Before you go on, make sure to check out our piece on Who Is ‘The Master’ on The Acolyte?

The Acolyte‘s first three episodes appeared to feature a traditional Sith partnership that follows the dark order’s Rule of Two. That ancient decree says there can only ever be a Sith Master and a Sith apprentice. At this point in the galaxy far, fay away, Mae is the student of her masked leader. Only, Star Wars: The Clone Wars established that hierarchy does not preclude a dark side apprentice from having their own follower. And since the show’s fourth episode seemed to prove Mae has never been a Sith Lord (and never will be), it’s not clear who The Acolyte‘s title is truly referring to.

If it’s not her, who is the titular character? The only real candidate is Mae’s secret teacher. And if that’s true, that masked figure is serving an even more powerful figure we have yet to meet.

The Acolyte Star Wars villain Sith Lord
Lucasfilm

Yoda introduced fans to the Rule of Two in The Phantom Menace. It began with the infamous Sith Lord Darth Bane. He implemented it thousands of years before. He was hoping to save his dark religious order from their worst instincts so it might one day fight back against the Jedi that had nearly wiped them out. Bane’s rule meant there could only ever be two Sith Lords at once. From StarWars.com‘s entry on this important figure:

An ancient and legendary Sith Lord, it was Darth Bane who saw that the Sith traditions of old were ultimately a dead end. All too often, squabbling Sith in their bid for power upended carefully laid plans. After the Sith were decimated by the Jedi Knights of a thousand years ago, Bane enacted the Sith rule of two: there would be only two active Sith at one time — a Dark Lord to embody the power, and an apprentice to crave it. These Sith would operate in the shadows, favoring guile and conspiracy to bring down their opponents rather than brute force — that is, until it was time to rise and subjugate the galaxy.

Lucasfilm

That hard and fast Rule of Two turned out not to not be quite as hard or fast as we thought. On The Clone Wars former Count Dooku—secretly Darth Tyranus, apprentice of Sith Lord Darth Sidious— had his own dark side apprentice. Dooku was the master of the powerful Force user Asajj Ventress.

The Rule of Two does not mean a Sith apprentice (who is still a Sith Lord) can’t train another in the ways of the dark side. For that reason alone it’s very possible The Acolyte‘s mysterious Master has their own secret, more powerful Master. What makes that possibility even more likely is that Mae does not appear to be a Sith just as Asajj was not. Mae doesn’t even complete the sacred Rule of Two.

Lucasfilm

Asajj knew her Master’s identity. Asajj also used a red lightsaber. Mae doesn’t know who is leading her and uses steel daggers. She actually seems to have no use for a lightsaber. In episode one the show made a point to highlight that Mae had no interest in taking Indara’s after she killed the Jedi.

If Mae’s Master has a Master (who could be one of her moms, the strangely capable Qimir, or even the infamous Darth Plagueis!), does that mean the masked figure on the show is the titular Acolyte? Is that term itself a clue they are? Considering Jedi call students “Padawan” and Sith Lord call theirs “apprentice,” the show’s name is a peculiar one in Star Wars. Was it chosen to do more than just reflect the dark religious nature of the Sith? Was it chosen to highlight things are not as they seem in the galaxy and in this story?

Lucasfilm

That would be fitting when it comes to a story about the Sith. Darth Bane implemented the Rule of Two so his order could operate in the shadows. That is until they were ready to reveal themselves, just as The Acolyte‘s Master did in episode four.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. He’s also forever waiting for Darth Plagueis to show up in live-action. You can follow him on  Twitter and  Bluesky at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.