Finally. After months of waiting to see The Child (aka Baby Yoda, our Lord and Saviour) again, Disney dropped the trailer for The Mandalorian season 2 today, which streams on Disney+ as of October 30th. The trailer kept things close to the chest; we didn’t see Moff Gideon, the Darksaber or learn too much about the story in the footage revealed, but one of the biggest questions online is who the hooded figure is. While not officially confirmed, it seems that said figure is being played by former WWE Diva Sasha Banks and while many believe she’s playing a live-action version of Sabine Wrenn from Star Wars Rebels, I have my own theory and it involves the Acolytes of the Beyond.
Around halfway through the official trailer for season 2 of The Mandalorian, the armorer from the first season tells Din (Pedro Pascal) that The Child must be brought to his own kind, the sworn enemy of the Mandalorian creed: an ancient race of sorcerers known as Jedi. As she states this, we see a shot of what looks to be Sasha Banks standing in a large black hood. Due to the timing of the voiceover, some may believe that she’s a Jedi or a Force user who will be an ally to Din. Some even think she’s Sabine, a Mandalorian from Rebels who has a thing for dying her hair with bright colours, just like Sasha Banks ironically. But instead of a Jed or another Mandalorian, I think we may have gotten our first look at an Acolyte of the Beyond.
Mentioned only in the Aftermath trilogy by author Chuck Wendig, the Acolytes were essentially a cult of dark-side worshippers who operated in the months and years following the Battle of Endor. The Mandalorian takes place five years after said battle and while the existence of the Acolytes is unknown at this point, it could be that they still exist and have grown. They began buying and stockpiling Sith artifacts and even staged coordinated attacks on the New Republic and instigated a revolution on the planet Corellia. They even think they have Darth Vader’s lightsaber, something they purchased from the black-market, but chances are that they were scammed on that part.
Interestingly, these beings are not Force-sensitive, unlike the Inquisitors and the Sith, and see non-Force-sensitive beings, such as themselves and, well, most of the galaxy, as slaves to the Force and that only those strong in the Dark Side can ride the currents that is the metaphorical river of the Force. Ochi, the assassin who found the Sith Dagger in The Rise of Skywalker, was a member of this order. That being said, the most revered amongst their ranks have stolen lightsabers of their own. It is believed that these Acolyotes can commune with the fallen spirits of the Sith as well, a claim made by one of their leaders, Yupe Tashu, one of Palpatine’s advisors. Perhaps we can expect a more mystical and supernatural force being present in the background of The Mandalorian season 2, which otherwise focuses heavily on the scum and villainy factions and is rumored to reintroduce Boba Fett and Cobb Vanth to the franchise.
Considering the power of The Child and how badly the Empire wants him, it should be no surprise that other dark forces might want to get their hands on him as well. The Acolytes seem very interested in all things Dark Side, but considering the shortage of Force users running around these days, they may be more inclined to kidnap a baby than go toe-to-toe with Luke Skywalker. From there, who knows why they’d want the Child, but they could perhaps try and mold him into their own image or use his Force abilities to commune with fallen Sith.
Personally, I don’t believe for a second this character is Sabine Wrenn. Maybe she’ll be in the show, and we’ll get some sort of connection to Rebels (Thrawn and Ezra information anyone?) but introducing a new Dark Side faction for the years between Jedi and Force Awakens means that the story won’t have to rely on the Empire/Imperial Remnant all the time while also giving us something new to explore. Who are these Acolytes? I’ve read the books and have crumbs worth of information to share with you. The canvas is almost blank and using the show as a stepping stone for future stories could be greatly beneficial to both The Mandalorian and future stories. Or maybe she’s just Sabine and this entire article is moot.