Star Wars

The Acolyte is Already Getting a Classic Star Wars Trope Right

Move over, Skywalkers. New space twins have arrived.

Amandla Stenberg as Mae in The Acolyte
Christian Black/Lucasfilm
The Acolyte

Ever since Yoda murmured “There is another” in The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars has been enamored with the idea of twins. That Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa turned out to be long-lost siblings was a bit of an afterthought on George Lucas’ part — Luke’s twin was originally going to be a different, unintroduced character — but their bond set the tone for a trope that’s echoed throughout the saga.

In the non-canon Legends timeline, there were Jacen and Jaina Solo, the firstborn twins of Leia and Han Solo. They might be the best-known Star Wars twins apart from Leia and Luke, though others have popped up across television, film, and comic canon. Apart from a one-off episode of Star Wars: Visions, however, no story within the saga has made a concerted effort to focus on twins, and how their relationship can be deepened (or complicated) by the Force. No story, that is, until The Acolyte, Lucasfilm’s latest live-action series, and the most radical update to the timeline in decades.

The Acolyte is a prequel in the best sense, in that it takes and twists existing elements of Star Wars lore.


Leslye Headland, The Acolyte’s showrunner, once described the series as “Frozen meets Kill Bill,” and its first two episodes certainly live up to that brief. But The Acolyte is also steeped in plenty of Star Wars lore, and while Headland and her writers worked hard to make the series feel accessible to everyone, there’s no shortage of references and motifs recycled from past Star Wars projects.

The Acolyte remixes elements of The Clone Wars’ most infamous episode, “The Wrong Jedi,” by opening with a shocking crime against the Jedi Order. It’s Osha (Amandla Stenberg) who ends up implicated in the murder of a Jedi Master, not only because she was once a padawan herself, but because witnesses identify her as the perpetrator. The Acolyte’s first episode wastes little time unveiling its big twist: Osha has a twin sister, Mae, who’s been in hiding for 16 years while training with a mysterious Sith Master. It’s their estranged bond that strengthens the series’ central conflict, and perfects the trope that’s defined the Star Wars saga.

That Mae and Osha are twins is a subtle twist, but there’s room to explore this dynamic further.


There may not be a whole lot of twins within the franchise, but the idea of two close-knit characters on opposing sides has always informed the best Star Wars stories. The sequels introduced the concept of a “dyad,” two beings that are spiritually bonded through the Force. A dyad requires both sides of the Force, light and dark, to achieve perfect balance, but only Rey Skywalker and Kylo Ren have embodied that concept in live-action so far, and to say the sequel trilogy fumbled their relationship at times would be an understatement.

It’s unlikely The Acolyte will introduce a new dyad with Osha and Mae, but it wouldn’t be necessary. The series’ two-episode premiere has already established a powerful bond between these characters, and planted them firmly at odds within the Force. By setting up such a strong interpersonal conflict right off the bat, The Acolyte has already succeeded where other Star Wars projects failed to find compelling and urgent human stakes.

The franchise has always been intrigued by the idea of both literal and spiritual twins, but it hasn’t always done that concept justice. Luke and Leia’s relationship was improvised on the fly, while Rey and Kylo’s story was a mess. But after 40 years, The Acolyte has found a way to execute this idea without a hitch. Now we just have to hope the series will stick the landing.

The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+.

Related Tags