The Acolyte's Biggest Mystery Could Directly Tie Into The Greatest Star Wars Villains

Spoilers for "Star Wars: The Acolyte" Parts 1 and 2 follow.

"I do not believe the Sith could have returned without us knowing," Mace Windu told Qui-Gon Jinn during the events of "The Phantom Menace." "The Sith have been extinct for a millennium," Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi added.

As we all know that a millennium lasts a thousand years, it seemed unlikely that the Sith would be involved with "Star Wars: The Acolyte." Most of us assumed the Jedi would have had no interaction whatsoever with the secret line of Sith that led to Darth Sidious and his destruction of the Jedi until Darth Maul revealed himself to Qui-Gon on Tatooine.

But "The Acolyte" seems as though it could upend everything we knew about the involvement of the Sith and their quest against the Jedi in the time period the show takes place in, 100 years prior to the events of "The Phantom Menace." That's a far cry from Ki-Adi-Mundi's millennium.

The Sith Code in Star Wars

With the Sith not getting name-checked at all in "The Acolyte" premiere, what evidence is there for us to think the Sith are involved?

Well, it might have something to do with the Sith Code. First appearing in the new iteration of the "Star Wars" canon, in the book "Guardians of the Whills" (a terrific middle grade tie-in to "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" starring Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe), the Sith code has appeared in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and other places, where it's been clearly identified as such:

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me.

This is all obviously a take on the Jedi Code, which was first mentioned in "The Phantom Menace" and elaborated on in other canon texts like Christie Golden's novel about Asajj Ventress, "Dark Disciple" (one of the best "Star Wars" books ever written) It reads:

There is no emotion, there is peace.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

There is no death, there is the Force.

The Jedi Code is something each Jedi is supposed to uphold. And for the Sith Code, even Darth Maul repeats it in small bits here and there throughout his appearances in canon. 

Where's the Sith during The Acolyte?

In "The Acolyte," we know we are dealing with a Force user adept at the dark side. But since they don't pull out a red lightsaber, and they aren't outwardly anything we think of as the Sith, we don't connect them to that tradition very easily. As the show progresses, there are certainly hints that are laced throughout dialogue as we learn about the characters. Mae, the trained assassin, has a master who trains her, and they wield a red lightsaber and wear an obscuring helmet. Their identity is a complete secret to their student.

It seems as though there's a test for the assassin being carried out. As Mae is sent to murder four Jedi for personal reasons, she's not using a lightsaber of her own, and she has to kill at least one of them without a weapon. The first murder is committed with blades, and the second is carried out with poison (and a touch of guilt), and with only two left to kill by the end of the second episode, she's running out of Jedi to prove her skills. 

This harkens back to the Darth Vader comics Marvel released, written by Charles Soule (one of the architects of "The High Republic" era), where Vader — having lost his lightsaber to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar — must fight another Jedi sans a lightsaber in order to take their kyber crystal and craft a new saber for himself.

But the larger clue comes when Mae (Amandla Stenberg) and Qimir (Manny Jacinto) are speaking alone. She mentions something about peace, and he fires back at her — as one of the teachings of their master — that peace is a lie. "Peace is a lie, I know," she repeats back to him.

Making it feel apparent that her master is likely part of the Sith Order.

The mystery of the Sith

It is obvious that the elusive master training Mae, who has sent her on this mission, has gone to every length to cover their identity. Is it because they are, in fact, a Sith lord? Or is it because they are a pretender to the Sith and hope the real Sith don't come after them? This is one of the most tantalizing mysteries that the first two episodes of "The Acolyte" opens up, and it makes one wonder how deep into the Sith we'll delve.

Will we even get an answer to this question? Or will it leave us hanging, wondering how the line of the Sith transfers from this mysterious villain to Darth Plagueis, to Darth Sidious, and beyond? Or will it answer the question about their identity?

More than that, with only 100 years between this show and "The Phantom Menace," could this mysterious Sith already be apprenticing Darth Plagueis? Or could they be Darth Plagueis themselves?

Anything is possible, and that's one of the things that makes this show such a breath of fresh air.

The first two episodes of "Star Wars: The Acolyte" are available now on Disney+, and new episodes will debut on Tuesday evenings at 9:00pm ET.