July 25, 2023
by Bespin Bulletin

Over the last couple of days a report from Forbes appeared with the headline, “Disney spends $49 Million on Star Wars spin-off The Acolyte.” But, there’s more to the story.

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When I came across the headline from Forbes, my eyes lit up and a wave of confusion crashed over me, ‘$49 million on a Star Wars series. That can’t be right.” Naturally I popped open the link and read the entire article, something that’s quite rare on the internet it seems, and discovered that the headline was really quite misleading in some ways, but true in another. Forbes are reporting that $49M was spent on The Acolyte’s pre-production and not on the series as a whole. The Acolyte’s production budget was not $49M. However given the title of the article, I can understand how some fans may have been confused and thinking that it was $49M on the series and not just it’s pre-production – always read the article.


The Forbes article goes on to say that The Acolyte spent $5 million more than Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in pre-production, but that Star Wars: The Last Jedi spent 17% more and that Andor spent a whopping 38% more than The Acolyte in pre-production. In regards to Andor, it was a series that was impacted by COVID-19 and they even had to stop pre-production for four months which likely impacted costs, but also Andor was given the biggest budget of any Star Wars series with The Hollywood Reporter claiming that the Rogue One prequel cost a whopping $250 million. The Forbes article added that TV series produced in the United Kingdom benefit from the Television Tax Relief (TPC) scheme which allows studios to claim a reimbursement of up to 25% of the money they spend in the U.K. and that at least 10% of the core costs of the production need to relate to activities in the United Kingdom. Forbes add that The Acolyte’s spending “was forecasted to be in line with the production budget.” One condition of getting the cash reimbursement is that the production must spend at least $1.3 million (£1 million) per broadcast hour and that by September 22nd of last year, The Acolyte qualified for a cash reimbursement of $7.6 million.

It is my understanding that the The Acolyte’s budget is more than $100M and that it cost more than most Star Wars series. Andor has the highest production budget of Star Wars, but it is Skeleton Crew that follows up with the second highest production budget of $136M. I believe The Acolyte cost more than Skeleton Crew, but I don’t know how much more. TV series for Disney’s tentpole franchises have cost significantly more than their U.S. counterparts with Andor and Secret Invasion both costing over $200M to produce.

The Forbes article also mentions that details of The Acolyte are tightly under wraps, but add that an online rumour from recent days revealed that Keanu Reeves (John Wick) is part of the cast. The article itself did not link to where the rumour originated, but I discovered that it was reported by Giant Freakin’ Robot six days ago that Reeves filmed a cameo for the Disney+ series. Reeves has long been fan cast as Darth Revan, the beloved character from the Knights of the Old Republic games, so if it was true then I’m sure some fans would be delighted. Personally, I don’t subscribe to the report, as GFR in my personal opinion does not have a stellar track record when it comes to Star Wars reports, and my readers know that I only cover online rumours from outlets and individuals that I believe to be highly accurate. It is worth mentioning that GFR has a better record with non-Star Wars reports, recently exclusively reporting that Linda Hamilton (Terminator) was cast in Stranger Things season five days before it was announced officially and that Kurt Russell (The Thing) was cast in Apple’s upcoming live-action Godzilla series.


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).

The Acolyte is due to release sometime in 2024 exclusively on Disney+.

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