Master Ki-Adi-Mundi (R) stands around a conference table in 'The Acolyte'

‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’: Just How Old Is Ki-Adi-Mundi?

That forehead has seen a lot.

Star Wars fans are mad again, this time about a certain prequel-era Jedi, Ki-Adi-Mundi, in Lucasfilm’s newest Disney+ series, The Acolyte. So, why did his blink-and-you’ll-miss it cameo garner so much controversy, and why are people suddenly so interested in his age?

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The Acolyte is ruffling feathers for all the wrong reasons—and we’re barely halfway through its first season. While there are some fair critiques of the show, a flurry of newly-created Rotten Tomatoes accounts (and thousands of poor ratings) seem to prove that it’s been review-bombed to the high heavens, with its main cast being subjected to nonstop harassment since its premiere on June 4.

Amandla Stenberg, who plays twin sisters Mae and Osha, even personally addressed the online discourse in a video uploaded to social media this week, calling out the “intolerable racism” she’s experienced since joining the galaxy far, far away. After all, no one hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans, etc. etc.

From this to other lore issues and some—ahem—pitchy space witch chants, The Acolyte is shaping up to be one of the lowest-rated Star Wars endeavors of all time. Whether it’s deserving of its 14% audience score or not remains up to debate, but it’s surely not being helped by a new scandal involving … Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi?

What is Ki-Adi-Mundi’s age, and why do people care?

If you’re familiar with the Star Wars prequel trilogy, then chances are you recognize the name Ki-Adi-Mundi. The Cerean Force-wielder was a fixture of the Jedi Council, having made his onscreen debut in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He ultimately lost his life during Order 66, but popped up in several episodes of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series before then, where he earned a reputation within the fandom for his arrogance and rigid obedience to the Jedi code.

Not only did Ki-Adi-Mundi disapprove of Anakin training as a Padawan, but he also wasn’t exactly known for being kind to his clone troopers. A quick Google search for “worst Jedi” will turn out hundreds of results for Ki-Adi-Mundi, and the Reddit discourse surrounding him and his questionable actions goes surprisingly deep.

All that is why it came as somewhat of a surprise when a seemingly younger (if those luscious locks of dark hair are anything to go by) Ki-Adi-Mundi made a cameo in episode 4 of The Acolyte, “Day,” where he’s played by Derek Arnold. While it isn’t confirmed in the show, he looks to be near or middle-aged … well, as far as aliens go. In typical Ki-Adi-Mundi fashion, he immediately dismisses the notion that Mae is being trained by a mysterious Dark Side master, pushing Sol’s concerns to the sidelines. Moreover, his appearance raised some serious eyebrows, as The Acolyte picks up 100 years before the Skywalker Saga. So, how is he still alive by the time the prequels come around?

Well apparently, Cereans are the tortoises of the Star Wars universe, as The Acolyte all but confirmed that the species has some seriously long lifespans. This means he could be upwards of 150 years old in The Phantom Menace (he looks great for his age, BTW). However, the whole thing is a bit more confusing when taking his “Legends” history into account, and might take some mental gymnastics to explain how he’s still kickin’.

You see, in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I Insider’s Guide established Ki-Adi-Mundi’s date of birth as 93 BBY, meaning he was around 60 during the events of The Phantom Menace. It also notes that Cereans only have a lifespan of roughly 50-100 years, meaning he would be long gone by the time Anakin showed up if he were already an established Jedi in The Acolyte. A 2013 trading card confirms the same age. However, it’s important to note that the Insider’s Guide is considered among the “Legends” portion of the franchise and is no longer canon—according to the Mouse House and George Lucas himself.

Ki-Adi-Mundi’s age controversy, explained

Ultimately, Ki-Adi-Mundi’s age was never confirmed in canon, and details like these can vary between Expanded Universe/Legends and canon material. So, even though Ki-Adi-Mundi’s cameo isn’t technically a retcon, it has still rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way, with many channeling their mounting frustrations with Disney into nitpicking every aspect of The Acolyte, even claiming that the story is “lore-breaking” because he … uses a different color lightsaber?

As other social media users noted, since when have we literally ever cared about Ki-Adi-Mundi?! He’s an iconic Star Wars character, sure, but never have I once lost sleep over the question “How old is Ki-Adi-Mundi?” We know that some species (like Master Yoda’s) can live hundreds of years, so it’s not absurd to think Cereans have similar lifespans. Plus, if we’re really getting into the Ki-Adi-Mundi lore, it’s far more interesting to talk about the whole having five wives thing. My man was getting it.

Look, even I, a prequels stan, can admit that Ki-Adi-Mundi popping up in The Acolyte was a bit … random? Of all the Jedi, why not include one who people actually like? I don’t know. No one was really asking for a Ki-Adi-Mundi-ssance. But does it really matter? After all, it seems like his appearance in The Acolyte was a one-and-done situation, and an easy way to connect George Lucas’ prequels to the High Republic.

So while his inclusion in the show might’ve been, perhaps, ill-informed, especially with the character’s whole “the Sith have been extinct for a millennia” line, I’m going to go ahead and classify this as it’s not that deep. And c’mon, it’s 2024… maybe don’t bully and harass the writer of the episode online? Of course, you can have your own feelings on the matter, but personally, I’m going to sit back and observe all of this new Ki-Adi-Mundi discourse. Give this man his polycule already, cowards!

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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.