Rebecca Henderson as Vernestra Rwoh in The Acolyte

A Rare Type of Lightsaber Just Made Its Live-Action Debut in ‘The Acolyte’

The Acolyte has garnered much attention for its breathtaking lightsaber duels, as well as bringing Cortosis into the battles. Now, it has introduced another epic weapon: the lightsaber whip.

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Spoilers for the latest episode ahead!

The latest episode, “Teach/Corrupt,” explores the aftermath of the brutal battle between the Jedi and Qimir (Manny Jacinto) on Khofar. Sol (Lee Jung-jae) sends out a distress signal, which makes its way to Mog (Harry Trevaldwyn) and Jedi Master Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson). Rwoh assembles a team and heads a rescue mission to Khofar. The Jedi are confounded by the grisly scene on the planet, as they find Sol’s entire team dead from lightsaber wounds. As Rwoh surveys the scene, an umbramoth—a giant bug-like creature—gears up to attack.

The Jedi master senses the creature’s attack and grabs what appears to be a lightsaber handle. However, when she activates the weapon, it’s not a stiff blade that protrudes from the handle but a long whip that snaps the umbramoth out of the sky. The weapon Rwoh wields is known as a lightwhip, and this is the first time it has been seen in live action.

What is a lightwhip?

The lightwhip was first introduced in the Legends canon. Its first appearance was in Marvel’s Star Wars comics issue 95, when the Dark Lady of the Sith, Lumiya, crafted one to utilize as her signature weapon. She learned how to create the unusual weapon from an ancient Sith tome on the planet Ziost and attempted to use it to defeat her longtime nemesis, Luke Skywalker.

Although several Siths and Nightsisters utilized lightwhips in the Legends and Star Wars canon, they’re not exclusive to dark Force wielders. In the Star Wars canon novel A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland, Vernestra Rwoh makes her debut. She’s much younger in this novel than in The Acolyte, and is a prodigy within the Jedi Order, earning the title of Jedi Knight at age 15. Rwoh boasts an incredible connection to the Force, even experiencing what are called Force visions. One day, the Force gives her a vision that guides her on how to design a lightwhip. With the Force’s aid, she modifies her lightsaber to give it a lightwhip mode, which she activates by twisting a ring on the hilt.

Now, The Acolyte has brought both Rwoh and her lightwhip to live action. The lightwhip functions similarly to a lightsaber but has a few main differences. While a single Kyber crystal powers lightsabers, lightwhips are powered by multiple small Kyber crystals or fragments of a large crystal. Additionally, the handles are modified in lightwhips to disable the mechanism that keeps lightsaber blades stable and rigid. Lightwhips have a few advantages to lightsabers, given that they’re more flexible, have a wider range, and are unpredictable. However, they are harder to master than the lightsaber, and their blades are weaker than those of standard lightsaber blades.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of lightwhips is their rarity. As seen from its history, assembling the weapon often requires ancient knowledge or direct guidance from the Force. Hence, it’s a modification that few fighters will have come across, giving lightwhip wielders the advantage of surprise. Given how epic the weapon looked when briefly used against a bug, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that The Acolyte will soon show the first live-action duel with a lightwhip, too.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.