Ahsoka: Who is Morgan Elsbeth?

Magistrate of Calodan, Morgan Elsbeth. Image courtesy StarWars.com
Magistrate of Calodan, Morgan Elsbeth. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

Morgan Elsbeth first appeared in season 2 of The Mandalorian in the episode “The Jedi,” where Ahsoka Tano also made her live-action debut. On the surface, she seemed to be a villain of the week until it’s revealed she has a connection to Grand Admiral Thrawn.

That’s where my ears perked up. What was her connection to Thrawn? Were we going to see Thrawn? Does that mean we get Ezra too? These are the thoughts that circled in my mind that night. I hoped to hear or see more of her in the finale of season 2 or even season 3. When that didn’t happen, I began to think she was a one-off character who was simply there to plant the idea of Thrawn and nothing more. Clearly, that’s not the case.

Here we are in season 1 of Ahsoka, and we meet up with Morgan Elsbeth again. Episode 1 opens with her immediately broken out of New Republic jail by two Jedi, or Force wielders of some kind at least. We begin to see very quickly that there is definitely more to her. And then she says a bombshell:

She is a Nightsister of Dathomir!

What are the Nightsisters of Dathomir?

Dave Wolverton created the Nightsisters for the 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia. The Nightsisters were brought on screen in The Clone Wars with storylines focused on their leader and mother of Darth Maul, Mother Talzin, and Assaj Ventress, a Nightsister who became the assassin and apprentice to Count Dooku.

Nightsisters wield their own brand of the Force, using a Dark Side version of magic. It was used throughout the series, like repairing Darth Maul or taking Savage Opress and changing him into a formidable warrior. Nightsisters are credited with appearances in stories as early as 232BBY. It’s around 50BBY that they are forced to give up Asajj Ventress for their protection, although she would return later after being dismissed by Count Dooku.

But it wasn’t just the people from Dathomir that would be able to use these dark Force powers. The planet of Dathomir seemed to be drenched in Dark Side Force powers to its core. This allowed the Daughters of Dathomir, or Witches of Dathomir as they were sometimes called, to be very powerful in the Dark Side. They drew their arcane powers from the planet itself and were very dangerous. They could even raise the dead, allowing their perished warriors to fight in battles.

The Nightsisters, particularly under the leadership of Mother Talzin, were so dangerous that Count Dooku sent General Grievous to attack the planet in The Clone Wars to wipe out the Sisters. It was a horrific genocide, leaving very few Nightsisters alive in its wake.

This was not the last Nightsisters we would see in Star Wars animation. In the Star Wars Rebels episode “Visions and Voices,” Darth Maul and Ezra Bridger summoned the Nightsisters to help them break their Force bond. Ezra had to destroy the Nightsisters altar there to release a possessed Kanan Jarrus and Sabine Wren from the grasp of the Nightsisters. The Ghost crew escaped from the attack. Side fun fact, this is also the episode where Sabine Wren found the Darksaber, kicking off the later events of The Mandalorian.

Another major Nightsister in the canon is Merrin, a crew member of the Stinger Mantis in the games Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Jedi: Survivor. She joined with Jedi Knight Cal Kestis to help fight the Empire.

Who is Morgan Elsbeth?

When we first met up with Morgan, she ruled over the capital city of the planet Corvus, called Calodan, with an iron fist. She allowed the torture of townsfolk medieval style in the town square in front of her castle, with others watching on helplessly and not able to speak up or fight against her for fear of reprisal.

We had no clue at that point she was a Nightsister or that she was from Dathomir. This revelation has led some to ask, “If she was from Dathomir and possibly of Zabrak descent, why doesn’t she have the horns on her head like Darth Maul and Savage Opress”? Simply put, she was not Zabrak. Instead, she was a human Nightsister.

Morgan Elsbeth began to grow an expansive Imperial Navy for the Empire sometime between 14BBY and 4ABY, working for and pledging her allegiance to Grand Admiral Thrawn. We see her in Calodan fighting against Ahsoka in 9ABY.  We also know that she has access to her powers as a Nightsister as we see the green Force Magicks used when accessing the map to Thrawn. But not much else is really known about her just yet.

What remains to be seen is whether Morgan knew of Palpatine’s hatred for the Nightsisters and his plans to exterminate them. Is she playing a long game in the service of the Empire? Why does she serve Grand Admiral Thrawn?

Much of Morgan Elsbeth’s story and background has yet to be uncovered, and we are hoping that the Ahsoka series will answer some of these questions as we move forward each Tuesday night at 9 pm EST.