There may not have been a new episode of The Clone Wars to expand from last week, in preparation for Episode 4.19 “Massacre” and the return of the Nightsisters, Savage Opress, and Darth Maul, we shall explore several elements of the Expanded Universe from last season’s Nightsister Arc to get us excited for this Friday!
The witches of Dathomir have always been one of the most intriguing groups of Force-wielders created in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They have been featured in countless stories and games before playing a key role in Episode 3.12 ”Nightsisters” of The Clone Wars TV series.
The novel, The Courtship of Princess Leia, was the first time that we were introduced to the Force-witches of Dathomir and the Nightsister clan, but it wasn’t the first time we ever saw the Nightsisters. In the 1985 made-for-TV movie, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, the Witch-Queen Charal was later retconned to be a Nightsister and this became the first appearance of the dark force-welding witches.
In The Clone Wars, the light-side Force wielding witches of Dathomir are never mentioned since the Dathomir in the show is made out to be a world made up of Nightsisters and Zabrak Nightbrothers, a new addition to the Dathomiri canon.
It is interesting to note that the Nightsisters in The Clone Wars do not ride the wild Rancors like the witches do in the Expanded Universe. As mentioned in The Courtship of Princess Leia, the witches domesticate the wild Rancors of their world, but Nightsisters wouldn’t ride Rancors because they abuse them with Dark Magic and the Rancors would usually run off.
The Nightsister temple we see in these episodes could possibly be the ruins of the ancient Brotherhood of Darkness Sith Academy that was established on that world near the end of the New Sith Wars. This academy was mentioned in the novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction and it would make sense for a group of dark-side wielding force users to set their base of operations on the ancient training ground for Sith Warriors.
In The Clone Wars, Dathomir is shown as an alien reddish rocky world, whereas in various guides such as Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds, The Essential Atlas and games such as Star Wars: Galaxies: An Empire Divided, the world is a lush, green jungle planet.
This inconsistency could be explained as different views of the planet during different seasons. In the Star Wars Galaxies: ‘Memory Book’, the world is also shown as a reddish planet which is similar to the planet we see in The Clone Wars.
Prior to these episodes, Darth Maul was believe to have been from Iridonia, but with the introduction of the Nightbrothers, a clan of male Zabraks used by the Nightsisters as mates, and the revelation that Maul was once a Nightbrother, this is an interesting addition to the EU. It is safe to assume that Iridonian explorers came across Dathomir many years ago only to be enslaved by the Nightsisters.
Males have always been subordinates on Dathomir, but all species on Dathomir were believed to have been human before these episodes. As detailed in Courtship, The planet was once a penal colony to prisoners from the human Paecian Empire. The rogue Jedi Knight Allya who crashed on world and formed the society of the witches was also a human.
This is the first time that it has been confirmed that Zabraks and humans can mate and have inter-species children.
Asajj Ventress’ past is explored in detail in Episode 3.12 “Nightsisters” and it is fairly similar to the back-story was first explored in Republic 60: Hate and Fear, with a few inconsistencies.
In The Clone Wars, it is shown that as an infant Asajj was taken from a family of Nightsisters and not her original Rattataki warlord parents from Hate and Fear. In the episode she is shown being taken by a slaver who is later killed by Weequay pirates on Rattatak, where she was raised.
Rattatak is a planet torn by war and warlords make a living fighting each other. It is safe to assume the Weequay raiders we see attack Asajj Ventress’ village in ”Nightsisters” were a mercenary group hired by one of the Rattatak warlords.
Jedi Knight Ky Narec makes Asajj his apprentice after she shows an affinity to the Force and this is similar to Hate and Fear. In The Clone Wars, she is depicted with two green-bladed lightsabers before joining Dooku, but in Hate and Fear she uses a blue-bladed lightsaber during her Jedi training. In Star Wars: Clone Wars Chapters 6 & 7, she wields one green and one blue-bladed lightsaber.
It is also interesting to note that Ventress is seen with hair in “Nightsisters” even though the Rattataki are naturally hairless.
Darth Maul has made many appearances in the Expanded Universe post-mortem. In The Force Unleashed, Galen Marek’s personal training droid PROXY used Darth Maul’s holographic image in an attempt to kill his own master.
In Resurrection, a short story in Star Wars Tales 9, Darth Maul is resurrected by the Prophets of the Dark Side through Sith alchemy and Darth Vader duels the Maul doppelganger to the death on Kalakar Six.
In Phantom Menaces, a short story in Star Wars Tales 17, Luke Skywalker encounters a hologram of Darth Maul on Iridonia. Drell Kahmf had recovered and resuscitated Darth Maul’s brain after the Duel in Theed until Luke finally kills Darth Maul by flipping the switch to the device that was keeping his mind conscious.
Finally, in the comic Old Wounds, unfortunately deemed as non-canon, Maul had survived the Duel in Theed and had been outfitted in digitigrade droid legs. He had been spending twenty odd years hunting down Obi-Wan for revenge, finally confronting Kenobi on Tatooine where Owen Lars was the one who killed Maul with a blaster bolt to the head.
The art style in Old Wounds would later inspire the large horns we see Savage Oppress sport in The Clone Wars.
It should be noted that in the comic Darth Maul 4, Darth Maul came across the Nighsister Mighella who was the personal body guard of Black Sun Vigo, Alexi Garyn. With the revelation that Maul was in fact a Nightbrother from Dathomir, it gives their meeting whole new sub-context.
Maul recognized Mighella as a Nightsister even though they were rare to see outside of Dathomir. When she says that Maul is like her, but something other, was she referring to the fact that he was a dark force wielder or that he was also from Dathomir.
Oh and just for the record, I think the Hate Leads to Lollipops story in Star Wars Tales 9, about Lil’ Maul being sent to the Happy Nerf Herder high security day care for boys is official canon! Such a fun story… Maul couldn’t have always been angry and revenge-filled.
Thank you for joining us this week in Expanding the Clone Wars and make sure you join us next time when we return to Dathomir in Episode 4.19 “Massacre”
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Darth Maul 4, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds, Hate Leads to Lollipops, Old Wounds, Phantom Menaces, Republic 60: Hate and Fear, Resurrection, Star Wars: Clone Wars Chapters 6 & 7, The Courtship of Princess Leia, The Essential Atlas, Star Wars: Galaxies: An Empire Divided, The Force Unleashed.