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Long ago, a cosmic object fell to our planet, Aether, exploding with great force. A rift was torn in time and space, and a strange power flowed over the world. Where once there was one Aether, there were now two. One of light...and one of shadow, each existing in its own dimension.


Dark Aether was a planet that existed within a parallel dimension, named as such because it was a twisted, lethal version of the planet Aether, which exists in the "normal" dimension.


Dark Aether was born when a Leviathan from Phaaze crashed into Aether; the cataclysmic reaction of both Phazon and the unique planetary energy created a dimensional rift and "split" Aether into two planets. Dark Aether was home to the Ing, an aggressive race of intelligent shadow beings. Dark Aether was only accessible from Aether by Dark Portals, some of which were created by Luminoth technology. The Ing, on the other hand, could invade the opposite planet by creating portals at will.

Dark Aether's hazardous atmosphere was damaging to any beings that originate from the normal "light" dimension, such as humans, Luminoth, Space Pirates, etc.; simply stepping foot on the planet could quickly kill "light" inhabitants or deteriorate normal machinery unless precautions were taken, though there are exceptions to this, such as Airthorns, Lumites and even Dark Samus. The reverse is also the same, with the Ing being unable to survive in the light "dimension" on their own, and must possess "light" beings, turning them into Darklings, in order to invade.

Dark Aether and its counterpart not only shared the same area of space, but also shared the limited planetary energy. As a result, the two planets were equally weak and unstable; in order for one planet to reach complete stability, it would need both its own and its opposite's planetary energy. Thus, Aether's and Dark Aether's dominant species were at war with one another for approximately 50 years until Bounty Hunter Samus Aran, who had arrived on Aether on a Galactic Federation mission unrelated to the war, fought on the side of the Luminoth. Samus successfully removed the remaining planetary energy from Dark Aether, destroying the dark planet in the process.

It is interesting to note that Phazon was initially found only within Dark Aether (before Space Pirates began bringing it to their base on Aether). Luminoth Lore suggests the Leviathan, along with its entire load of Phazon, was teleported to Dark Aether at the moment of impact. Judging by the enormous crater on Dark Aether, the Leviathan crashed there and not on Light Aether. The Lore data further states that as the Luminoth emerged from their shelters, neither the Phazon meteor nor any substantial crater could be seen. Planetary scans of Dark Aether reveal a large crater and deep cracks running through half of its surface. 



Samus emerges on Dark Aether for the first time.

Sky Temple Grounds[]

Just like the light Aether counterpart, it is the surrounding area of the Sky Temple. Most of it is blocked off by Ingworms, however, preventing Samus from exploring it completely.

Dark Agon Wastes[]

The dark version of Agon Wastes is mostly the same. The Ing are not very active on this area, due to them being initially unaware of the threat Samus poses for them. The temple guardian of the area is Amorbis.

Dark Torvus Bog[]

The dark version of Torvus Bog is a poisonous bog. All the waters of Dark Torvus Bog are poisonous making it twice as dangerous. It is also teeming with Ing activity after their defeat at Agon Wastes. The temple guardian of the area is the Chykka Larva, which quickly metamorphosis into the Chykka Adult.

Ing Hive[]

The dark version of the Sanctuary Fortress is the hive of the Ing. As it is their home and they are now totally aware of the growing threat Samus poses, the Ing are the most active in this area. The temple guardian of the area is Quadraxis.

Sky Temple[]

The final area of the game. The Sky Temple requires 10 keys to access (Samus needs only 9, since one of the keys, that of Luminoth champion A-Kul, is already in place) and is the home of the first and eldest Ing, the ruler of the Ing Horde: Emperor Ing.


Aether and Dark Aether

U-Mos showing the two dimensions splitting.

Dark Aether was home to not only the Ing, but also to Darklings under their thrall. There were robotic entities as well, brought to the planet by both Luminoth and Ing during the war for planetary energy. Below is a list of every robot, enemy or species encountered on Dark Aether, or mentioned to have inhabited but no longer do.

Official data[]

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes manual[]

"Light Aether's poisonous twin is home to the Ing Horde, who are bent on the utter destruction of the Luminoth. The very atmosphere damages Samus's Power Suit--this damage is significantly lessened once she gets the Dark Suit.
Fortunately for Samus, the Luminoth found a way to create Safe Zones of protective light, installing Light Crystals all over Dark Aether's terrain that repel the Ing and give respite from the atmosphere. They also placed many Light Beacons--unlike Light Crystals, these must be energised by a shot from Samus's Power Beam and are unstable. A Light Beam shot will power them for a longer period of time; of course, dark energy can completely snuff out a Light Crystal. While in the protective Safe Zones, Samus will slowly regain energy, but until she upgrades her equipment, she will slowly take damage while in the darkness."

Metroid Prime Trilogy manual[]

Dark Aether
"This is the mirror world of Light Aether, and the terrain is very similar. However, the atmosphere is toxic, and you can be damaged just by being there."

Metroid Prime 2: Dark Echoes Q&A[]

QUESTION: In Dark Aether there is a lot of Phazon. What is the relation between the meteorite which fell on Tallon IV and the one on Aether? To what extent do the Ing have the capacity for knowledge?

ANSWER: Probably to the extent of a highly intelligent shark.[1]

Logbook entry[]

Planet Aether Logbook entries

Scan images for the Planet Aether Logbook entry in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The images of both Aethers have been directly ripped from the cinematics in Echoes, and have a larger palette than most scan images.

Dark Aether

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

Logbook entry

Planet: Dark Aether
Transdimensional duplicate of Planet Aether.
Can't determine origin of Aether's "dark twin." Contains high levels of Phazon ore.
Native bioforms attack on sight.

Development notes[]

The concept of light and dark worlds is stated in interviews to be based on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which also involved two worlds (Light and Dark World in Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Light Aether and Dark Aether in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes) that the main character has to travel between to progress.

Paul Reed came up with the light and dark concept, and worked with Mike Wikan on pitching it to Nintendo. Retro Studios thought this would simplify development as rooms and assets could be reused in a parallel dimension, but this proved to be more ambitious than the development team thought. Some areas were blocked off by obstructions (such as Ingworms) in Dark Aether if they did not translate well to that world, and to save time.[1]

Initial concepts for Dark Aether had it in near-total darkness, with textures remaining the same from Light Aether, but appearing fractured. The only sources of light would be Samus herself or Light Crystals and Beacons, with objects becoming more visible as she approached. Samus would have a teardrop-shaped spotlight making whatever was in her vicinity visible. Prototypes of this concept proved impossible to play, and it was not continued.[2]



Dark Aether's unused moon.

  • After Samus recovers the planetary energy in the Dark Agon Wastes, Dark Torvus Bog and Ing Hive, the sky in the respective areas becomes red, unlike the normal purple, and generally appears less stable than previously. This effect is the reverse of what happens to the Aether counterparts of these areas after their energy is restored. However, this cannot be seen in the Sky Temple Grounds or in the Sky Temple, even after the last planetary energy is recovered.
  • Dark Aether is the first of five planets to be destroyed by Samus Aran, the following four being Phaaze, Zebes, SR388 and ZDR. (If one were to consider Dark Aether's destruction, it would equate to the destruction of a dimension.)
  • While Luminoth Lore states that the Leviathan was teleported to Dark Aether at the moment of impact, it claims that there was no substantial sign of the crash. However this is contradicted by later statements that claim the Leviathan's impact caused major atmospheric changes that scorched the Agon Wastes.
  • Dark Aether resembles the plotline of the Super Mario Bros movie, also dealing with two worlds (Earth and Dinohatten in Super Mario Bros., Light Aether and Dark Aether in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes). Coincidentally, both Dinohatten and Dark Aether were created as a direct result of a celestial object violently colliding with the planet (the meteor rumored to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs in Super Mario Bros., and the Leviathan in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes).
  • Interestingly, the skybox is the same for all areas (with the exception of the previously mentioned red skyboxes).
  • An unused version of the hologram seen in the Command Center of the Space Pirate mining facility, found in the files of the Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Bonus Disc, shows Dark Aether with a large moon. In the final game, this data was removed.
  • There is a dark dimension referred to as the Dark Aether in the 2020 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's zombies mode.


  1. ^ Kiwi Talkz. "#114 - Kynan Pearson Interview (Metroid Prime 2, Donkey Kong, Level Design, Management etc.)". YouTube. November 12, 2021. Retrieved May 16, 2022. (starts at 8:42)
  2. ^ Kiwi Talkz. "#116 - Jack Mathews Interview (Metroid Prime Trilogy, Prototypes, Business, Armature Studios etc.)". YouTube. November 26, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2022. (starts at 12:02)