So, what is the connection between the Acolytes of the Beyond to Palpatine and the Knights of Ren?
Aftermath describes that the Acolytes were trying to buy Vader's saber from a vendor who claims to have discovered it so that they may “destroy it and return it to its master in death.”
First of all, what is an acolyte in real-world terms? Isn't that something found in Gatorade? No, an acolyte is someone who performs religious duties as part of a ceremony or who has been inducted into a particular ministry.
In this case, the acolytes are presumably in the “ministry” of whatever “the Beyond” is. They worship fallen Sith and wish to venerate them by returning their “earthly” weapons to them (in spirit, at least).
We could presume the Beyond is the realm of the Force inhabited by Force ghosts such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and good old Master Yoda.
Remember, if Qui-Gon can learn the tricks of the Force, so can Darth Sidious AKA Emperor Palpatine. Are the Acolytes of the Beyond in touch with Palpatine? Are they serving him?
Perhaps an even more broad question is did the Knights of Ren form out of the Acolytes of the Beyond? Remember, in The Force Awakens, Kylo is certainly trying to channel the spirit of Vader via the helmet.
Here's a passage from the Aftermath novel by Chuck Wendig:
“No Sith remains. And the lone Jedi that exists–the son of Anakin Skywalker–possesses an untouchable soul. At least for now. We must instead move towards the dark side. Palpatine felt that the universe beyond the edges of our map was where his power came from. Over the many years he, with our aid, sent men and women beyond known space. They built labs and communication stations on distant moons, asteroids, out there in the wilds. We must follow them. Retreat from the Galaxy. Go out beyond the veil of stars. We must seek the source of the dark side like a man looking for a wellspring of water.”
Now let's wildly speculate about this beyond and tie the Acolytes to Emperor Palpatine and any other crazy theory we can up to.
It's clear that Palpatine is back for The Rise of Skywalker. How is this the case? How did he survive his apparent Death at the hands of Vader and the destruction of Death Star II?
He appears to be the same version of Palpatine that Vader lifted up and threw down the well. Albeit one connected to some awful life support system. Was Snoke a puppet of Palpatine? Some variant of a clone of himself? EDIT: Yes, Snoke was a clone of something…
Time will tell.
What we do now know is that there is a massive fleet of original Empire Star Destroyers in the The Rise of Skywalker. They are not First Order ships under Hux's control. Where have these ships been for thirty years? Have they been hiding out in the great beyond, the place that Palpatine said was beyond the edges of the maps? Have they been hiding where the labs and communications stations are? Are these ships under Palpatine's control? Did the Acolytes look after them while he has been “dormant”? Who's been there? Thrawn? The Acolytes? Palpatine himself?
What's cool is the official poster for The Rise of Skywalker features the Knights of Ren. It is quite possible we may learn some answers about who this group actually is, how Kylo uses them, and any connections they may have to Palpatine (or even Snoke) and perhaps the Acolytes.
Update: We suspect many of the “attendants” Palpatine had on Exogol were indeed Acolytes.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.