A Look Inside Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

They are heroes and villains, Sith and Jedi, senators and scoundrels, mothers, mercenaries, artists, pilots…they are the women of the Star Wars galaxy, and they drive its stories and saga forward at every level.

Written by Amy Ratcliffe and featuring art from female and non-binary artists, Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy is a beautifully illustrated, fully authorized book profiling 75 fascinating female characters from across films, fiction, comics, animation, and games. Featuring Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Iden Versio, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, Maz Kanata, and many more, each character is explored through key story beats, fresh insights, and behind-the-scenes details.

Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy by Amy Ratcliffe

Get your copy of the book here, and take a peek inside below! We’re sharing Asajj Ventress and Ursa Wren.

Asajj Ventress

Asajj Ventress by Cryssy Cheung from Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

Art by Cryssy Cheung

“It’s only the likes of me, with nothing to lose, who’ll really be prepared to tear the galaxy down and start over.”

Asajj Ventress kills a male bounty hunter who pesters her in Mos Eisley’s cantina and calls her a “pretty bald babe.” A Dathomirian Force-user who first brandishes her dual red lightsabers in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Asajj has been an assassin, a Nightsister, and a bounty hunter—sometimes all at once. How she gets by is fluid, but a constant current is her driving anger and thirst for revenge.

Her history is one of abandonment. The Nightsister clan, her family, is forced to give her up when she’s an infant. The pirate who takes her from Dathomir is killed. The Jedi Master who finds her after she’s orphaned and trains her as his Padawan is shot. In despair and rage, Asajj turns to the dark side. She uses bitterness and a desire for vengeance against anyone who wrongs her. Anger gives her strength, and the Separatist leader Count Dooku takes notice.

He takes Asajj on as his personal assassin and, as a tool and weapon of the Separatists, Asajj relishes tormenting citizens and Jedi alike. She’s a menacing figure who wields her lightsabers and moves with terrifying speed. Frequently tangling with Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, she never quite defeats them, but they are well-matched (in one battle, we see her Force-choke both Jedi at once).

Though Asajj devotes her service to Dooku, the Count is loyal to Darth Sidious, who sees a threat in Asajj’s growing power and orders her killed. She survives, but is again alone.

Asajj Ventress by Sara Kipin from Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

Art by Sara Kipin

The idea of delving into the details of Asajj’s past came from George Lucas. Her backstory was previously explored for other stories, and in fact, the character’s look sprung from unused concept art by Dermot Power for Attack of the Clones. That art found purpose in the “Nightsisters” arc of The Clone Wars; Lucas wanted to show the narrative from her point of view and expand her story. Voice actress Nika Futterman said one of the biggest mysteries of portraying Asajj was figuring out who she was, as Futterman knew just as much or as little as the audience: “I just assumed she had a difficult childhood!” Careful not to play her as a one-note character, she left room to adjust once Asajj’s backstory was revealed.

To start over, Asajj returns home. Mother Talzin, leader of the Nightsisters, welcomes her. The reunion showcases the tight-knit nature of the sisterhood, as Asajj’s fellow clan members are willing to aid her in her quest for retribution against Dooku. She pours all her intensity into killing the Sith Lord, first trying to murder him herself, and then working with Mother Talzin to train the Nightbrother Savage Opress to handle the deed. But Dooku turns the tables and brings death to Dathomir, wiping out the Nightsisters.

Asajj moves on once again, this time with the added burden of guilt. The massacre leaves her deeply shaken, but now more open to the light. She lends assistance to Ahsoka Tano, who once used to call Asajj the “Hairless Harpy,” when the Togruta rebel is on the run after being framed for a crime. She hasn’t fallen so far astray that she can’t put herself in Ahsoka’s place.

Asajj’s trajectory continues in author Christie Golden’s novel Dark Disciple, adapted from elements of unproduced scripts after the end of The Clone Wars series. In the novel, through a begrudging partnership with the Jedi Quinlan Vos, Asajj understands the futility of vengeance and reconnects with estranged emotions of compassion and forgiveness. Sacrificing herself to save Quinlan, she says, “You always have a choice to be better. You always have a choice to pick the right path. Even if that choice comes a little late.”

Ursa Wren

Ursa Wren by Christina Chung from Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy

Art by Christina Chung

“Mandalore must rise by itself.”

When we first meet the Countess of Clan Wren, in Star Wars Rebels, she has a harsh and cold edge. Ursa Wren has been forced to make hard choices to protect her people. In the wake of her daughter Sabine’s defection from the Imperial Academy on Mandalore, Ursa aligns Clan Wren with the Empire to safeguard their lives and honor. But this comes with a price; the gray armor the Wrens wear symbolizes the way the group has been ostracized by their own society. Given this, it’s easy to understand Ursa not being thrilled about her daughter’s return—in the company of Rebels, no less. Sabine’s homecoming, and her effort to enlist the Wrens in the fight against the Empire, brings danger.

Ursa’s resolute conviction makes her an unflappable ruler, but not a heartless one. When the Imperial Viceroy Gar Saxon tries to kill Sabine, Ursa stops him with a blaster bolt through the heart. She does so despite knowing the action means civil war. Her valor is as remarkable as her resolve. Ursa understands the consequences and knows it will be a struggle to find the right leader to take Mandalore into a new era, but she refuses help from the Rebellion: “The same Rebellion that sent you for my help? No, Mandalore must rise by itself.”

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For more, you can find Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy here.

© & TM LUCASFILM LTD. Used Under Authorization.

Amy Ratcliffe

Amy Ratcliffe

Amy Ratcliffe is the managing editor of Nerdist and a contributor to StarWars.com, and has written for outlets such as Star Wars Insider and IGN. She’s a host at Star Wars Celebration and cohosts the Lattes with Leia podcast. When she's not visiting a galaxy far, far away, she lives in Los Angeles.
Amy Ratcliffe

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1 Comment

  • Aliaa Abdel-Gawad October 10, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I am so very excited for this book, and I admit feeling jealous of those who attended NYCC, and were able to purchase it early. I so hope it will be received (on order with you!) shortly before or on 10/30. Cannot wait to have, and hug! :), this book!


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