Star Wars fans met their new favorite villain last week, as Star Wars: The Acolyte used its fifth episode to flip the script on its own story and reveal Manny Jacinto’s Qimir as the Sith presence looming large over the season. Jacinto’s character, known also as the Stranger, has become the talk of the galaxy over the past week, and fans are clearly ready to see more of him over the last three episodes of The Acolyte Season 1. As it turns out, however, the Stranger wasn’t supposed to be featured much on the show after his big Episode 5 reveal.

Speaking to Inverse, The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland said that the plan was to tuck Qimir back into the shadows after his identity was revealed, saving him for a bigger story in Season 2. Once she saw Jacinto in the role, though, she knew she had to change some things.

“This is an interesting tidbit: Originally, even up until shooting, The Stranger was not in a lot of the rest of the season,” Headland revealed. “He was much more of a tee-up for a second season arc. But I saw Manny’s screen test early on in pre-production and I just thought, ‘There will be riots in the streets if I don’t [go further]. Here we go, I guess I’m rewriting an episode.’ Manny was so impressive in every aspect.’

Headland also revealed that the Stranger initially had a bunch of armor during his big Episode 5 fight. But the creative team believed Qimir would’ve had the confidence to believe that he wouldn’t get hit at all, making any cumbersome armor unnecessary.

“So much of Qimir was understanding how to use your body and not just standing there in a suit or being encumbered by a suit,” the showrunner explained. “We were like, ‘We have to get him in something more flowy.’ As soon as I said he didn’t have to wear armor, everyone lost their mind. ‘How can you not have armor?’ I was like, ‘Why would you wear armor if you’re not going to get hit?'”

Set during The High Republic, Star Wars: The Acolyte delivers an investigation into a mysterious string of crimes, which pits a Jedi master against his former apprentice in a race to uncover the truth. The more that the pair learn about the situation, the darker their journey becomes, as they confront things that darker than either of them could have imagined.

The series stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss. Star Wars: The Acolyte premiered on Disney+ on June 4th.


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