Star Wars

The Acolyte Looks Like it Will Bring Jedi Back to Basics

Less is more.


Lightsabers, an “elegant weapon for a more civilized age,” are the universally recognized symbol of Star Wars. They’re among the most feared weapons in the galaxy, are historically tied to the struggle between the Jedi and the Sith, and are a must-have accessory for any merch-collecting fan. But in recent years, lightsabers have become few and far between as the Star Wars universe leans away from the Force and towards the travails of the New Republic.

That’s about to change with The Acolyte, the upcoming Disney+ series set 150 years before the prequels. With that new era comes a new attitude toward lightsabers, one that restores one of the Jedi’s core tenets.

In a new teaser for the series, fans got a sneak peek at a fight between Amandla Stenberg’s mysterious assassin, Mae, and Carrie Ann Moss’ Jedi Master Indara. Check out the clip below.

While Moss is an action star, Indara isn’t as combative as most Jedi when threatened. She doesn’t touch her lightsaber even as Mae threatens her life, instead choosing to simply dodge Mae’s attacks until she has no other choice but to activate her weapon.

Lightsaber users in the Disney+ era, like Luke Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, will engage their lightsabers at the slightest threat, and there was no shortage of sabers on display in animated shows like The Clone Wars. But the Jedi were conceived as pacifists, experts in de-escalation who stopped conflicts with violence only when necessary.

This is especially prevalent in the High Republic era, where The Acolyte is set. As Charles Soule wrote in the novel Light of the Jedi, “Lightsabers were designed to end conflicts. They were designed to injure no more than necessary, and in the horrible circumstance where death was the only possible outcome, they would kill quickly.”

Master Indara isn’t one to bring a lightsaber to a knife fight unless it’s absolutely necessary.


That practice fell out of favor later in both the Star Wars timeline and our own, and now whenever a lightsaber comes out, odds are good that at least a dozen hapless grunts will lose their lives. But The Acolyte looks like a welcome return to basics. As exciting as lightsabers are, they’re far more thrilling when characters feel driven to use them in truly dire circumstances. And the Jedi are more interesting when they value all life, even if that life is trying to murder them.

Maybe The Acolyte will have fewer battles and lightsaber duels than Ahsoka or Obi-Wan Kenobi, but conflict should have meaning. And while The Acolyte’s story is set to change how we look at the Sith, a reminder of what the Jedi are really about would be welcome too.

The Acolyte premieres June 4 on Disney+.

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