Lost Legends

The Acolyte Just Brought Back an Obscure Force Loophole

Forget space wizards. We’ve got space lizards.

Lucasfilm
Lost Legends

The Acolyte’s Big Bad was finally unmasked, and in case you haven’t caught up, all those fan theories were right: the character who disappeared right before Mae’s Sith master appeared did, in fact, turn out to be under that toothy helmet. And he came prepared — his helmet and gauntlets were made of cortosis, an ultra-rare material that can short out lightsabers.

That’s not all the protection he brought. One of the most intimidating elements of his helmet is still unexplained, but the answers could lie with one of Star Wars’ most fearsome villains.

Lost Legends is an Inverse series about the forgotten lore of our favorite stories.

Does Qimir’s helmet hide something darker within it?

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When Sol confronts the Sith before he’s unmasked as Qimir, he questions his insistence on staying hidden. “Show your face,” Sol demands. “And let you read my thoughts? No. No. No,” Qimir says.

So the cortosis helmet also has the Magneto-like power to block Jedi telepathy and mind tricks. Before this reveal, the only way to negate these powers in modern Star Wars canon was to be a member of a species immune to Force manipulation. For example, in The Phantom Menace, Watto gleefully tells Qui-Gon Jinn, “I’m a Toydarian! Mind tricks don’t work on me.”

But Qimir looks as human as most of The Acolyte’s cast, so unless he somehow managed to harness the innate power of such species, there must be another mechanic at work. Luckily, the old, non-canon Legends timeline offers a perfect explanation.

Before Grand Admiral Thrawn was the villain of Rebels and Ahsoka, he was the villain of the Heir to the Empire trilogy by Timothy Zahn. In the first novel, Grand Admiral Thrawn kept strange pets called ysalamiri, reptiles from the planet Myrkr with the ability to suppress the use of the Force. By keeping a ysalamir nearby, he ensured no Force attacks could harm him.

In Rebels, ysalamiri are seen sculpted on the wall of Thrawn’s headquarters.

Lucasfilm

But while ysalamiri project a wide, invisible forcefield around them, Qimir’s power is contained in his helmet. Has he managed to synthesize the power of the ysalamiri? If so, why hasn’t that technology popped up elsewhere? Perhaps the Jedi subsequently destroyed it, as it would be too great a threat against them.

There’s another way ysalamiri could be protecting Qimir. In the aggressively subtitled 2000 novel The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide II: Ruin, ysalamiri skin is sold as protection from the Force. The novel eventually reveals this to be a scam, as only living ysalamiri work. But modern canon could simply tweak the story and make ysalamiri skin an effective lining of Qimir’s helmet.

Maybe, over the final three episodes of The Acolyte, we’ll get an explanation as to just how Qimir pulled his defense off. If cortosis can suddenly make its live-action debut, even mystical forest lizards can be bumped up to canonical status.

The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+.

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