12 Years Later, a Forgotten Sith Could Bridge a Gap in the Star Wars Timeline
Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Venamis the Wise?
The Star Wars timeline has some notable blank spots. In modern canon, the era between the High Republic (a span of about three centuries several decades before the Skywalkers came on the scene, when Jedi rule was at its peak) and the prequel trilogy is relatively untouched, while in the old, non-canon Legends timeline, the entire millennium is summed up as “The Great Peace of the Republic.”
However, that’s all about to change with The Acolyte, an upcoming Disney+ set in the waning years of the High Republic, or about a century before the prequels begin. The bulk of The Acoclyte will likely be a new and independent story, but a key figure in Palpatine’s rise to power could appear in the series to connect it to the main storyline — and maybe even explain Palpatine’s controversial return.
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In James Luceno’s 2012 novel Darth Plagueis, Palpatine’s infamous master slays his master, Darth Tenebrous. His betrayal is no surprise — the Sith’s Rule of Two’s prophecises that an apprentice will always betray their master — but what is a surprise is that Plagueis then discovers Darth Venamis, another Sith who Tenebrous trained in secret in case Plagueis fell short of expectations. Like Tenebrous, Venamis was a round-headed alien known as a Bith, which made Plagueis jealous of the dynamic this other apprentice shared with his master.
When Plagueis confronted Venamis the Bith was quickly defeated, but that was just the beginning of his story. Venamis kept a secret list of Force-sensitive individuals who could make possible apprentices, and while we may not know much about The Acolyte, we do know the dynamics of Sith apprenticeship will play a major role. A list like Venamis’ would be the perfect plot point, much like the Holocron of Force-sensitive children Cal Kestis sought to protect in Jedi: Fallen Order.
Venamis’ influence didn’t end there. The Bith was kept comatose by Plagueis with the use of a plant aptly named the “coma-bloom,” and for decades, Plagueis used the comatose Venamis as a guinea pig for medical experiments as he sought immortality.
These experiments could be the perfect way to tie The Acolyte together with the broader Star Wars narrative as a whole. “The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise” has become something of a meme in the Star Wars community, so putting him on television may seem like an odd fit. But a new Sith could easily fill the same role of highlighting how far the Sith are willing to go for power.
Experiments into cloning and immortality rippled throughout The Mandalorian, and seeding this science more than a century in the past could make Palpatine’s return in Rise of Skywalker less jarring. It could also give The Acolyte some influence on the modern canon, both of which would benefit the franchise.
Darth Venamis may be a random Sith kicking around Darth Plagueis’ spotlight novel, but his purpose as a backup could come in handy in The Acolyte. The show is trying to exist in the Star Wars galaxy without including a slew of familiar faces like The Mandalorian or Ahsoka, and that’s a noble goal. But it would be nice to see these scheming Sith have an impact on the broader timeline, and their sinister medical experiments would accomplish just that.