The Acolyte Can Fix Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Biggest Storytelling Mistake

The Sith are finally getting their due.


“This isn’t about good or bad,” says Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner Smith), one of many new players introduced in The Acolyte. “This is about power, and who is allowed to use it.”

Aniseya’s statement seems to be the thesis for Lucasfilm’s latest series. In a galaxy that claims to boast multiple points of view, the Star Wars saga has typically told a story of good versus evil, and always from the perspective of the former. As the bulk of the franchise deals with the fight against fascism, a nuanced read wasn’t always required, but that’s set to change with The Acolyte. Not only is it the first live-action story to break away from the limited 60-year scope of the Skywalker Saga, but it’s also turning the tables on the conflict that’s always defined the galaxy.

The Acolyte is set a century before the events of The Phantom Menace. The Jedi Order is at the height of its powers, while their longtime adversaries, the Sith, haven’t been seen for millennia. Of course, that doesn’t mean the dark side isn’t still a threat, and the rise of an assassin named Mae (Amandla Stenberg) will tip the scales in their favor.

“If Star Wars is about the underdog versus the institution, [in The Acolyte] the Jedi are the institution,” says showrunner Leslye Headland. That makes the Sith the underdogs, a rare perspective for any Star Wars show.

The series is still shrouded in mystery, but it’s safe to assume Mae is the Sith acolyte. Thanks to the series’ official synopsis, we know she was once a Jedi padawan studying under the respected Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae). We don’t know what caused Mae to leave the Order, but the two are at odds when she returns to Sol years later. It’s clear Mae is searching for power of her own, and taking a page from an underrated Star Wars villain in the process.

Mae is similar to another former padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Reva.


While this is the first time the Jedi are positioned as antagonists, Mae isn’t the first Star Wars character to question their authority. She’s the latest in a line of dissenters, inheriting the baton from villains like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Reva (Moses Ingram). Also known as the Third Sister, she was a formidable foe whose ties to the Jedi Order established a compelling conflict for the character.

Reva was one of the few to survive Darth Vader’s attack on the Jedi Temple during Order 66, and that tragedy informed a decades-long quest for vengeance. We meet Reva on the warpath, hunting hidden Jedi and chasing leads for one particular target. Her quest for revenge brought the perfect blend of chaos and pathos to Obi-Wan, especially since the other, more established villains in Obi-WanDarth Vader included — felt underwhelming at best.

Unfortunately, the series eventually dropped the ball with Reva too. After spending years walking the path to the dark side, Reva is hastily redeemed in Obi-Wan’s final moments, which cheapened her storyline in every way that matters.

Reva never reached her full potential in Obi-Wan. Can The Acolyte learn from its mistakes?


Reva was a character in real pain who threw logic away to lash out at the world. Like other Star Wars antagonists, she felt betrayed and abandoned by the Jedi Order. But visceral flashbacks, paired with Moses Ingram’s raw performance, contextualized that betrayal better than any previous project. It’s not that she didn’t deserve to be redeemed, but it didn’t make much sense to undercut her before her tale reached a natural conclusion. Frankly, it also stunk to lose such a compelling villain before she could wreak some real havoc on the galaxy.

It may be too late to see Reva get her due, but Mae’s introduction gives Star Wars another chance to get this story right. A former padawan who feels betrayed by the Jedi and ultimately aligns with the Sith is too rich a character to underplay. That The Acolyte has framed Mae as its protagonist means we’ll get to spend much more time with her, and hopefully understand her motivations with more clarity.

Additionally, Headland is working on a potential second season of The Acolyte, so it’s unlikely Mae’s story will be cut short. If all goes to plan, we’ll see the full breadth of a character scorned by the establishment, and follow them closely as they claim their autonomy. The Sith have long been portrayed as pure evil, but Star Wars could finally give its infamous villains the nuance they deserve.

The Acolyte streams June 4 on Disney+.

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