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Ahsoka Isn't Star Wars' First Time Unearthing Zombies

Contains spoilers for "Ahsoka" Season 1, Episode 8 — "The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord"

For too long, "Star Wars" has been synonymous with galactic warfare, lightsabers, aliens, Jedi, and authoritarian warlords. While some of these concepts are inherently scary, they overshadow the spookier and lesser-explored elements of the galaxy, far, far away. The franchise has a history of occasionally dipping its toes into horror, but it's rare to see in Disney's live-action properties. Fortunately, "Ahsoka" Season 1 has brought scare fare to the forefront by unleashing witchcraft and zombies on our heroes.

This is especially true in the Season 1 finale, which sees Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) forced to contend with zombie Night Troopers. In this instance, the creatures are resurrected thanks to the Great Sisters' black magic. However, casting forbidden spells isn't the only way to reanimate corpses in this galaxy — weird science and plagues have also contributed to zombie infestations throughout the years. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the other times that "Star Wars" brought the dead back to life.

The Nightsisters have a history of using zombie minions

The "Ashoka" Season 1 finale isn't the first time a zombie has appeared in this franchise. Episode 4, "Fallen Jedi," reveals that the mysterious Marrok is an undead husk who may be powered by the Chant of Resurrection, a form of DathomirIan magic that's used to reanimate the dead. The inclusion of zombie Night Troopers in the finale more or less confirms the validity of this theory.

Of course, "Ahsoka" isn't the first time that Dathomirian witches have cast spells to bring back the dead in the throes of combat. "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" sees them summon zombies to aid them against General Grievous (Matthew Wood) when he shows up to destroy their clan. Similarly, the "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" video game includes scenes in which the player must combat undead versions of the Nightsisters.

Magic is one way to resurrect the dead in this universe. That said, some cultures in the galaxy far, far away embrace other methods regarding the art of zombie-making — and Ahsoka has witnessed them firsthand.

The Clone Wars pits the heroes against zombie space bugs

The Nightsisters aren't the only powerful beings who exploit dead bodies in the galaxy far, far away. In "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," Karina the Great (Dee Bradley Baker), Queen of Genosis, uses parasites known as Brain Worms to resurrect her planet's fallen insect warriors. Naturally, this creates some problems for Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter).

The creatures debut in Season 2's "Legacy of Terror" episode, which centers around our heroes as they try to survive Karina's zombie hordes while searching for a missing Jedi in a dark, claustrophobic lair. The following episode, "Brain Invaders," meanwhile, sees the Brain Worms infect some clone troopers, forcing Ahsoka to contain the outbreak so that it doesn't spread throughout the galaxy.

"Clone Wars" certainly isn't short of terrifying episodes that give "Ahsoka" a run for its money in the zombie department. However, the scariest undead adventures can be found in the darker corners of the galaxy.

Project Blackwing unleashes a Sith zombie plague

From Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" to H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West — Reanimator," some of history's most influential sci-fi and horror tales have warned us about the dangers of meddling with matters of life and death. The "Star Wars" franchise has touched on this concept too, perhaps most famously through Project Blackwing, a Sith-orchestrated plot that birthed a zombie contagion.

This experiment was developed by the Galactic Empire's Imperial Military Department of Advanced Weapons in a secret base on Dandoran. The project involved Sith scientists blending science and alchemy with the goal of unlocking the secret to immortality. Unfortunately for them, the experiment backfired and turned the subjects involved into undead monsters who showed no allegiance to the Separatists or Imperialists.

Project Blackwing is at the heart of Joe Schreiber's "Red Harvest" and "Death Trooper" novels, which are prime examples of "Star Wars" stories embracing pure, unadulterated nightmare fuel. Oftentimes, "Star Wars" blends horror elements into broader sci-fi adventure stories, but Schreiber's fiction prioritizes terror over everything else and explores the horrific effects of the Sith experiments. Similarly, the "Star Wars Commander" game also examines the virus in question, resulting in players having to contend with undead Stormtroopers.