The Acolyte: Is The Stranger the first Knight of Ren?

There are a few similarities between The Acolyte's villain and the Ren
Scene from Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Scene from Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

After hiding the identity of its main villain for the first half of the season, episode 5 of The Acolyte "Night" finally revealed The Stranger to be Qimir, the seemingly timid and bumbling associate of Mae. While the twist may not have been all that surprising for many fans, there may be more going on than meets the eye.

Some fans have begun speculating that the supposed Sith may be connected to Kylo Ren, creating an interesting throughline from the earliest point on the Star Wars live-action timeline to the very last. There are more than a few similarities, and the reveal could even help clear up a potential plot hole within the show.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)..Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. /

While fans were first introduced to Kylo Ren in 2015's The Force Awakens, his backstory was not fully detailed until 2019, when Marvel Comics released The Rise of Kylo Ren 4-issue miniseries. This storyline revealed that the previous leader of the Knights of Ren was a man simply called Ren. Ren was a dark-side Force user who was active during the time of the Galactic Civil War and was not considered a Sith.

Wielding a lightsaber, also called Ren, which was passed down from his Master, Ren claims that "The Ren doesn't stop to worry about what it's burning or the right or wrong of it, or the goals it might achieve. The Ren just is. It lives, and it consumes, and it doesn't apologize. It is its nature and nothing else. I believe in that principle on a deep, deep level. In fact, I've dedicated my life to it".

This philosophy seems very much in line with Qimir, who tells Sol that he wants nothing more than the freedom to wield his power without oversight or consequence. He also talks about wanting an acolyte. If Qimir truly is tied to the Ren, we could be seeing the origins and recruitment of the first Knights of Ren. And while the timeline doesn't exactly line up for Qimir to be THE Ren from the comics, the character makes it clear that he obtained his position and beliefs from his master, indicating a potentially lengthy line of Rens operating in the shadows for many years.

Marvel Comics Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren. Knights of Ren. Image Credit: /

There are a few visual similarities between Qimir and Ren, as well. The sleeveless look with his blackened arms harkens back to the Ren's depiction in the comics, in which he goes without a shirt and has black scars covering most of his torso and arms. It is hard to tell if Qimir's arms are burned or just dirty, but there are similarities.

Additionally, Qimir's single arm brace worn on his left wrist is a look that Ren embraced. The Stranger's helmet is also somewhat reminiscent of Kylo Ren's, particularly in the back. Some fans had even dubbed the character "Smilo Ren," a nod to the crude smile carved into his helmet before his identity had been revealed, further deepening the link between characters.

Lastly, the final moment of episode 5 of The Acolyte contained an audio callback to Kylo Ren's theme from the sequel trilogy, as Qimir approaches an unconscious Osha. While all of this could simply add up to nothing more than audible Easter eggs or pure coincidence, the similarities are interesting.

(L): Osha (Amandla Stenberg) in a scene from Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Qimir being the first Ren would close a potential plot hole that many fans have been concerned with since The Acolyte debuted concerning the Sith. In The Phantom Menace, Jedi Ki-Adi Mundi claims that the Sith have been extinct "for a millennium," thereby indicating that the appearance of one a mere century before the prequels would be "impossible."

There are many ways around this plot hole to begin with. Just because Mundi and the other Jedi believe the Sith to be extinct does not make that true, as obviously, Darths Plagueis and Sidious had been around for quite some time. The Jedi are simply unaware of the Sith, but they do still exist.

There are also possible explanations to come, such as the characters from The Acolyte covering up the existence of The Stranger, or simply being killed off by the show's end, unable to share what happened. Given the shocking Jedi bloodbath that occurred in episode 5, this isn't entirely out of the question.

The simplest answer seems to be the most likely though: The Stranger is not a Sith. There have been many dark side users in both Star Wars Legends and canon who could not be considered Sith despite wielding the force and a red-bladed lightsaber. Characters like Asajj Ventress, Savage Opress, the Inquisitors, and even Kylo Ren are not considered Sith because they do not follow Sith ideology or practice the ways of that religion.

When asked who he is, Qimir specifically states that the Jedi would call him a Sith, not that he IS one. It could just be an odd choice of words, but it feels more deliberate, making a distinction between himself and the typical portrayal of the villains. If this were the case, making Qimir the first Ren could help further differentiate himself as simply a dark side Force user, leaving the ordeal of the Jedi believing the Sith to be extinct intact.

Marvel Comics Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren. Ren of the Knights of Ren faces Luke Skywalker. Image Credit: /

Given the sheer number of connections between The Acolyte and the lore surrounding Kylo Ren and his backstory, it seems as if the show is heading in this direction. Given that the show still has three episodes, anything is possible, but a direct link to the Knights of Ren seems all the more likely now. The Disney+ Star Wars series are no stranger to attempting to flesh out sequel trilogy lore, and this theory could provide an interesting backstory to some of the franchise's most mysterious villains.

Next. The Acolyte: Is Qimir the Sith Master or the Apprentice?. The Acolyte: Is Qimir the Sith Master or the Apprentice?. dark