Movie Reviews

3 Ways The Acolyte's Sith Lord Changes Lightsaber Canon

Summary

  • Manny Jacinto joins Star Wars as a Sith Lord in The Acolyte, introducing new lightsaber lore.
  • Cortosis, a rare metal that shorts out lightsabers, makes its live-action debut.
  • The Sith Lord’s lightsaber form combines Form VII, Juyo, and the forbidden Trakata form, while his lightsaber has a detachable second hilt for added combat advantage.



The Acolyte‘s new Sith Lord has subtly rewritten lightsaber lore in some tremendously exciting ways. There’s a sense in which Star Wars has shown an admirable degree of restraint when it comes to Sith Lords; it’s been 22 years since the franchise introduced a new Sith Lord in live-action (and most Sith Lords in canon have only been referenced in comics or novels, rarely seen). Now, though, The Acolyte has introduced Manny Jacinto as a Sith Lord in the High Republic Era, some 100 years before the Skywalker saga.

Little is known about Manny Jacinto’s mysterious Sith Lord at this point. Although he initially called himself Qimir, there’s no reason to assume that’s his real name; Lucasfilm is officially calling him the Stranger, deliberately avoiding using a “Darth” moniker (likely because it’s a familiar one). What is clear, though, is that the debut of this new Sith Lord has added a lot to Star Wars‘ lightsaber lore; here are all the reveals and retcons so far.


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3 Cortosis Has Made Its First Live-Action Debut

A major lightsaber weakness is now canon

Star Wars has officially introuced a new lightsaber weakness, a rare metal ore named cortosis that causes lightsabers to short out. Originally created by legendary Star Wars author Timothy Zahn, cortosis first appeared in Michael A. Stackpole’s novel I, Jedi back in 1988. Although those original stories aren’t considered canon, cortosis has appeared in the Disney era; in fact, one ancient anti-Sith cult developed a sword made of cortosis, which they used as the perfect anti-lightsaber weapon.


Now cortosis has made its official live-action debut, but it’s notable that it is subtly different to the comics – and, in fact, is a little truer to the Legends version. It’s been adjusted to ensure this version of cortosis aligns with George Lucas’ vision, as Leslye Headland explained.

“It was very important that it be breakable, that it basically not be super hard. It’s why Jecki can get the helmet off him so quickly. It’s kind of a brittle thing. There’s also a limited resource of it, which is why he doesn’t have a whole suit of armor, and it only works for maybe a minute. We worked really hard on what it would look like, because we didn’t want it to look too powerful or too goofy.”

Lucas always wanted there to be precious few lightsaber weaknesses, so this needed to be carefully handled.


2 The Stranger Brings Back A Legends Lightsaber Form

And possibly retcons another

The Sith holding his lightsaber in The Acolyte season 1 episode 5
Image via Disney+

The Sith Lord’s lightsaber form is particularly interesting; it’s primarily based on Form VII, Juyo, which was largely forbidden by the Jedi until the time of the prequels when Mace Windu reinvented it. But Lucasfilm has confirmed another form influences his combat style as well, one lifted straight from Legends; Trakata, which involves momentarily deactivating your lightsaber in combat to wrong-foot your opponent. This is likely one of the “forbidden forms” mentiioned in Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage, predominantly used by the Sith.


This is the first time Trakata has been seen in canon, although it was set up in episodes of Star Wars: Visions. It’s a very dangerous form, because Qimir is momentarily undefended and therefore vulnerable. It’s likely Trakata is only a feasible tactic because the Stranger also has cortosis to protect him.

1 The Sith Lord Has A New Type Of Lightsaber

His lightsaber is perfect for a Sith

In addition, the Sith Lord has a new type of lightsaber – one that is perfect for the treachery of the Sith. His longer lightsaber hilt conceals a detachable second hilt, one that triggers a shorter dagger-like blade similar to the shotos used by Ahsoka Tano during the Clone Wars. This gives him an unexpected edge in combat, as tragically proven when he uses it against Jecki Lon in The Acolyte episode 5.


This technique appears to indicate that the Stranger was quite far advanced in his Jedi training when he left the Order, because he’s able to briefly switch to Jar’Kai, the form associated with double-wielding. This isn’t his natural technique, though, and he only adopts it briefly when it will give him the advantage of surprise. The Stranger’s default is still a single blade – but The Acolyte has confirmed he can manage far more.

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