Who are the witches of Dathomir?


In the vast galaxy of Star Wars are world teeming with life and secrets dating back countless years. Few are more mysterious and eerie than that of Dathomir, home to witches, rancors and everything in between.

The in-universe history of the planet goes back quite a bit as does its presence in real world content. Its first appearance was in 1994’s novel The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton who sadly passed away just last week.

This depiction of Dathomir was drastically different from the foreboding red world we know today. Before the canon reset in 2014, in the Expanded Universe continuity now referred to as Legends, the world was a lush forested place similar to Endor or Kashyyyk. It wasn’t until its reappearance in the 3D animated series The Clone Wars that the planet would assume it’s much more distinct red hue.

While the bloody portrait of Dathomir is one point of intrigue, the real treasure is its occupants. As was mentioned in last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett, the planet is home to the fearsome yet misunderstood rancor. The iconic beast made its grand live-action reappearance in the show as well as in last year’s The Bad Batch. This comes nearly 40 years since the creature’s memorable debut in Return of the Jedi.

As told by the rancor keeper, played by the unassailably cool Danny Trejo, the great monsters were ridden by other Dathomir locals, those being the witches. This refers to the mysterious and powerful order of Nightsisters.

This clan of magicians and assassins, as seen in The Clone Wars, was once ruled by the enigmatic Nightmother Talzin, the matriarch of the clan and possibly the most powerful person on Dathomir. The Nightsisters and Nightbrothers of the world are of the Zabrak race, with the men famously having devil-like horns. This tribe produced some of the most dangerous fighters the galaxy has ever seen. Among them the Separatist assassin Assajj Ventress, the fearsome Savage Opress and of course the Sith Lord, Darth Maul, Talzin’s own son.

In later decades, the world has become more desolate than ever. As seen in the 2019 video game Jedi: Fallen Order, the grim but beautiful world has fallen into a state of discontent. With no Nightmother to guide the witches, the world fell prey to the guiles of fallen Jedi Taron Malicos.

Later still the world was visited by Jedi apprentice Ezra Bridger and Maul, returning home for the first time in many long years. Here they encountered the spirits of fallen Nightsisters who appeared as vengeful spectres bent on possessing intrudes so that they may once again exist in the corporeal world.

Whether this represents the last the galaxy has seen of the witches of Dathomir is anyone’s guess. But as a wise Jedi once said: “no one’s ever really gone.”

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