We’re still very far, far away from the release of the High Republic era Star Wars live-action series, The Acolyte, but the series creator and showrunner, Leslye Headland has provided new details on the series.
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During an interview with the Dagobah Dispatch podcast, the Russian Doll creator revealed that the upcoming Star Wars series will feature more Jedi than any other Star Wars content. Headland doesn’t specify if she’s just talking about live-action in regards to content, you’d likely assume she was, otherwise it’s a fair feat getting more Jedi involved in a single series than many novels, comics and games that have released over the years.
“We have more Jedi [in The Acolyte] than you’ve seen in any other of the Star Wars content.” – Leslye Headland via Dagobah Dispatch
Headland during the chat went on to describe the state of the Star Wars galaxy at this point in the timeline with the series being set one hundred years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, adding that the Jedi in this era are at the height of their power and it’s a time of peace throughout the galaxy.
“I would say that The Acolyte stands out because it is the earliest in the Star Wars timeline than we have ever been in live-action. We are towards the end of the High Republic, leading into the prequels, George [Lucas]’s prequels. So we are looking at a time period where the Jedi are at the height of their power. We’re looking at a time period where there is peace throughout the galaxy, and it was very challenging and interesting to make a Star Wars with no war in it.” – Leslye Headland via Dagobah Dispatch
One thing that’s been teased as a selling point of the show ever since fans became aware of the series being in development three years ago was that the series will have a unique take, focusing on the perspective of the villains instead of the heroes. Amandla Stenberg (Bodies, Bodies, Bodies) has been cast as the series lead and the trailer showcased at Star Wars Celebration in April and shown again at Disney’s Upfront event, showed Stenberg’s character attempting to assassinate the Jedi, specifically Carrie Anne Moss’ mysterious Jedi character. Headland says that Star Wars has always been about the underdog taking on the institution, the Rebel Alliance battling against the Galactic Empire, and the Resistance taking on the First Order, but with the Jedi being so strong in numbers in a time of peace, it’s the villains that have become the underdog in The Acolyte story.
“I think that what makes this show different and interesting is that it’s from the perspective of the bad guys or the villains of Star Wars. These are people who are using the Force in their own way, dipping into the darker side of the Force, and are doing it without being sanctioned by the larger institution, which in this case is the Jedi. And I think that Star Wars is always about some version of the underdog vs. the institution.” – Leslye Headland via Dagobah Dispatch
The series creator also teased the morale ambiguity of the characters featured in series, just like her previous comment in regards to the series featuring more Jedi than in any other piece of Star Wars content, The Acolyte will feature more morally ambiguous characters than fans have seen in previous Star Wars content. The writer-director also hinted at fans getting to see action utilised in The Acolyte in ways fans have not seen before. One of the earliest rumours of the series was that it would feature heavy usage of martial arts and perhaps this is what Headland is hinting at.
“I think you see more morally ambiguous characters than you’ve seen in other Star Wars content. And I think I can say this pretty confidently: I don’t think you’re going to see action in other shows the way that you see it used and utilized in our show.” – Leslye Headland via Dagobah Dispatch
The Acolyte has been confirmed for a 2024 release, with my sources telling me that they expect the series to release within the second quarter of the year. Most fans have seen very little of the series, but fans such as myself who were present at the Lucasfilm Showcase during this years Star Wars Celebration got to see the first trailer for The Acolyte and you can read the details of what was shown in that trailer below.
The trailer opens with Lee Jung Jae’s Jedi master teaching a group of younglings inside of a Jedi temple. The trailer cuts to a mysterious purple-hooded figure from behind making their way through a bustling town. The mysterious figure walks into a bar of some sort and we see them targeting a character played by Carrie Anne Moss, who appears to be a Jedi. The mysterious figure is revealed to the series lead, Amandla Stenberg, who’s sporting red dreadlocks, black cloth mask, a metal plate on her chest, and what appears to be chain mail beneath as she swings a small dagger in an attempt to kill Moss, but Carrie Anne dodges every swing with ease.
The trailer continues and shows us Charlie Barnett’s character using the force, complete in the recognisable white and gold robes of the High Republic era Jedi. We see two Neimoidians aboard a star ship in a quick shot inter-spliced with Stenberg’s character creeping around corners and Jung Jae continuing to teach the younglings. Stenberg whips out her dagger and swings it at an unknown character, as Charlie Barnett ignites a yellow lightsaber whilst exploring caverns with an alien Jedi (possibly Dafne Keen’s character). We see Rebecca Henderson’s Jedi character with white and gold robes opening a door in a Jedi temple with the force and Manny Jacinto’s character looking disheveled peaking around a corner. Jodie Tuner Smith’s character is seen looking regal as what appears to be her followers open their hands in front of her as she walks through them. We see Stenberg swing at Moss once again with her trustee dagger which is blocked by the force. We see Lee Jung Jae, Charlie Barnett and an unknown female character, all Jedi, walking up a snowy mountain in the midst of a blizzard. The final shot of the trailer see’s Lee Jung Jae and seven other Jedi ignite their lightsabers in a forest location. End of trailer.
The Acolyte, which is set during the High Republic era, will follow a former padawan and her Jedi master as they investigate a series of crimes, but encounter forces more sinister than what they’ve imagined. The series stars Amandla Stenberg (Bodies, Bodies, Bodies) as the lead, as well as Lee Jung Jae (Squid Game), Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Jodie Turner-Smith (After Yang), Charlie Bennett (Russian Doll), Rebecca Henderson (Inventing Anna), Dean Charles Chapman (1917), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Margarita Levieva (Daredevil: Born Again).
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