That Qimir scene in the Acolyte proves the thirst is strong with Star Wars fans, and the Dark Side has never been more dangerous

Manny Jacinto as the Stranger in The Acolyte episode 6
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

The Acolyte episode 5 blew fans away with two major developments that changed the show, and perhaps even Stars Wars, forever. Now, we know what you're thinking. Those surprise Jedi deaths? Or perhaps the reveal of who the masked Sith is? Good guesses, sure, but they're both wrong. We are of course talking about Qimir's physical presence.

With every flex of his biceps in each duel, actor Manny Jacinto's Qimir had the whole internet selling their souls in a desperate bid to be held like his lightsaber (seriously, just take one swift look at Twitter). Suddenly people who had no interest in Star Wars were firing up Disney Plus faster than Han shooting Greedo.   

But if fans already needed Qimir in a biblical sense, The Acolyte somehow turned the heat up even more this week with a much bigger reveal in episode 6. Namely, his nude scene.

Warning - the following features spoilers for the latest episode.

Stripping down

Qimir in The Acolyte

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

It all begins when Osha wakes up alone in a cave by the ocean. Her wounds have been carefully treated and cared for. Suspicious much? Still wary, Osha ventures outside to discover Qimir, the man who kidnapped her and killed her friends. He apparently doesn't see her though, so Osha follows as he wanders down to a rocky beach and removes his clothes for a swim. Yes, all of them. 

Of course, Qimir knows that Osha is there, watching, so he makes a show of it for her. Sensing that he's vulnerable, Osha grabs his lightsaber, but that's all part of the plan as well. He wants her to feel the weight of it in her hands, to consider her relationship with the Force again. That's not enough though, so Qimir then entices Osha further in a very physical sense.   

"If you're not gonna join me, I'd like to put my clothes back on," he says before emerging from the water. Osha's eyes can't help but take in every curve of the Sith's body.

Not since Jabba the Hutt put Leia in a bikini have we seen so much bare flesh in this galaxy far, far away. That's the point though, because The Acolyte isn't just stripping Qimir down to bring in new viewers. It's not just there to bring in more tension either, although that sexual energy between him and Osha is obviously thrilling from a narrative standpoint. No, the real reason why Qimir's nude scene has been included is far darker.

An invitation

The Acolyte

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Dark Side has always been seductive, yet never in such a visceral way before. That's something The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland was keen to tap into when crafting this key part of the story. As she put it recently in a chat with Inverse: "I always really loved the line in A New Hope when Obi-Wan says 'Vader was seduced by the Dark Side'. Always loved that word, 'seduced'."

It's why a naked Qimir invites Osha into the water with him. It's why he deliberately leaves his lightsaber out for her to hold. And it's also why he doesn't fight back later when Osha brings the lightsaber up to his throat. This kind of lust and desire can override everything, even rational thought, although that's not to say what Qimir tells Osha doesn't make sense.

"Below the surface of consciousness are powerful emotions," he tells her. "Anger. Fear. Loss." [Insert extremely dramatic pause]. "Desire…" Yes, that loaded silence hanging on the word "desire" proves Qimir knows exactly what he's doing, but he's not being as manipulative as it seems. 

In fact, the reason why his words resonate so much with Osha isn't just because she's clearly attracted to Qimir. It's because everything he says to her actually makes sense. It's grounded in truth. And that's frightening because this 'truth', that the Jedi's way can be restricting and even unfair, is supposedly "the path to the Dark Side".

Or at least, that's how Osha sees it at first. But as her two mothers also proved before, there's more than one way to tap into The Force. And just because these other ways might be different to the Jedi's approach, that doesn't necessarily make them wrong or 'evil'. "Semantics" indeed. Well, aside from the whole "Qimir kills Jedi to get what he wants" thing. That's pretty evil. But he does have a point still, and that's why Osha is tempted enough to try on his helmet by the end and do her best impression of Darth Vader breathing. 

Enemies to potential lovers

The Acolyte

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

It's quite a leap, to go from fearing someone to wanting them, and even wanting to be like them. But The Acolyte puts the work in, just as Qimir does, to make this gradual switch from enemies to potential lovers feel seamless. And much of that is down to the nudity, Qimir's willingness to be vulnerable with Osha. 

The contrast between neck-snapping Qimir and Qimir the seducer had to be as extreme and visual as possible for it to work. With his clothes removed, the intimidating alpha male is gone and in his place stands a vulnerable bad boy who likes to cook and whisper all the right (or wrong) things in Osha's ear.  

Who knew that a flash of pecs would turn Osha and fans alike to the Dark Side so readily? And who knew that characters in Star Wars even had these kinds of urges? If nothing else, Qimir's skinny-dip fleshes out this world — like Andor before it — in ways that shape these space wizard hijinks into something more human.

The Acolyte drops a new installment on Disney Plus weekly. For more on the show, check out our deep dives on: 

David Opie

With ten years of online journalism experience, David has written about TV, film, and music for a wide range of publications including Indiewire, Paste, Empire, Digital Spy, Radio Times, Teen Vogue and more. He's spoken on numerous LGBTQ+ panels to discuss queer representation and in 2020, he created Digital Spy's Rainbow Crew interview series, which celebrates queer talent on both sides of the camera via video content and longform reads. Passions include animation, horror, comics, and LGBTQ+ storytelling, which is why David longs to see a Buffy-themed Rusical on RuPaul's Drag Race.