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The Acolyte’s New Promo Whips Up a Sick New Weapon

In more than ways than one, The Acolyte is being poisitioned as a different Star Wars show than the other live-action offerings. Not only is it winding back the clock to the High Republic era, it’s also doing something different on the action front with some Force-powered martial arts similar to wuxia films. Now we know the show’s got some extra flavor in the form of a lightsaber that’s also a whip.

It only gets a small glimpse in the newest teaser, but that doesn’t take away from how cool it is to see it transition from a plain ol’ lightsaber to a full-on whip. Within the context of the show, this weapon belongs to fan-favorite High Republic character Vernestra Rwoh (played by Rebecca Henderson), a Jedi who as a teen learned from a Force vision how to modify her lightsaber to include the additional mode.

The Acolyte | Plan | Streaming June 4 on Disney+

Lightwhips are said to be difficult to control and weaker than a standard lightsaber. In the larger franchise context, the weapon’s been around since the Original Trilogy: 1985’s Star Wars #95 by Mary Jo Duffy and Cynthia Martin introduced a Sith Lord named Lumiya who crafted her own single-blade lightwhip, rather than one with multiple tassels. It became her trademark weapon, and while she got one over on Luke Skywalker during their first encounter, he eventually overcame it and beat her using his using his two-saber style. The last time they fought, it was on the planet Terephon, where he beat her with a single saber and sent it plummeting into a chasm.

After those comics and other EU material were deemed non-canon, the lightwhip wouldn’t appear again until the middle grade novel The High Republic: A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland. In the new canon, it goes all the way back to the Sith Wars, and helped Jedi hold their own against the Siths’ Forbidden Forms. The lightwhip got more play from the Nightsisters of the High Republic era than the Jedi, which motivated Vernestra to keep it secret from the Jedi Order. When it came time to eventually reveal the lightwhip, it was as she and her friends were stranded on the jungle moon Wevo: it was helpful in the cutting through the grass, and helped her win in a fight against Imri Cantaros, a Padawan in danger of falling to the Dark Side.

Lightsabers are all well and good, but it’s always nice to see Force users mix up their arsenal with something like a crossguard, or a gun or a lightsaber…that’s also a gun. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of the lightwhip—given how much last year’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor leaned on the High Republic for its storytelling, it’d be a good opportunity for the third game to give Cal the lightwhip as another saber variant.

Star Wars: The Acolyte premieres June 4 on Disney+.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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