Star Wars: The Acolyte Episode 5 introduced a lot of fans to a game-changing new piece of Star Wars technology: cortosis armor. The ancient metal dates back to the Old Republic’s Jedi-Sith War; it has the unique ability to create a feedback loop in lightsabers that strike it, temporarily shorting them out. Now, The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland is opening up about how she pulled from the Star Wars Legends section of the franchise to bring cortosis armor into mainstream live-action TV!

During an interview with Inverse, Headland was asked about whether or not cortosis was the only piece Star Wars Legends mythos The Acolyte was bringing into the official canon. Headland admitted that it wasn’t (though she couldn’t reveal what else they borrowed), and also explained why she picked cortosis for The Acolyte:

“It’s a spoiler, though… but cortosis was a big one. It’s a tricky thing because you respect George Lucas in the sense that you don’t want to weaken the power of a lightsaber. It’s almost hallowed in that sense, not just within the series, but in pop culture. But cortosis was such a great new element, and I had always thought of it as such a cool thing to incorporate.”

(Photo: Lucasfilm/Disney+)

Headland went on to describe the challenge of taking cortosis and making it into an actual tangible material within the reality of the show, and creating the larger lore around it:

“[Lucasfilm lore consultant] Pablo Hidalgo and I worked a lot on the machinations of it before we started designing it. It was very important that it be breakable, that it basically not be super hard. It’s why Jecki can get the helmet off him so quickly. It’s kind of a brittle thing. There’s also a limited resource of it, which is why he doesn’t have a whole suit of armor, and it only works for maybe a minute. We worked really hard on what it would look like, because we didn’t want it to look too powerful or too goofy. Pablo, [visual artist] Rob Bredow, and I talked a lot about it. So that’s the cortosis story, but the other Legends stuff we can talk about after the finale.”


Cortosis armor was part of the attire worn by “The Stranger,” aka the mysterious Sith “Master” that was training Mae (Amandla Stenberg). The Stranger was also revealed to be Qimir (Manny Jacinto), the man who pretended to be assisting Mae on behalf of her master.


Manny Jacinto as Qimir/’The Stranger’ in “The Acolyte”

– Lucasfilm/Disney)

Star Wars fans were thrilled to see the way Qimir used his cortosis gauntlets and helmet in brawler-style fight sequences against the Jedi. The defensive capability of the armor created deadly offensive openings for Qimir to strike down Jedi, in the moments when they were baffled by the failure of their lightsabers.

More importantly, the inclusion of cortosis armor has once again shined a light on the Star Wars Legends brand, which was the playground of expansive ideas for the franchise for decades before Disney took over. And The Acolyte’s use of cortosis is further proof of why.

Star Wars: The Acolyte streams on Disney+.


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