Yes, That Was Who You Thought It Was in The Acolyte

Yes, That Was Who You Thought It Was in The Acolyte

For the most part, The Acolyte has set itself apart from the rest of Star Wars—both in terms of its placement in the timeline, a hundred years before the prequel trilogy, and in its desire to focus on new characters and explorations, rather than the familiar. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some intriguing connections…

… or, some familiar faces. Coming into The Acolyte, we were told that while the series was going to be set during the waning days of the High Republic era, just one character from the High Republic novels and comics would appear in the show, Rebecca Henderson’s Vernestra Rwoh. Beyond that, no one else we knew. Which is true! From a certain point of view. Because while we didn’t get someone else from the world of the High Republic transmedia initiative in today’s episode, we did actually get someone we know from the films.

In a brief scene at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Vernestra and a cadre of other Jedi discuss with Master Sol where his murder investigation should take him next. It’s a brief moment, but besides one of the other Masters discussing a potential rogue sect of Jedi being behind this assassin, we see a Jedi from a familiar race join the discussion: a large-headed Cerean, wearing a version of the white and beige Temple Robes of the High Republic era. And you think for a moment, it can’t be. But he has those yellow eyes. His hair and bear are grey and longer, but in a similar style. Is it?

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Yes. As the credits of “Day” confirm, that is indeed Ki-Adi-Mundi—played here by Derek Arnold—future member of the Jedi Council, noted carer about attacks on Wookiees (which makes his presence in context even funnier, honestly), and The Acolyte’s first major Star Wars cameo.

Ki-Adi-Mundi’s presence, as fleeting and brief it is—you really don’t even notice it’s him until his name shows up in the credits, it’s not important, he could’ve just been any Cerean Jedi—raises a whole bunch of questions. Not the dull sort, like what this means for his line in The Phantom Menace about the Sith not having been seen in a milennia: literally in this scene, the gathered Jedi, Ki-Adi included, don’t even dare contemplate that Mae could be trained by a Sith, leaning towards a rogue Jedi instead—and even then, it’s a meeting where the Jedi leave it having been explicitly told to keep all of this information under wraps. Jedi are good liars, and hey, if Ki-Adi-Mundi washes his hands of this investigation from here on out, never to be seen in The Acolyte again, then well, he certainly did never actually see a Sith either way.

No, like the chair droidsbefore him, the questions here are instead more existential: just how old is Ki-Adi-Mundi here? This is 100 years before Phantom Menace, and he looks like a grown man here. Was he really that old by the time of the Clone War? We don’t know much about Cerean society or biology in Star Wars canon right now, but in the old Expanded Universe, Cerean men actually aged at a much quicker rate than their much-more-populous female counterparts—a male Cerean who lived past their 60s was considered to be practically ancient. But now, thanks to The Acolyte, it seems like Ki-Adi was pushing at least around 130, 150, by the time he bites it in Revenge of the Sith (from repeated blaster bolts to the chest, of course, not old age). And given that, how long was he on the Jedi Council? The way he refers to it here, he’s not on it yet—he’s just one Jedi Master among many. But what is it with the High Council and members who sit on it for potentially hundreds of years? Yoda, Yaddle, Yarael Poof, now Ki-Adi-Mundi… why did no one ever put term limits in!?

And at the very least, those questions are not actually about The Acolyte itself. Which is nice! His presence here isn’t like, say, Luke Skywalker or Ahsoka Tano showing up in The Mandalorian, or Mando himself dominating a couple episodes of Book of Boba Fett. It’s a cameo, yes, but not one that completely takes over the narrative of the episode, or is even highlighted as one to the point you’re distracted while the show pauses to go “look! you know them!” Ki-Adi’s here, he has a few lines among the Jedi, he’s gone, the episode carries on. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.

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