Who Is The Sith in ‘The Acolyte’? Everything We Know About Mae’s Mysterious Master

The first two episodes of The Acolyte premiered on Disney+ tonight, introducing Star Wars fans to the High Republic era. It’s a time in which the Jedi are at the height of their power and the Sith are supposed to be totally extinct. Or are they?

**Spoilers for the first two episodes of The Acolyte, now streaming on Disney+**

We learn from the opening scene of The Acolyte that the Dark Side is still somehow flourishing in the Star Wars galaxy. At least, someone has been instructing the Force sensitive Mae (Amandla Stenberg) how to not only use her innate abilities, but also how to fight the Jedi. The question, though, is who is Mae’s mysterious Master? Who is the Sith Lord in The Acolyte?

Funnily enough, not even Mae knows who her Master is. He (or she) has gone to great lengths to conceal their true identity. So much so it’s not even clear if Mae’s Master is even a Sith or a Knight of Ren or member of another order. Neither Mae nor her closest ally, the former smuggler Qimir (Manny Jacinto), have a notion who they’re taking orders from. We simply don’t know!

However, that doesn’t stop us from having theories. The Acolyte‘s creator, writer and director Leslye Headland, is a fan of the larger Star Wars canon and lore. That means she could be pulling from the books or comics for inspiration here. Then again, she could have created a wholly new character to be The Acolyte‘s villain.

Here’s everything we know about the Sith (or non Sith) in The Acolyte, including what the show’s stars, Amandla Stenberg and Manny Jacinto, have to say about our theories…

Mae's Master in 'The Acolyte'
Photo: HBO

Who is the Sith in The Acolyte? Everything We Know So Far About Mae’s Mysterious Master, “The Stranger”:

Let’s be upfront about this: We don’t know a lot about the real villain of The Acolyte. In fact, it’s unclear if Mae’s Master even is a Sith. When Decider asked Amandla Stenberg about Mae (and whether her twin sister Osha could pull her back to the Light), she said something very intriguing.

“I don’t even think of Mae as necessarily just being Sith,” Stenberg said. “I think that there’s a lot of characters in the Star Wars Universe who traverse both the Light and the Dark.”

“There’s gray Jedi, there’s an entire gray Jedi code. And there are force users who use it in a different manner and for Mae, well, I think it’s more complex than just the Light or the Dark.”

Okay! So Mae may not be a Sith — she is, after all, the titular “Acolyte” — but that doesn’t mean her master isn’t! And there are some Sith Lords from the Star Wars books, comics, and lore that fans are already speculating could be Mae’s Master.

Now, most fans have ruled out the idea that this could be a young version of Emperor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, because the series is set 100 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, but there are theories that Mae’s Master could be Darth Sidious’s Master, Darth Plagueis the Wise. You’ve heard about him, right? The dude Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) hyped up to Anakin (Hayden Christensen) during that opera in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. The theory is this is a version of Darth Plagueis looking for an apprentice and Mae (and perhaps Qimir?) are in the running.

“I don’t even think of Mae as necessarily just being Sith. I think that there’s a lot of characters in the Star Wars Universe who traverse both the Light and the Dark.”

Amandla Stenberg

Another popular theory is that the Sith in The Acolyte is Darth Plagueis’s Master, Darth Tenebrous. Some fans like this theory because Leslye Headland has teased she has sprinkled Easter eggs from Star Wars Legends, aka the Expanded Universe or EU, in the show. And Tenebrous would fit this bill.

However, there’s also speculation that Mae’s Master isn’t a Sith at all. His (or her) helmet is very evocative of Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) look in the sequel trilogy and we know he was a member of a Dark Side Order called The Knights of Ren. Headland could be shedding light on this mysterious group by writing one of their forebears into The Acolyte as the villain.

That said, Mae’s Master could very well be a wholly original character created by Leslye Headland…or — and this is a crazy theory — someone hiding in plain sight.

Qimir (Manny Jacinto) in 'The Acolyte'
Photo: Disney+

Who is Qimir? Could Manny Jacinto’s Acolyte Character Be the Master Hiding in Plain Sight?

Okay, this is Decider’s crazy tin foil hat theory that we developed after screening the first four episodes of The Acolyte, but we’re wondering if the mysterious Qimir couldn’t be the Master hiding in plain sight.

Our reasoning for this? After four episodes, we know nothing about him except that he’s really clued into everything going on with Mae and her Master. He’s a former smuggler who hates the Jedi for some reason, scoffing at their mission to promote peace as a “lie.” He’s able to track Wookie Jedi to remote places in the Outer Rim, procure poisons, and seemingly slip out of the Jedi’s notice.

How does he know so much? Why is he so invested in helping Mae? Why does he hate the Jedi? What is his deal?!?

“Yeah, I mean, you definitely find out more about Qimir later on, but I mean, it’s all kind of up in the air at that point,” Manny Jacinto told Decider when we posited our theory. “If he is the master or if he’s answering to a master, I think at the end of the day, he’s just pulled into this story and he just wants to survive. You know? I think it all just comes down to survival.”

Jacinto then cryptically added, “But yeah, that’d be cool. That’d be cool if he was behind that mask, kind of like, you know, pulling all the strings and yeah. But you have to stay tuned to find out.”

So, obviously, we could learn in The Acolyte Episode 5 that Qimir is just a dude with a vendetta against the Jedi who also happens to know everything that’s going on with Mae and her Master. Like we said, this is really wild theory! But since everything in The Acolyte is fresh territory for Star Wars fans, who knows what’s going to happen?

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