‘The Acolyte’ Hasn’t Broken ‘Star Wars’ Canon — And It Wouldn’t Matter Even If It Had

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 18, 2024
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Does 'The Acolyte' Break 'Star Wars' Canon?
The Acolyte Episode 3 | Image via Disney+


An essential aspect of being a Star Wars fan is being angry about everything all of the time, and no recent show has better exemplified this deranged tendency than The Acolyte, the first live-action foray into the High Republic era that, if nutters on YouTube and social media are to be believed, has completely broken the established canon.

I like Star Wars a lot, but luckily I haven’t attached my entire identity to it. I also like women and people of color, and I’m not especially worried about “woke” media, so I’m ideally positioned to get to the bottom of this latest controversy and determine whether The Acolyte has ruined Star Wars forever.

The Acolyte Episode 3 Introduces Lesbian Force Witches

The problem is Episode 3, “Destiny”, which explores the backstory of the show’s protagonist Osha, and her murderous twin sister, Mae.

In this episode, we meet the Witches of Brendok, a coven of Dark Side-leaning Force users who have renamed the Force “The Thread” and built an all-female culture around it. Two of the witches, Mothers Aniseya and Koril, sired Osha and Mae, seemingly through the Force itself.

This is what people are annoyed about since the concept of immaculate conception through the Force has previously been unique to Anakin Skywalker, who was conceived through the will of the Force itself. Or was he?

Does The Acolyte break Star Wars Canon?

At this stage, it’s very difficult to argue that The Acolyte breaks established Star Wars canon, for several reasons.

As a starting point, and this is crucial, we don’t actually know how Osha and Mae were conceived. Like the exact circumstances of the fire that seemingly wiped out the colony and whatever the Jedi’s involvement in those events was, more of the story remains to be told. The show has played with perspective throughout its first three episodes and left several clues that we have only seen one side of the story thus far.

Because of this, we can’t say for certain whether the developments of Episode 3 break anything at all, but even if we work on the assumption that the twins were indeed conceived through the Force, that still doesn’t undercut Anakin’s status as the chosen one.

Anakin was conceived through the will of the Force itself, or at least that was the initial Lucasfilm interpretation. Through dialogue in The Acolyte Episode 3, it is made clear that while Mother Koril carried the children, Mother Aniseya “created” them, clearly implying that there was some kind of experiment that resulted in the creation of the twins.

This kind of intervention is not the same thing as an entirely immaculate conception, even if it happened, which at the moment we don’t know that it did.

Did Palpatine Create Anakin?

While the idea that the Force itself created Anakin as a response to Palpatine and his former master Darth Plagueis the Wise trying to meddle with it has been a generally accepted theory forever, there have always been fan theories that Palpatine had a more hands-on involvement in Anakin’s creation.

Palpatine mentioning Darth Plagueis to Anakin was always interpreted as a hint that Palpatine had learned his former master’s ability to manipulate the Midi-chlorians to create life through the Force, which is Plagueis’s whole deal. However, it was just a theory.

In Issue #25 of Charles Soule’s Darth Vader comics, though, there is a very explicit scene of Palpatine directly using his Dark Side powers to manipulate Shmi Skywalker’s womb. This is strong implication that Palpatine himself used the Force to create Anakin, or at least determine his power. If this is the case, then it only supports the idea that The Acolyte doesn’t undermine Anakin’s official origin story.

Does 'The Acolyte' Break 'Star Wars' Canon?

Darth Vader #25 | Image via Marvel & Screen Rant

Nobody Is Paying Attention

It’s ridiculous, at this point, to deny that a healthy contingent of Star Wars fans are nitpicking plot continuity and other pointless details to mask pushback against the perceived “woke” direction of Star Wars under Disney. In other words, they don’t like to see women and people of color in prominent roles in the franchise.

While these people undeniably exist, they’re idiots and should be ignored. Conversely, though, one can’t pretend this is the only reason people are criticizing The Acolyte since it makes it impossible to engage critically with the work. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of the show, and I’ve made several myself, in my writeups of the first three episodes and on X:

But I do wonder if some of the people going nuts online have ever actually watched Star Wars properly since their ability to detect very obvious themes is virtually non-existent.

These are the people, after all, who complain a franchise that includes an army named after the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party shouldn’t get political. These are the people who are complaining that the Jedi aren’t being depicted as good guys when the entire prequel trilogy hinged on their arrogance and hubris bringing about the downfall of the Republic and precipitating the rise of the Empire. And they’re the types to complain about the sudden existence of witches in Star Wars as though it’s some kind of wacky feminist agenda when there are already witches in Star Wars.

It’s a lot of whining for whining’s sake, is all I’m saying.

Canon Doesn’t Really Matter

It might be a controversial take, but in a franchise about magical space wizards with laser swords who can manipulate an invisible energy comprising seemingly sentient microbial lifeforms, canon doesn’t really matter all that much.

For what it’s worth, people hated Midi-chlorians when they were first introduced as an explanation for the Force. The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker were clearly making things up on the fly, often in direct opposition to each other. Boba Fett was considered dead since falling into a Sarlacc pit in 1983 until he was revived for the purposes of his own Disney+ show; Darth Maul was fatally sliced in half until The Clone Wars said he was too angry to die.

Nobody cared about these things, and nor should they. They don’t matter. It’s a fairytale, a hero’s journey through the vastness of an entirely made-up galaxy. And George Lucas didn’t even care. There’s that famous clip of Dave Filoni explaining how he had quoted Lucas’s own line back to him – “No ship that small has a cloaking device” – and George had responded, simply, “Well, this one has a cloaking device.”

If George Lucas didn’t care, why do you? Call me a conspiracist, but people only seem to be really upset about continuity in the shows that they have already accused of being “woke” and agenda-driven and ruining Star Wars. It seems like there’s an agenda here after all, but I don’t think it’s the one people claim.


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