What exactly is Cortosis?

SPOILER WARNING: The Acolyte Season 1 Episode 5


If you’ve watched the newest episode of the Acolyte you may have noticed that the Sith Lord known as Qimir wore a helmet and gauntlets that appeared to disable light sabers. Unless you’ve dipped your toes in some of the Star Wars books you were probably very confused as to how that happened. Well, though it’s not officially confirmed, all signs point to Qimir’s armor being made of a rare ore called Cortosis.

Cortosis has appeared only a handful of times in the Star Wars books and comics. Its first appearance was in Star Wars: A New Dawn, a Star Wars Rebels book released in 2014. Since then it has shown up in the Dr. Aphra as well as some Thrawn books. 

But what exactly is Cortosis? Well, it’s a metal with a very high energy absorption rate and transmission coefficients which basically means it can absorb any energy and dissipate it across its whole structure. This is how it is able to short out light sabers and absorb blaster shots. Cortosis by itself is an extremely soft metal and is therefore usually useless for things like structures and armor. However, it can be weaved within a stronger metal and still maintain its energy absorption properties, therefore becoming both durable and immune to blaster fire and light saber attacks. 

Cortosis may seem like a game changer for armor and protection from both Jedi and Sith alike. However it is extremely rare and has only ever been found on 2 planets. In addition the refining process is quite greuling. Dooku did try to use it during the Clone Wars but was stopped by Anakin Skywalker. Using cortosis on a large scale just simply isn’t practical.

There’s a line in the new Acolyte episode that implies Cortosis has force resistance properties as well, something we’ve never seen in any of the books or comics. Master Sol tells Qimir to take off the helmet and Qimir denies stating that removing it would allow Master Sol to read his thoughts. This may mean that in the live action canon cortosis may have some force resistant properties, however it is too soon to tell.

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