Rebecca Henderson as Vernestra Rwoh in The Acolyte

The Acolyte: Who Is Rebecca Henderson’s Character, Vernestra Rwoh?

Rebecca Henderson portrays the only confirmed pre-existing Star Wars character in The Acolyte, Vernestra Rwoh. So, who is this character and what role does she play in the story of The Acolyte?

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The Acolyte’s Vernestra Rwoh, Explained

Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh is a Jedi Master active during the late High Republic era setting of The Acolyte, roughly 100 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. She’s a humanoid alien from the planet Mirial, which accounts for her green skin and (later in life) scalp tattoos. A legend in her own time, Vernestra earned the rank of Jedi Knight at just 15. Her career since then — as documented in a range of Star Wars: High Republic media — has proven equally remarkable. Vernestra took on a Jedi Padawan, Imri Cantaros, at just 16, and was a major player early on in the Republic’s fight against space marauders, the Nihil.

Related: Has The Acolyte Already Retconned Star Wars’ Sith Canon?

Her formidable Force powers gave the Nihil plenty of headaches, as did her purple-bladed lightsaber (which doubles as a lightwhip). Even so, Vernestra and her fellow Jedi failed to prevent the Nihil’s destruction of the Starlight Beacon space station. The resulting death and destruction haunted Vernestra — particularly as Cantaros was among the casualties. She soon took a step back from the Jedi Order, working through her issues on the idyllic Wild Space world Ibbe. Vernestra eventually returned to active duty, and by the time The Acolyte rolls around she is (to quote her Star Wars databank profile) “a leader in the Order.”

The Acolyte Showrunner Teases Vernestra Rwoh’s Role

That’s the backstory of Vernestra Rwoh, but what can we expect from her in The Acolyte? According to showrunner Leslye Headland, the Jedi Master’s journey will reflect the wider Jedi Order’s trajectory in the series. “Vern was a character that really jumped out at me immediately as someone that I wanted to see as an arc for where we were with the Jedi when we come into this story,” Headland told Collider in a March 2024 interview.

Related: Who Does Dafne Keen Play in Star Wars: The Acolyte?

“A character that started out as a prodigy […] but also sassy enough to make her lightsaber into a whip […] and then to see […] what happens over the course of becoming a more and more powerful Jedi, and going from mission after mission, to council meetings, and protocol, and ‘how do we keep this institution going, how do we check it, how do we negotiate the level of power that we have?’.”

Headland echoed these remarks in an interview with Empire the following month. Here, she described Venestra as going from a “fun-seeking adventurer” to a more restrained Jedi in the Phantom Menace mold. Headland also expressed her appreciation for Vernestra as a character, joking that this is why she cast Henderson — her real-life wife — in the role.

The Acolyte premieres on Disney+ on June 4, 2024.


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Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.