‘Ahsoka’: Who are the Nightsisters of Dathomir?

Ahsoka featured the return of Diana Lee Inosanto’s nefarious Morgan Elsbeth. First seen in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, “The Jedi”, Elsbeth was the magistrate of the small, walled city of Calodan on her home planet Corvus. The episode revealed that Elsbeth was loyal to Grand Admiral Thrawn and had some knowledge of where he had disappeared to. In the hopes that finding Thrawn would help her find Ezra Bridger, Ahsoka Tano sought out, battled and defeated Elsbeth, who proved a capable adversary. When last seen, Elsbeth was headed to a New Republic prison for her crimes as an Imperial Loyalist.

The first episode of Ahsoka, “Master and Apprentice”, reveals that not much has changed for Elsbeth since she was last seen. While headed to trial for her crimes, she’s freed by Dark Jedi mercenaries Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. By the end of the second episode, “Toil and Trouble”, Elsbeth’s plan to find Thrawn by following the Path to Peridea is revealed. The first two episodes also touch on something even more sinister: Elsbeth is a descendant of the Nighsisters of Dathomir!

Who are the Nighsisters of Dathomir?

First introduced in Season 3, Episode 12 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Nighsisters are a clan of witches from the planet Dathomir–the same planet from which Darth Maul and Savage Oppress’ Zabrak species hailed. While neither Sith nor Jedi, the Nightsisters were adept Force users who gave little care to the duality of the Force so often chattered about in Star Wars projects. The clan was often caught up in the Sith’s plans, however, due to their powerful connection to the “magick” they wielded. Darth Sidious coveted Maul, the son of the Nightsister’s leader, Mother Talzin. Another powerful Nightsister, Asajj Ventress, became the apprentice of the fallen Jedi-turned-Sith Count Dooku before being betrayed. Upon returning to her people, Ventress was hunted down by General Grievous who massacred the Nightsisters, putting an end to their small civilization.

The revelation that Elsbeth is a descendant of the Nightsisters instantly makes her a much larger threat than she was previously revealed to be and gives Ahsoka further room to explore different interpretations of the Force. Elsbeth is seen tapping into the familiar green magical ichor that the Nighsisters manipulate as part of their connection to the Force. Using the ichor to help power the map to Thrawn, Elsbeth speaks of finding the lost Grand Admiral among an “ancient people from a distant galaxy.” One of Ahsoka creator Dave Filoni’s favorite themes is exploring alternate explanations and understandings of the Force. It’s something he explored through not only the Nightsisters but also Bendu. Elsbeth’s connection to the Nightsisters provides an immediate reminder that while the Jedi (and thus the audience) have one very strict interpretation of the Force, it’s not the only interpretation and it seems possible–even likely–that Ahsoka is about to unveil another new take.

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