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The Acolyte Episode 7: Star Wars Movie References Even Hardcore Fans Missed

This article contains spoilers for "Star Wars: The Acolyte" Episode 7

It was pretty clear when "Star Wars: The Acolyte" Episode 3 was released on Disney+ that we weren't getting the whole story. Mae (Amandla Stenberg) turning from loving sister to murderous arsonist was way too abrupt, and the Jedi obviously had some hand in the death of Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) and the destruction of her coven. Episode 7 reveals what was hidden in that first series of flashbacks, casting Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in a villainous light and showing just how tragic the confrontation on Brendok really was.

The episode also has a bunch of parallels to moments and storylines from the "Star Wars" movies. "Star Wars" is always referencing and engaging in conversation with itself — a trait that George Lucas described as "rhyming." And though Lucas had no part in "The Acolyte," Episode 7 evokes both of his trilogies in a number of ways.

There are some smaller, more typical Easter eggs, as well as a couple of mirror images that cast the Jedi in a pretty dark light. These are some "Star Wars" movie references that even hardcore fans may have missed in "The Acolyte" Episode 7.

Sol's sneaking mission mirrors Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones

When Sol first comes upon Mae and Osha in the forest, he trails them and Mother Koril (Margarita Levieva) back to the fortress where the witch coven lives. Unable to access the elevator leading inside, he scales the wall of the compound and begins sneaking around. In one particular shot, Sol creeps along the rafters to spy on the witches while they train Mae and Osha in the Force. The specific angle mirrors Obi-Wan Kenobi's infiltration of the Separatist droid factory on Geonosis but with a somewhat more sinister tone.

In both cases, a Jedi is sneaking through the ceiling in a secret facility on a strange planet, investigating the potential of dark side activity. But in "Attack of the Clones," Obi-Wan is shown clearly as the good guy. Count Dooku and the Separatist council are in the midst of planning military action against the Republic when he overhears them, and even the hellish landscape of the planet itself suggests that there is evil there.

In "The Acolyte," Sol thinks he's doing the same thing — infiltrating a place of dark magic to save innocent lives. He's so convinced of this that he completely ignores Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her urges to leave the witches alone. This leads to a catastrophic tragedy, for which Sol holds the most blame.

We get a new speeder bike forest chase

The forests of Brendok aren't quite as thick or lush as those on the moon of Endor from "Return of the Jedi," but the two locations resemble each other pretty closely. On Brendok, the forest is mostly tall, thin trees like Earth pines. This landscape specifically calls to mind the Endor scene where Luke and Leia chase down stormtroopers on Imperial speeder bikes.

The similarities are clearly intentional, as "The Acolyte" Episode 7 provides its own forest speeder bike chase. After determining that Mae and Osha could represent a rare vergence in the Force, Jedi padawan Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman) leaps onto his bike to go and get them. He's so determined to get off the planet and return to Coruscant that he hardly seems to consider the larger implications of what he plans to do. It's also more than likely that the spell Mother Aniseya cast on him is still affecting his mind in dark ways when he jumps on his bike.

Indara sends Sol in pursuit, calling to mind the iconic chase scene from "Return of the Jedi." In this case, though, Sol doesn't stop Torbin. They both arrive outside of the witches' fortress, and because of his blind obsession with Osha, Sol helps Torbin get inside, where the witches are waiting to confront them.

The Acolyte twists Qui-Gon's Phantom Menace story

Perhaps the biggest "Star Wars" film twist in "The Acolyte" Episode 7 is a spin on Qui-Gon Jinn's journey to Tatooine in "The Phantom Menace." Throughout "The Acolyte," Sol is portrayed similarly to Qui-Gon — something Lee Jung-jae has said was intentional on his part. Those similarities come to a head in Episode 7, and not necessarily in a good way.

Just like Qui-Gon, Sol encounters a curious kid on a separate Jedi assignment on a distant planet. Just like Qui-Gon, he decides to take on the kid as his apprentice, even though they're too old and the Jedi Council won't like it. And just like Qui-Gon, Sol takes that child away from their home. We can debate all day whether or not Qui-Gon should have taken Anakin. He separates him from his mother, but he also saves him from a life of slavery. In Sol's case, Osha really wants to leave with him, but even before he knows that he comes off as entitled and possessive, believing their partnership to be the will of the Force. Indara pleads with him to keep his personal desires out of it, but he just can't.

There's a lot that goes wrong in the confrontation on Brendok. Sol lets fear guide him, and Koril lets anger guide her. Mae makes a brash mistake in a fit of passion because she can't bear to watch her sister go. Indara commits a heinous act in an effort to save Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo). And, in the end, Sol chooses Osha over Mae, letting the other girl tumble into a pit of fire.

Never insult a Wookiee's cooking

In a less dramatic parallel than some of the prequel references, "The Acolyte" Episode 7 has some top-tier Wookiee content. Some of that material is pretty dark, with Kelnacca being possessed by the witches and forced to fight against his Jedi allies. However, there are also some lighter moments.

Early in the episode, we see the Jedi cooking and eating around their forest camp at night. Kelnacca is the one on dinner duty, it seems, and he's shown turning some sort of strange fowl on a spit. The shot mirrors Chewbacca roasting delicious porgs in "The Last Jedi," though Kelnacca isn't shamed for wanting some protein. It seems that many Wookiees enjoy a good rotisserie space chicken when they're out on uninhabited planets. Maybe it's an old Kashyyyk recipe.

In the same scene, Indara calls to mind the famous "let the Wookiee win" line from the original "Star Wars," telling Torbin that it's unwise to insult a Wookiee's cooking. The running trend seems to be that you never want to get on a Wookiee's bad side in "Star Wars," whether you're playing them in cyber-chess or having a bad case of homesick tummy aches.

Mother Aniseya foreshadows Order 66

When Torbin and Sol infiltrate the coven's fortress at the end of "The Acolyte" Episode 7, they're confronted by Mother Aniseya and her witches, all armed and ready to fight. "Someday," the witch leader tells Sol, "those noble intentions you all have will destroy every Jedi in the galaxy." Shortly afterward, Aniseya begins a spell that starts to turn both herself and Mae into smoke, and Sol strikes her with his lightsaber, killing her dead.

There are a couple of different ways to read the line. In one sense, it's a direct reference to Qui-Gon taking Anakin away from his home, only for him to grow up and become the tool of the Jedi's destruction. More generally, though, Aniseya seems to be foreshadowing how the Jedi keep wading into dangerous territory because they believe themselves to be guided by light. Using a clone army, becoming generals in the Republic military, and allowing the Chancellor to consolidate more and more executive power during the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy are all things the Jedi do with "noble intentions." 

Just like Sol on Brendok, the Jedi of the prequels believe they're doing what they must to protect innocent lives from evil. In both cases, those intentions cause violence, bloodshed, and tragedy.