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Theory: Is Darth Plagueis Pulling the Strings in ‘The Acolyte’?

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Social media is currently awash with responses to The Acolyte Episode 3, which depending on who you ask is either the worst episode of Star Wars television ever, a brave introduction to a whole new era of Star Wars storytelling, or anything in-between. There are theories all over the place that hope to make sense of the deliberately obfuscated plot, but in general, nobody has a clue what’s going on.

So, let’s try and figure it out. I’ve landed on a theory of my own which revolves around a third party — probably Mae’s current “master” — who is integral to everything.

Who killed the Witches of Brendok?

The third episode of The Acolyte is a flashback set on Osha and Mae’s home world of Brendok, designed to add some context to the fire that killed Osha’s mothers and drove Mae down a deadly path of revenge. The episode is framed in Osha’s perspective, and I suspect this is vital to making sense of it.

So, from Osha’s point of view, Mae started the fire, and all of the witches were killed by it. There is no chance this is what happened.

While Sol and Osha are escaping, they happen across all of the dead witches, all piled together. None of them look like they have died in a fire. Osha tries to go to them, but Sol pulls her away, either because the place is burning down or he doesn’t want her to get a close look at the bodies. Or both.

Here’s my theory: I think the Jedi killed all the witches.

The Acolyte Theory: Is Darth Plagueis behind everything?

The Witches of Brendok all dead in The Acolyte Episode 3

Why would the Jedi kill the witches?

I know what you’re thinking — it wouldn’t be very Jedi-like to butcher a whole coven of witches. Well, I have a theory for this too which relates back to Osha and Mae’s creation.

When the Jedi arrive on Brendok, Indara says that the Jedi believe they’re training children, which is against Republic law. In the same conversation, Sol asks who Osha and Mae’s father is, and is told that they have no father.

This suggests that the Jedi have arrived under the assumption that the witches are up to good and are training kids in no-good ways for one purpose or another, but it also implies they don’t know that Osha and Mae have been sired through the Force itself.

So, if we know why the Jedi are there and why the witches want the Jedi gone, it’s easy to imagine that the witches would become violent to keep the information quiet, and the Jedi would become violent either to protect themselves or in response to the secret getting out.

This would explain why Torbin felt it necessary to take the Barash Vow and then subsequently kill himself. It would also explain why Mae thought Osha was dead. If she saw the Jedi butcher the other witches, and then saw Sol take Osha away, her logical assumption would be that the Jedi killed Osha too.

How were Osha and Mae created?

This theory relies on a pretty big leap, which is that Aniseya and Koril used the Force to create Osha and Mae without the need for a male.

Obviously, there’s precedence for this in the current Star Wars canon already — hello, Anakin — and it is established early and clearly that the witches of Brendok are powerful Force users, even if they don’t refer to the Force by that name. It is totally conceivable that they could have pulled this off, and that it might even be the precursor for how Palpatine eventually manages it.

It’s hard to tell whether this is the case or not, though. Osha and Mae are biracial, which implies they could be Aniseya’s children, but Koril is a Zabrak, and the twins don’t possess any Zabrak features. It’s possible that Aniseya could have conceived the twins with the aid of a male — perhaps some kind of dark Force user — and Koril was used as the surrogate, but it’s also possible that Aniseya crafted the twins at least partially in her own image through the Force and Koril was a surrogate in that case as well.

Either way, creating children through the Force almost certainly upends the natural order of things and would be treated incredibly seriously by the Jedi and the Republic. This would explain why Aniseya and Koril were so adamant about not revealing this to the Jedi.

Was Mae being influenced?

It is established early in the episode that Mae has some Dark Side tendencies that Osha doesn’t — she’s prone to harming small native animals, for instance — but even with this in mind her suddenly murderous turn is a little difficult to take.

While it’s understandable that Mae wouldn’t want Osha to leave Brendok, it’s a stretch that she would rather kill her and their mothers than allow her to leave. I don’t think Mae started the fire. She burned Osha’s book, where she had drawn the Jedi emblem, but Episode 3 deliberately does not show her burn anything else or harm anyone. That tiny fire spreading to burn down an entire stone temple seems mightily unlikely.

In the present day, we know Mae is being influenced by an as-yet-unknown dark Force user. There’s a chance that the manipulation might have already begun at this point, with Mae being manipulated by someone who knew she had those dark tendencies. This would explain her going suddenly postal, and it would also make her a convenient scapegoat for everything that followed.

 To Conclude…

Here’s the outline of my theory in the simplest way I can present it. The way I see things, the most logical way of putting this all together is to account for the involvement of someone else, possibly Mae’s current “master”, who has been manipulating events behind the scenes the whole time:

  • Aniseya created Osha and Mae with the help of someone or something else (Mae’s current master?) and used Koril as a surrogate.
  • The witches raised the children in secret, teaching them the ways of the Thread.
  • Somehow, the Republic found out about the kids and sent the Jedi to investigate. Our mysterious third party could have tipped the Republic off about this in order to kick-start the desired chain of events.
  • Something kicked off between the witches and the Jedi which resulted in the Jedi killing everyone present. At the end of Episode 3, Torbin has the facial wound that would result in his heavy scarring in Episode 2, so there’s clearly a fight of some kind.
  • Mae did not burn down the coven, but she was scapegoated for doing so. Again, this could have been her now-master, creating a scenario in which her desire for vengeance would be stoked, making her even more manipulable.

Needless to say, there’s a bit of reaching involved here, but broadly it makes sense. If you’re a hypothetical Dark Lord, what you have created here is a powerful apprentice with a vehement hatred of the Jedi, and you’ve covered your tracks by engineering a scenario in which all evidence of your involvement was wiped out — ironically by the Jedi.

But who will this Dark Lord be? Could it be Darth Plagueis?

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