj for transportation off Dathomir. However, Zsinj betrayed the Nightsisters, nearly wiping them out.
By 23 ABY, the remaining Nightsisters backed the Second Imperium, an Imperial remnant. After surviving the Second Galactic Civil War, they briefly allied with the Sith Order against the New Jedi Order in 43.5 ABY.
How Do the Star Wars Legends Nightisters Differ From the New Canon Version?
With few exceptions, the Nightsisters in Legends are completely different from the stories in the new canon. The two main similarities are the role of Allya and the Nightsister’s role in the Clone Wars.
While the new canon is vague about Allya’s role, it generally supports the same origin story. Stories about Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the coven of Nightsisters of Dathomir are also largely the same.
This includes the Nightsister’s roles in Palpatine taking Darth Maul as his apprentice. It also covers stories of Dooku taking Asajj and, later, Savage Opress as his apprentice and General Grievous’ attack on Dathomir.
Spoiler-Free Watch List About the Nightsisters
Here are the essential episodes related to the Nightsisters. The Clone Wars episodes introduce the Witches of Dathomir and detail most of Asajj Ventress and Mother Talzen’s roles in the Clone Wars. The Mandalorian episode introduces Morgan Elsbeth, with the Ahsokla episodes relating to Elsbeth and the Great Mothers of the Witch Kingdom of the Dathomiri.
While The Clone Wars movie introduces Asajj Ventress, it also deals with a number of other characters and storylines. If you are looking to save time, you can skip ahead to “Cloak of Darkness.” Although the episode doesn’t introduce Ventress, it gives enough background to understand her origins.
“The Disappeared, Part I” does not involve Mother Talzin or the Nightsisters, but it sets up the story arc. While you can skip it, you may find Part II confusing.
However, this is another reminder that the entire Star Wars universe is connected. To completely understand all of the references in the live-action series, you should also watch the animated series. While you do not necessarily need to play all the video games or read the comics and books, you should read summaries since those characters and events also relate to the movie and television universes.
- The Clone Wars (movie) [Asajj Ventress] (Optional)
- The Clone Wars — Season 1, Episode 9 “Cloak of Darkness” [Asajj Ventress]
- The Clone Wars — Season 3, Episode 2 “ARC Troopers” [Asajj Ventress]
- The Clone Wars — Season 3, Episode 12 “Nightsisters” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 3, Episode 13 “Monster” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 3, Episode 14 “Witches of the Mist” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 4, Episode 19 “Massacre” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 4, Episode 20 “Bounty” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 4, Episode 21 “Brothers” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 4, Episode 22 “Revenge” [Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, and the Nightsisters]
- The Clone Wars — Season 6, Episode 8 “The Disappeared, Part I” (Optional)
- The Clone Wars — Season 6, Episode 9 “The Disappeared, Part II” [Mother Talzin]
- The Mandalorian — Season 2, Episode 5 “Chapter 13: The Jedi” [Morgan Elsbeth]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 1 “Part One: Master and Apprentice” [Morgan Elsbeth]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 2 “Part Two: Toil and Trouble” [Morgan Elsbeth]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 3 ”Part Three: Time to Fly” [Morgan Elsbeth]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 4 “Part Four: Fallen Jedi” [Morgan Elsbeth]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 6 “Part Six: Far, Far Away” [Morgan Elsbeth and the Great Mothers]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 7 “Part Seven: Dreams and Madness” [Morgan Elsbeth and the Great Mothers]
- Ahsoka — Season 1, Episode 8 “Part Eight: The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord” [Morgan Elsbeth and the Great Mothers]
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