The Acolyte’s Lightwhip Isn’t New To Star Wars

By Zack Zagranis | Published

There’s a new Star Wars show premiering soon, so of course, the trolls are out in full force. This time, their ire is directed at the new trailer for The Acolyte, specifically the appearance of a weapon never seen before in live-action: a lightwhip. The Fandom Menace immediately took to the internet to complain about the new weapon…oh, sorry, we mean the weapon that’s been a part of Star Wars for 40 years. Seriously, any vitriol over Jedi using a weapon that’s technically been in canon since 1985 comes off as lazy and…well…touristy.

The Acolyte Goes Deep Into Star Wars Lore

Look, we think gatekeeping is stupid, and usually, when people call other fans “tourists,” it’s to insult them and imply that since they don’t know as much about a fandom, their enjoyment of it is somehow not legit. For example, the small but vocal segment of the Star Wars fandom that hates anything made by Disney will often call fans of the sequels tourists. In this situation, it feels warranted, though.

We’re not saying that fans deserve to be ridiculed if they don’t know about the Star Wars universe’s long history of lightwhip wielders, but when they then use that ignorance to make fun of The Acolyte for, say, ripping off Demon Slayer—an anime where one character uses a similar weapon—despite the existence of the lightwhip predating the anime by decades…yeah, you’re kinda a tourist.

Mace Windu Isn’t The Only Purple Lightsaber Wielder

the acolyte darth revan

That’s just one of the complaints “fans” have had about the lightwhip appearing in The Acolyte. Other gripes are that it’s purple-ish, and apparently, only Mace Windu can have a purple lightsaber. These fans must not have heard of Knights of the Old Republic, Jedi: Fallen Order, or any other game where you can wield a purple lightsaber.

Curiously, none of the fans that have a problem with the purple lightwhip in The Acolyte seem to mind Darth Revan using a purple lightsaber.

The Debut Of Lightwhips

The lightwhip first appeared in an issue of the original Marvel Star Wars comic, Star Wars #95 (February 12, 1985). The weapon was wielded by a Dark Lady of the Sith known as Lumiya, a former Emperor’s Hand like Mara Jade. The weapon’s origin in the hands of a Dark Sider leads to the third biggest complaint from the Fandom Menace regarding the lightwhip: only the Sith use them.

Obi-Wan Used One

See, there are layers of tourism. Some disgruntled Star Wars fans are aware of the lightwhip’s existence but can’t be bothered to look up the weapon’s history before hopping on X—or a similar platform—to grumble about Jedi Master Vernestra Rwoh swinging around a tool of the bad guys. While it’s rare, Jedi have used lightwhips before.

None other than Obi-Wan Kenobi used a lightwhip for a short time during the Clone Wars. That’s in Legends, but even in canon, there is a history of Jedi occasionally using the tricky lightsaber-varients. During the Sith Wars 5,000 years before A New Hope, several Jedi employed lightwhips for their effectiveness at countering the Forbidden Forms sometimes utilized by the Sith.

The Acolyte Is Coming Soon

By the High Republic Era, when The Acolyte is set, it was rare for a Jedi to use a lightwhip, but not unheard of. And before anyone tries to pull the “But Vernestra is using a lightsaber that turns into a whip, not a true lightwhip…” card—another tourist complaint—all lightwhips are considered lightsaber variants. Yes, some can go back and forth, and some, like Lumiya’s, can have a cat-o-nine-tails at the end, but they’re all still lightwhips.

That’s like saying that the Inquisitor’s lightsabers aren’t still double-bladed lightsabers just because they spin.

Bottom line: lightwhips aren’t new. They’ve existed in one form or another for almost 40 years, and complaining about the one in The Acolyte makes you seem like a tourist. The Acolyte and its purple lightwhip make their debut on June 4 on Disney +.

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