The Star Wars Video Game That Sheds Light On The Acolyte Fight Scenes

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Could a forgotten PlayStation (PS1) game hold the key to understanding the newest Star Wars series? The upcoming Disney+ offering, The Acolyte, looks to be going for a heavy martial arts vibe, and when Star Wars fans hear martial arts, they immediately think of Teras Kasi, an in-universe fighting style first introduced in the 1997 video game Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi.

Could The Acolyte be drawing inspiration from an almost 30-year-old video game? Stranger things have happened.

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Teras Kasi means “Steel Hand” in Finnish and coincidentally in Star Wars Basic. In-universe, it’s a martial art first developed to combat the Jedi, but as Solo’s Dryden Vos once told his second-in-command Qi’ra, “It works quite well on anyone with limbs to break.” It’s not a well-known technique, and only the most skilled warriors, like the ones present in The Acolyte, know how to use Teras Kasi in a fight.

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Teras Kasi was first mentioned briefly in Steve Perry’s 1996 Legends novel Shadows of the Empire before getting its own video game. The plot behind Masters of Teras Kasi is quite dumb and contributes to the game’s less-than-stellar reputation. Palpatine throws a hissy fit over the destruction of the first Death Star and sends Arden Lyn—a master of hand-to-hand combat like The Acolyte‘s Mae—to assassinate all the most important rebels using the martial art Teras Kasi.

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Luke and Co. find out and challenge Lyn to a Street Fighter-esque tournament. The whole thing was meant to be the Star Wars equivalent of Tekken, but it ended up failing miserably. And yet, somehow, this dumpster fire of an early 3-D fighting game has lived on—or at least part of it has—with The Acolyte being the most recent proof of Teras Kasi’s enduring legacy.

Teras Kasi Exists In The Star Wars Universe

While most of the other things created for the game have been all but forgotten, like Arden Lyn and Hoar, the Tusken Raider whose name made every 12-year-old who played the game giggle uncontrollably, Teras Kasi itself lives on. The fighting style was first legitimized in Legends, appearing in novels like Darth Plagueis and Death Star, as well as in other video games like Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It became canon thanks to Solo: A Star Wars Story, which leads us to The Acolyte and its possible connection to Teras Kasi.

Star Wars Is Built On Recognition

You might be wondering how the presence of martial arts in The Acolyte automatically translates to it being Teras Kasi. Simple. That’s how Star Wars works.

Star Wars relies on recognition for its world-building. When you see a desert planet, nine times out of 10, it’s Tatooine. If you see a Wookie, it’s probably wearing a bandoleer or something else strapped across its chest because that’s what Chewie wore. Hand-to-hand martial arts in The Acolyte trailer? Gotta be Teras Kasi.

The Plot Of The Acolyte Is Still Secret

Mae using Teras Kasi against the Jedi, we see her fight in the trailer, which makes sense on a story level as well. Fans are speculating that the titular acolyte is Mae meaning that a Sith is probably training her in secret to help them overthrow their master. Given that Mae swinging around a red lightsaber would ruin any secrecy, it only makes sense that this unknown Sith Lord would train their acolyte in a fighting style that focuses on taking down force users like Teras Kasi.

While the inclusion of Teras Kasi in The Acolyte makes the most sense logically, we won’t know for sure until the series has its two-episode premiere on June 4 on Disney+.

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