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The Acolyte: One Of Star Wars' Youngest Jedi Knights Is Key To The Disney+ Show

The live-action "Star Wars" franchise has long focused on the Skywalker Saga, rarely straying outside of the Jedi or Sith involved in that timeline. However, "The Acolyte" looks to be breaking that streak with the addition of one of the youngest Jedi to ever serve as a Knight, Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson).

Rwoh was alive during the High Republic Era, in which the prosperous Galactic Republic expanded to the Outer Rim Territories. There, it encountered a new enemy: the Nihil, a group of marauders who wanted to keep the Republic away from the outer reaches of the galaxy at all costs and whom Rwoh came up against often.

Rwoh's inclusion on the new Disney+ series not only adds diversity — since Rwoh is aromantic and asexual — and connects the live-action world with the expanded published world but also signals a shift in the focus of the "Star Wars" live-action franchise: "The Acolyte" could be the first of many new and exciting installments from all over the galaxy and set centuries before the Skywalkers walked the halls of the Jedi.

Who is Vernestra Rwoh?

Vernestra Rwoh served as Jedi Master Stellan Gios' Padawan before passing her trials and attaining the rank of Jedi Knight at the age of 15 and going on her first proper mission at the age of 16. She is a Mirialan, a near-human species known for its green, yellow, blue, and other skin tones. Mirialans typically have geometric face tattoos and are incredibly agile, making them very adept at lightsaber combat.

Rwoh is one of the main characters in "Star Wars: The High Republic," a multimedia project consisting of novels, comics, and audio plays set two centuries before the birth of Anakin Skywalker. Her first official mission sees her looking after a senator's daughter, Avon Starros, with whom she finds a kinship (although she is often annoyed by Avon's distaste at being told what to do). Rwoh is a skilled lightsaber combatant and eventually has the idea to modify her lightsaber so that it can also be used as a lightwhip, giving it the properties of a bullwhip instead of a sword.

One unique power she has among Jedi is a connection to hyperspace, where she has the ability to both navigate ships using the Force and receive visions. Though Master Gios urged her to nurture these abilities during her apprenticeship, she refused. However, this power would be a welcome evolution of the on-screen Jedi and something that the franchise could explore in the future.

Her importance to the franchise

Rebecca Henderson is set to bring Rwoh to life for the first time on "The Acolyte," which will take place near the end of the High Republic era. This, coupled with the fact that Henderson is in her 40s, means we will see an older version of Rwoh, one who is deep in her time as a Jedi and perhaps one of the more powerful in the Order.

Rwoh is unlike any character we have seen before in a live-action "Star Wars" project. First, her lightwhip could be a very cool on-screen weapon with which to engage in epic lightsaber battles on par with "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," and second, her being asexual and aromantic brings a unique angle of diversity to a franchise that sorely lacks any outright representation. Rwoh has the potential to usher in a new era of "Star Wars" that gives us the true range of species, philosophies, and identities that the galaxy has always had in droves but has never been represented on-screen.

Instead of needing to fight an identity to fit into a box, Henderson's Rwoh will be a refreshing change as someone able to lean into the philosophies of the Jedi, who are taught that romantic attachments are distractions (the fall of Skywalker is a perfect example of why). More importantly, a corner of people rarely represented on-screen might be truly seen.