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The Acolyte’s dark side fighting style has ancient and extensive connections to the universe

Thought cortosis was the only thing with roots of Star Wars‘ expanded universe which appeared on The Acolyte this week? It turns out that another old concept was hiding in plain sight…well, from a certain perspective.

Image from article titled The Acolyte's dark side fighting style has ancient and extensive connections to the universe.

Looking at the stranger, Mae’s sinister masterAs he fought his way through the Jedi on Khofar in “Night” this week, you may have noticed that his unorthodox fighting style saw him constantly disengaging and re-engaging with his enemies—a flurry of attacks, disabling his lightsaber, only to have it repeat itself over and over again. It’s just one of the many duplicitous tools in the Stranger’s arsenal that we see throughout the episode, but not only is it a form of lightsaber combat largely unseen onscreen until now, it has roots in the Expanded Universe. Star Wars websites Distribution of quizzes for “Night” confirmed that the Stranger uses a form of lightsaber combat called tràkata, defined by the use of the lightsaber’s unique property as a melee weapon that can be activated and deactivated during combat.

First introduced in Tom Veitch’s audio adaptation of John Whitman Dark Empire comic series in 1994, but was not officially given its name until the final edition of Wizards of the Coasts’ Star Wars Role Playing Game in 2007, tràkata was not a fully developed form of practiced lightsaber combatbut rather a philosophical technique that relied on using the ability to turn off and on a lightsaber blade in the middle of a fight to trick or execute your opponent. A practitioner of tràkata might briefly turn off his blade to force his opponent into an overreaching attack, or become unbalanced by the sudden change in force of an effort against another weapon, opening his defenses—or suddenly turn on his blade to deliver an immediate and precise strike, such as placing the hilt of his saber on an opponent’s head or chest. Tràkata was frowned upon by both Jedi and Sith: to the Jedi, it was despicable to trick one’s opponent in what was supposed to be an honorable duel; to the Sith, the idea of ​​a fighting style that minimized the power and anger that fueled them was cowardly.

Image from the article titled The Acolyte's Dark Side Fighting Style Has Ancient Ties to the Expanded Universe

Picture: Lucasfilm

While The Acolyte marks the first time that tràkata is explicitly named in the current Star Wars Continuity, this is not quite the first time we have seen elements of the form in recent material. Star Wars Visions The first season episode “The Elder” sees a duel between a Jedi Master and a Sith culminating in the former briefly extinguishing his blade and moving its hilt toward the Sith’s chest, setting him ablaze and mortally wounding him in an instant – and arguably a similar move is employed in The Last Jediwhen Kylo Ren catches a lightsaber thrown by Rey, rapidly turning the blade on and off while the hilt was pointed at the head of a Praetorian Guard who was holding him back. Ahsokathe fourth episode“Fallen Jedi”, Inquisitor Marrok briefly disengages one of the blades of his double-bladed saber as Ahsoka collides with it, forcing her to momentarily lose her balance.

The version of tràkata employed by the Stranger is a bit different from these previous examples – choosing to disengage and re-engage in combat for longer periods of time than just quickly extinguishing one’s lightsaber – but it’s still interesting to see another way The Acolyte weaves elements from everywhere Star Wars‘ history.


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