The Acolyte Raises A 19-Year-Old Sith Question That May Never Be Solved


Star Wars: The Acolyte raises a 19-year-old question about the Jedi’s ancient war with the Sith. Set during the High Republic era – an era of the Star Wars timeline that takes place a few centuries before the Star Wars prequel trilogy – The Acolyte provides vital context for why the Jedi fell at the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Star Wars has previously made it clear that the Jedi were arrogant, proud, and too deeply embroiled in the galaxy’s politics, but the Jedi’s millennia-spanning feud with the Sith played an important role as well.

Though the Jedi of the prequel era believed – or were led to believe – that the Sith had been extinct for over a millennium, The Acolyte seems to prove them wrong. In The Acolyte episode 5, “Night,” Qimir (Manny Jacinto) is revealed to be Mae’s dark side Master. Though the series has yet to fully confirm whether Qimir is a legitimate Sith Lord – he has no Darth name – his violent fight with the Jedi, and Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in particular, highlights one of the biggest conundrums faced by the Jedi Order.

Sol’s Decision With Qimir Mirrors Mace’s With Palpatine

Qimir is an exceptionally ruthless fighter. He easily slaughters a dozen Jedi, using only the Force, his dual red lightsabers, and his cortosis-infused gauntlet and helmet. Sol is the only one who truly manages to get the upper hand against him, nearly losing himself in the process. There’s a moment in the episode where it becomes clear that Sol intends to fatally strike Qimir, ending the threat of this so-called Sith Lord once and for all, before he is reminded by his former Padawan, Osha (Amandla Stenberg), that killing is not the Jedi way.

Sol eventually relents, coming back to the light, citing the Jedi Code, reminding himself that the Jedi do not attack those who are unarmed. This scene is eerily similar to Mace Windu’s confrontation with Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith. Mace gains the upper hand against Palpatine and decides to kill him once and for all. He tells Anakin, who has arrived at Palpatine’s office to stop Windu just in time, that Palpatine is too dangerous a man to be left alive – not just because he is a Sith, but because he controls the entirety of the Republic’s government, as well.

These scenes are interesting mirrors of each other. In both cases, the Jedi in question have the opportunity to rid the galaxy of an incredible threat, and yet, in the end, neither takes that final step, remembering their oath to the Jedi Code before they can strike that fatal blow. Was that truly the best move for the galaxy’s safety, however? Shouldn’t the Jedi be willing to do anything for the greater good?

Should The Rules of Combat Apply To Sith?

As a blanket rule, the Jedi do not kill. They are all about preserving light and life. As such, the Jedi also have a rule that they do not attack those who are unarmed. Once Sol disarms Qimir and the Sith Lord is separated from his lightsaber, Sol, a righteous Jedi who wants to honor the code, has no choice but to try and arrest this mysterious dark sider instead. When Anakin stops Mace from killing Windu, a similar logic is used, giving Palpatine the perfect opportunity to strike and kill Windu instead.


Are the Sith ever truly unarmed, though? Isn’t wielding the Force almost the same as being able to wield a weapon? What about Force lightning? What about the dark side mind probe? Fighting against a well-trained, unarmed Sith Lord is hardly the same as fighting against an unarmed bounty hunter. In both scenes, an argument can easily be made that Windu and Sol would have been right to kill their opponents for the good of the galaxy, and that, at any time, they would have been evenly matched.

Are The Rules of Combat About Sparing Sith… Or Saving Jedi?

Above all, the Jedi are benevolent. They embody light and hope in the galaxy, and causing death and devastation is the antithesis of all they stand for. And yet, some might say that allowing the Sith to live and cause further destruction also directly opposes what the Jedi stand for.

Perhaps the Jedi’s rules of combat, and the rule against killing anything in general, isn’t so much about sparing the Sith. Perhaps it’s about saving the Jedi from what they would ultimately become anyway. The Jedi are meant to be peacekeepers. Engaging in violence – any form of violence – puts them in a difficult position. How much violence is too much? When do the Jedi fight for the good of the galaxy, and when do they fight purely to save themselves?

The Jedi are meant to be peacekeepers. Engaging in violence – any form of violence – puts them in a difficult position. How much violence is too much?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars and related media ask a similar question. By that point, the Jedi have become soldiers, engaging in violence every single day. Though they may not directly be facing off against a living, breathing army, they are willing to sacrifice other sentient beings in the name of their cause, eventually even going so far as to try and assassinate Count Dooku in the hopes that it will bring an end to the war.

Perhaps that is what the Jedi Code, and its rules of combat, have always tried to prevent. Maybe it isn’t merely about preserving all life. Maybe it’s about preserving the soul of the Jedi Order, no matter the cost to the galaxy and the innocent civilians who inhabit it. Given the circumstances, Star Wars: The Acolyte’s villain has the power to change how the audience sees the Jedi forever.