Leslye Headland Admits She Challenged Gender Norms With Qimir on Purpose in ‘The Acolyte’: “He cannot seem like an alpha male-y & intimidating”

Qimir and osha
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This week’s episode of ‘The Acolyte’ revealed a completely different side of Qimir, also known as The Stranger, the newest Sith Lord in the Star Wars franchise. Following episode 5, where he eliminated almost all the Jedi on Khofar, episode 6 presented him in a naked and vulnerable state to Osha.

Showrunner Leslye Headland confirmed much about his motivations and hinted at a developing relationship in the show. She also revealed that she intentionally gave Qimir “female-coded” traits.

In a recent interview with Collider, the show’s creator, Leslye Headland, discussed the dynamics of Qimir and Osha’s current relationship. She explained that Osha will be “seduced” quite literally by the dark side. When asked if Qimir appeared “softer” than Osha on purpose—citing examples like Qimir cooking for Osha and Osha wearing pants—Headland confirmed this was intentional.

Qimir has already demonstrated his brutal capabilities. Now, around Osha, he needs to prove that he is also capable of deeper emotion and thought, which is why we see him wearing white and cooking.

Which works so well. I think that also creates some of the best dynamics in storytelling. Speaking about costumes and symbolism, I love how this ship plays with gender norms. You have this flowy outfit that Qimir has on and Osha is a Mek. I see people starting to pick up on that a little because he’s so femme-coded, and his clothes and the fact that he’s cooking for her, and he’s very soft-spoken. And then you have her wearing the pants and being like, “I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna shank you.”

HEADLAND: It’s so wildly intentional that I don’t know what to say.

Because it’s just there.

HEADLAND: It’s so clear what’s going on. So anybody that’s picking up on it, congrats, awesome. But again, the dynamics had to be what they are after what he did in [Episode] 5. He cannot seem like an alpha male-y, intimidating — we know he’s capable of that from 5 — but that cannot be his dynamic with her. It wouldn’t make sense! We have to see this other side of him, and we have to see specifically the way he is with her. He never let Mae see his face, and he let her see him naked. You know what I mean? The character design was very, very intentional.

But also this is, again, this is the story of the bad guys. So unlike Rey and Kylo, where Rey is always in these lighter colors, and he’s in black, then the Sith would be in white and the character, really, that’s struggling with both sides would be wearing gray. It just seems like it had to be that way.

I understand Headland’s intent with the symbolism, but it’s amusing that they used Qimir, a man, cooking as a metaphor to show he is “challenging gender norms,” implying that cooking is perceived as something only women do.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!

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