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Star Wars Theory Reveals The Acolyte's Villains Were Secretly Set Up 12 Years Ago (& They're Not Sith)


  • The Acolyte’s villains may not be true Sith, potentially imposters while the true Dark Lords remain in the shadows.
  • The concept of Sith impostors draws from Legends, suggesting a new threat targeting Jedi in the High Republic Era.
  • The actions of Sith pretenders in The Acolyte could draw out the true Sith Lords, possibly revealing themselves and killing their inferiors to eliminate the risk of exposure.

A new Star Wars theory suggests the villains of The Acolyte were set up 12 years ago in Legends, going beyond the true Dark Lords of the Sith. As established in trailers for the upcoming Acolyte series set 100 years before The Phantom Menace, a new threat is killing Jedi across the galaxy. However, the true culprits may not be the kind of Sith audiences are likely expecting and will potentially be led to believe.

In The Acolyte, Jedi Knights of the High Republic Era are being slain by some new foe. With the top suspect being the former Padawan of an esteemed Jedi Master, a team of Knights and their apprentices are assembled to investigate these murders. Although trailers have confirmed that this will bring these Jedi face-to-face with a helmeted and red lightsaber-wielding villain, they might not be a true Sith Lord. To that end, an intriguing theory based in Legends suggests a different kind of Sith will be behind The Acolyte’s murders.


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Star Wars Legends Reveals There Were Many Sith Impostors

Those Who Didn’t Follow Darth Bane’s Rule of Two

Emperor Palpatine and Sith Lords in Star Wars.

In 2012, James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis novel revealed the backstory of Palpatine’s Sith master as well as his master, Darth Tenebrous. Adhering to Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, Tenebrous and Plagueis were the true Sith Lords, the single master and apprentice in accordance to the strict lineage envisioned by Bane, who sought to protect the Sith and their mission to destroy the Jedi and bring order to the galaxy, rather than destroying themselves due to in-fighting and neverending power plays. However, the Darth Plagueis novel confirms the Rule of Two didn’t mean that there weren’t other dark side users.

According to Plagueis himself, there were plenty of pretenders, impostors, and would-be Sith across the galaxy who chose not to recognize the sanctity of Bane’s Rule of Two. However, only Tenebrous and Plagueis were the true Sith Lords of their time, a lineage Palpatine would enter not long after Plagueis killed Tenebrous in accordance with Sith tradition. However, even Plagueis and Tenebrous were coming to understand that the time of the Rule of Two was coming to an end. Even Tenebrous himself had a secret second apprentice whom Plagueis wouldn’t discover (and defeat) until after his master’s death.

The Acolyte’s Villains Could Be Sith Impostors, Not True Sith

Murdering Jedi While The True Sith Remain Hidden

Although Luceno’s Darth Plagueis novel is considered non-canon following Disney’s Star Wars purchase in 2012, several elements have made their way back to the official canon in various ways. Likewise, it’s worth noting that The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland is confirmed as a big fan of Legends and the Expanded Universe of Star Wars. It should prove to be very interesting to see what might be revealed in the upcoming show set in the same period when Tenebrous and/or Plagueis were most likely active, especially considering both of them were aliens with long lifespans.

Additionally, the concept of pretenders or “Lesser Sith” is also interesting due to the upcoming show’s investigation into several Jedi deaths and the villain at the end of The Acolyte’s trailers who could very well be a completely new character. Perhaps they and those working with them will be revealed as Sith impostors. This would certainly help maintain the notion that the true Dark Lords of the Sith remained hidden in the shadows during this time period at the end of the High Republic Era.

Could The Acolyte’s Villains Draw The True Sith Out?

Will We See Darth Tenebrous or Palpatine’s Master Darth Plagueis?

Cover art from James Luceno's Darth Plagueis novel.

That being said, perhaps the actions of Sith pretenders in The Acolyte could very well be what draws the true Sith Lords out, looking to eliminate rivals who could risk exposure and undo all of their carefully laid plans. At any rate, Legends does set up a key precedent the established canon could very well use in this new Star Wars show. Just because the dark side had a Rule of Two doesn’t mean it was followed by all who chose to embrace the dark side of the Force.

The Acolyte

premieres on June 4 on Disney+.

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