Star Wars loves a good cult. Religious imagery goes hand in hand with the Jedi and the Sith, so inevitably extreme obsessive religious sects are bound to pop up. The Rise of Skywalker actually opened on Kylo mowing down Darth Vader cultists — though you wouldn't know it unless you read the movie's Visual Dictionary — and a recent leak reveals how The Mandalorian Season 2 could continue to explore the cult-like behavior inspired by Anakin Skywalker's life and death.
A new fan theory uses a cult featured in a Star Wars novel, combined with a confusing crew gift that leaked online, to possibly answer the single biggest question in the Mandalorian Season 2 trailer — who, exactly, is Sasha Banks playing?
Redditor TheNinjaWhippet first connected the dots between a cult mentioned in the canonical Aftermath trilogy of books and a patch given to the lighting crew of The Mandalorian. The novel introduces a sect known as the Acolytes of the Beyond, a group of non-Force-sensitive cultists who worship fallen Sith. In the events of the story, three Acolytes of the Beyond purchase a red-bladed lightsaber implied to be Darth Vader's, wishing to reunite him with it after death.
These figures are described as pale figures in dark hooded robes, which more or less fits the description of Sasha Banks's character as seen in the trailer for The Mandalorian Season 2. This theory gets even more interesting when it's combined with a supposed crew gift leaked to Reddit a few months ago. This leak is completely unconfirmed, but it seems to show the darksaber crossed with Vader's lightsaber. You can see the theory's reasoning illustrated below.
It may seem a stretch combining an unconfirmed leak with a minor character in a novel, but there's precedent for it. Cobb Vanth, a major part of the Mandalorian Season 2 premiere, got his start in the Aftermath books. So it's not completely outrageous to suggest other characters may be pulled for future episodes.
This also wouldn't be the first time an Acolyte of the Beyond would appear in a live-action Star Wars property. In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary, it was revealed the assassin Ochi was a member of the Acolytes of the Beyond. Ochi was the assassin who killed Rey's parents, including her clone father.
If Sasha Banks's character really is one of these Acolytes, it's possible she may have Vader's lightsaber in her possession. The only saber we've seen so far in The Mandalorian is the darksaber, so another one is desperately needed in order to balance the two opposing sides of the series. Could a rogue Sith cultist provide a much-anticipated Ahsoka Tano with the lightsaber of her former master?
The Inverse Analysis — It seems the Acolytes of the Beyond play a bigger role in Star Wars lore than first thought, so perhaps it's time for them to get an explainer beyond a few sentences hidden in novels and dictionaries. Providing more information on the finer points of the Force-based religions always elevates the worldbuilding of Star Wars as a whole, so it's difficult to see a downside for this. Still, it'd be cool if Sasha Banks was playing Sabine Wren instead.
The Mandalorian Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.