The Acolyte Episode 4 threw Star Wars fans for a loop – and not just because the dreaded “Master” of Mae finally appeared and jumped into battle.

During a scene back in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) is meeting with Master Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson) and other high-ranking Jedi, dissecting footage of Mae and analyzing her fighting style and Force use, for clues about who might’ve trained her. One Jedi in the room is Master Ki-Adi-Mundi (Derek Arnold), who immediately disregards the idea of Mae being an apprentice who does not know her master’s identity.

Ki-Adi-Mundi’s appearance stirred an uproar for longtime Star Wars fans. The character was first featured in George Lucas’ Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, as a member of the Jedi Council who dismissed Qui-Gon Jin’s report that he battled a Sith Lord (Darth Maul) on the planet Tatooine while saving a young Anakin Skywalker. Mundi claimed that “The Sith have been extinct for a millennium,” a line that seems to contradict The Acolyte, since Mundi and co. are investigating a dark side threat in Mae, not to mention the idea that a dark side “Master” could be commanding her.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

There was also a major timeline issue raised: some of the companion literature for Phantom Menace set Mundi’s birthdate as “92 BBY,” which is about 40 years (or so) after The Acolyte was set. The combination of contradictory dialogue and a questionable birthdate (from auxiliary canon) was all the kindling needed to start a major flame war about a bit of character (at best).

The rabble grew loud enough to reach the Twitter feed of Claire “CK” Kiechel, who is part of The Acolyte’s writer team and co-wrote Episode 4. CK posted some responses to the “controversy” over Ki-Adi-Mundi, arguing that the line from Phantom Menace, “He has never known about any Sith during that time”. A separate question/criticism of the supposed “pothole” got a similar response from Kiechel that Ki-Adi-Mundi “doesn’t know anything about the Sith? Why would he?”

The Acolyte is only half over, with a lot of game left on the board. From the very beginning, a lot of the more level-headed fans have given the series a shot at depicting – if only indirectly – how the cracks of hubris in the Jedi Order, which led to the return of the Sith, first began in the allegedly “peak” era of The High Republic. The Acolyte and its creators haven’t confirmed there is a true Sith Lord at work in the show; that “The Master” is Sith and not just a dark side user (like, say, The Inquisitors) – and even if there is a Sith Lord revealed to the audience, there’s no guarantee that the characters of the show will ever discover who they are.

If anything, Ki-Adi-Mundi’s presence in The Acolyte is a through line for the ‘Hubris of the Jedi’ theme. Ki-Adi-Mundi never learned better about realizing the threat of the dark side, and it cost his beloved Jedi Order everything – including Mundi’s life when he was shot down by his own Clone Troopers during Order 66.

Another Jedi Master bears similar blame for prolonged obliviousness – but CK made it clear that The Acolyte could use him: “We offered the part to Yoda but he wasn’t tech avail so a young Ki Adi Mundi stepped in for the part.”

Star Wars: The Acolyte streams on Disney+


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