Ahsoka: Who is the witch of Dathomir? - I.G.N (2023)

Warning: This article contains full spoilers for the first two episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka. Be sure to check it out if you haven't alreadyIGN's review of both episodes

Emperor Palpatine may be the number one villain in the Star Wars Skywalker saga, but he's not the only one who knows how to harness the power of the dark side. Anyone who's seen Star Wars: The Clone Wars knows that Palpatine had some serious opponents, and those are Dathomir's Nightsisters. With the premiere of Star Wars: Ahsoka, these so-called "witches" finally have an appearance in live-action movies.

The first two episodes of "Ahsoka" revealed that Diana Lee's Morgan Elsbeth was a member of the witches of Dathomir. But who exactly are these characters? What is their connection to Dark Jedi Beran Skor (Ray Stevenson) and Sin Hardy (Ivana Sakhno)? Here's what you need to know to get started with this series:

Star Wars: Ahsoka Live and Animated Characters Compared

Who is the witch in Star Wars: The Nightsisters?

Star Wars is arguably more of a fantasy saga than a pure science fiction novel. There are already sword-wielding wizards who can change the laws of reality at will. So why not include some witches? This is where the night nurses come in.

The Nightsisters are a group of powerful witches living on the planet Dathomir. Like Exegol and Malachor, Dathomir is a world closely tied to the Force. The planet is filled with dark side energy and the Nightsisters gain incredible power through harnessing this energy.

The Nightsisters interact with the Force differently than Palpatine and his fellow Sith Lords.

The Nightsisters interact with the Force differently than Palpatine and his fellow Sith Lords. The word "witch" applies here. The Nightsisters draw from the magical secretion flowing through Dathomir and use it to cast spells that allow them to create objects and even revive corpses. They rely on totems to increase their magic. Instead of a traditional lightsaber, the Nightsisters wield a bow that fires arrows of pure energy.

Dathomir once had several Nightsister clans, but during the Clone Wars these clans were united under the leadership of a powerful matriarch named Mother Talzin. Dathomir is also home to the Nightsister tribe - male Zabrak who serve the Nightsisters and are sometimes recruited as assassins. Talzin's sons Darth Maul and Savage Opress are best known as the "Night Brothers".

Ahsoka: Who is the witch of Dathomir? - I.G.N (1)

The Nightsisters versus Emperor Palpatine

As Senator Palpatine began plotting his rise to power and planning the Clone Wars, his conflict with Mother Talzin and the Night Constellation was largely inevitable. The Sith do not believe in sharing the Force outside of the strict two-person rule, and the Night's Watch represent an entire culture of dark side experts and potential rivals to the Sith Emperor.

Palpatine first came into conflict with the Nightsisters when he visited Dathomir in search of apprentices. Instead of recruiting Talzin herself, she chose to kidnap young Maul and let Talzin begin a long and quiet vendetta against the Sith Lord. Just as Palpatine was about to take over the galaxy entirely, Talzin himself conspired to destroy him and rule the galaxy in his place.

Once the Clone Wars began, Talzin began openly waging war against Palpatine and Count Dooku. Count Dooku took the Nightsister Asajj Ventress as his apprentice, but was forced to betray her when his master deemed Ventress too threatening. Dooku then replaced them with Oppress the Barbarian, not realizing that Oppress had been trained to kill him at the right moment. However, even the combined strength of Oppress and Ventress was not enough to defeat Dooku. After failing, Opress was given a new mission - to find his missing brother Maul and help him destroy the Sith.

In short, the brothers never achieved that goal. Moore was captured by his former master and Opress was killed in action. Palpatine himself took a more active part in the conflict against the Nightsisters, sending General Grievous and a droid army to eliminate the Nightsisters on Dathomir. Only a few like Talzin, Ventress and Merlin survived the genocide. By the end of the Clone Wars, the Nightsister threat had been largely eliminated.

Towards the end of the war, Talzin made one last attempt to eliminate Dooku and Sidious, but even their incredible magic was not enough to stop the combined forces of the two Sith Lords. There was nothing Talzin could do but ensure her son survived to fight another day before finally being obliterated by Palpatine. His greatest rival on the dark side is no more.

Morgan Elsbeth and Star Wars: Ahsoka

Like the Jedi Knights, few of the Nightsisters survived the dawn of the Empire. Jedi: Fallen Order and its sequels chronicle the exploits of one of those survivors, a Nightsister named Merlin. But now we know that Morgan Ellsbeth herself is the Nightsister, another survivor of yet another Palpatine purge. This explains why Elspeth was able to hold his own in the duel with Ahsoka in The Mandalorian: Season 2. From the way she uses the card in Thrawn, she seems to have at least some level of Force abilities.

However, this finding raises an interesting question. If Elsbeth is the Nightsister, why is she serving the Empire? Why is she serving Palpatine instead of avenging her murdered sister? Why is he trying to restore the Empire now? Didn't he understand that Palpatine was behind the destruction of the Nightsisters?

If Elsbeth is the Nightsister, why is she serving the Empire?

In The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Dinjarin relates, "During the Clone Wars, her people were massacred. She survived and let her anger fuel an organization that helped build the Imperial Starfleet industry. He plundered worlds and destroyed them in the process.”

The answer may lie in her relationship with Marshal Thrawn. She may be angry at Palpatine's role in slaughtering her people, but perhaps Elsbeth shares Thrawn's vision of an orderly, controlled galaxy. Thrawn himself is more loyal to his people, the ruling Chiss faction, than to the Empire itself, and perhaps this is where the two come together. Alternatively, Elsbeth could be of another race of Nightstars less loyal to Talzin.

Whatever her motivations, Elsbeth is clearly determined to travel to another galaxy to find Thrawn and bring him back. To this end, he enlisted the help of the Dark Jedi Beran Skor, Sin Hatty, and the Sith Inquisitor and mercenary Marok. Skoll is a fascinating character in his own right. We learn that he was once a Jedi Padawan who somehow survived the scourge of Order 66. He, like Elsbeth, seems to have a vested interest in finding Thrawn and restoring the Empire, even if that means aiding the very forces that once slaughtered his people. For him, the promise of a "power that could never have been imagined" was the necessary motivation.

As for Inquisitor Marlok, we don't know much about the character even after watching two episodes. Despite what Star Wars Rebels would have us believe, all of the Inquisitors died years ago. Is the magic of Elsbeth's Nightsisters at work here? Has she resurrected an Inquisitor to serve as her personal assassin? The fact that Marok's face is still hidden is also suspicious. Will we recognize the character when the helmet finally comes out? Is Malloc really a brainwashed Ezra, basically like Rinzler from TRON: Legacy? As Star Wars: Ahsoka evolves, we'll find out.

Are you excited to finally see the Nightsisters in action? What do you think is the true ending of Morgan Elsbeth? Let us know your theories about Ahsoka in the comments.

For more information on Star Wars: Ahsoka, visitMust-See Ahsoka, Hera, and Sabine Episodesand reviewAhsoka's complete Star Wars story so far

Jesse is a moderately employed writer for IGN. Let him borrow a machete from your mental jungleFollow @jschedeen on Twitter


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