Star Wars

The Acolyte Just Brought Back a Forgotten Lightsaber Weakness

Break the rules.

The Acolyte

The lightsaber is a funny weapon. When it’s up against another lightsaber, the combat is basically just a swordfight with more sparks and swooshy noises. But its ability to cut through almost anything makes it incredibly difficult to defend against while using any other weapon against it.

To avoid getting too predictable, Star Wars has developed workarounds. The most popular is beskar, an all-but-invincible metal that Mandalorians use to make their armor. In The Mandalorian, Din Djarin used his armor and a beskar staff to defend himself against Moff Gideon and the Darksaber. But in The Acolyte Episode 5, we saw another way to defend against lightsabers. It may have looked new, but it actually dates back more than 25 years.

The Sith Master’s gauntlets made lightsabers spark and short out.


Episode 5, “Night,” was basically one long fight sequence, but with a twist. As the Jedi approached Mae’s mysterious Sith master, he deflected their blows with gauntlets and his helmet. This not only blocked their blows, but shorted out their sabers for a few crucial seconds.

That’s because the master’s armor was made of cortosis, another rare metal that’s appeared in Star Wars multiple times, both in and out of the modern canon. It first appeared in Michael Stackpole’s 1998 novel I, Jedi and has popped up sporadically in Star Wars books ever since, but this was its first appearance in live-action.

A possessed Doctor Aphra wielding the Cortosis Null Blade in a Star Wars comic.

Marvel Comics

A recent prominent appearance came in the Doctor Aphra comics, when Aphra, who found herself possessed by an AI called the Spark Eternal, finds the Null Blade, a sword made of cortosis that manages to short out the lightsaber of Darth Vader himself. So while this material may be brand new to Star Wars TV, it’s been a problem for heroes and villains on the page for decades.

That doesn’t mean you should expect it to start showing up everywhere. Cortosis is one of the rarest materials in the galaxy, and the Jedis’ complete surprise at seeing their sabers short out suggests that was the case during the High Republic days too. Mae’s master presumably used his Sith knowledge and connections to find some, and maybe Grogu will add to his beskar chainmail with some cortosis mesh, but don’t expect the material to suddenly show up everywhere.

Lightsabers are a remarkably powerful weapon, but every weapon needs a weakness. Like the Light and Dark sides of the Force, it’s all about balance.

The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+.

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