March 19, 2024
by Bespin Bulletin

Earlier today, Lucasfilm finally shared the first trailer for The Acolyte, which boasted a release date of June 4th. The trailer excited many fans and the series creator has now sat down for a chat with Collider in promotion of the newly released trailer.

Leslye Headland, the creator, showrunner, writer and a director on The Acolyte told Collider that the trailer featured footage from around “four to five episodes.” Fans of Star Wars have come to expect trailers, especially earlier released ones, to feature footage mostly from earlier episodes, though Headland claims it’s from up to five of the eight episodes produced the series.

Headland, when asked about what Star Wars series is The Acolyte most like, revealed that the The Acolyte would be leaning more towards Andor as opposed to The Mandalorian, “I found with Andor, it really built into something that was exciting, and had this incredible payoff at the end. We were definitely trying to do something similar narratively.” Though the showrunner did tease that the series would feature references to other Star Wars material like The Mandalorian does, “there are a lot of alien references, a lot of Clone War references, a lot of original trilogy references. Basically, all of the stuff that I love about Star Wars, and I think are recognizable but no Post-Empire or current Empire iconography”, The Acolyte would certainty not anchor itself to anything that would rely on the Skywalker saga.

The newly released trailer ends with a group of Jedi igniting their lightsabers after a crimson blade is thrown in their direction. Despite the shot, and Headland previously claiming that The Acolyte would feature the most Jedi ever on screen, the series creator revealed that the Jedi would not be igniting their lightsabers that often in this time period, but would only do so when they actually felt threatened. At this point in the Star Wars timeline, the Sith have not been seen or heard of for decades, so seeing a lightsaber being hurled in their direction is more than enough reason for a Jedi to feel threatened.

I think what I could say about that, without spoiling anything, is that when I was thinking about the Jedi in this particular era, I thought that they wouldn’t pull out their lightsabers very often, in this era. There aren’t battle droids to fight, there isn’t a Darksaber. It exists at this point, but it’s definitely not around. So why would they pull their sabers? They would only pull their sabers if they felt like they were really being threatened.” – Leslye Headland

The Russian Doll creator also addressed the rumours of episodes running from thirty to forty five minutes directly following the reliable X user, Cryptic4KQual, recently revealing said runtimes. Headland said, “About 30 minutes, yeah. I would say some of them are a little bit longer, like the finale, I think it’s 40 minutes. But there are also some that I think are barely 30 minutes. On average, I would say somewhere between like 30-35 [minutes].”

Leslye revealed that she doesn’t see the series as a four hour long film broken down into eight individual episodes, but that she saw it as a weekly experience from the beginning, as the series will deal with heavy issues and emotional moments that would benefit from a week long break between episodes. When asked if the series would end after a single season, Headland revealed that she pitched it as a multi-season show and that her hopes would to make more seasons of The Acolyte if the series receives well enough ratings and enjoyed by fans, though the creator did tease that some narrative threads are not tied up by the end of The Acolyte’s first season.

“I would say that when I pitched it, I definitely pitched it as a multi-season show. There are a lot of things at the end of this season that I think are narrative threads that are not tied up, for sure. However, I am the type of writer that is not interested in an emotional cliffhanger. I want you to feel like you’ve had a particular type of catharsis, and an emotional experience in watching those eight episodes because I like rewarding the audience with that. I still think that means you can pepper in things that are like, “I wanna see where that’s gonna go” and, “Oh, I didn’t realize that person was related to that person in this way, and I’d like to see more.” But there isn’t something where you feel like you’re on the edge of your seat to have that catharsis, and then you have to wait two years. These things take forever to make, so I would hate to make a season that didn’t feel complete, even if it was still open for more story.” – Leslye Headland

When asked how quickly she could produce a second season if Disney asked for it, Headland claimed that it could be made “pretty quickly” and that there’s a “timeline” and “ideas.” The creator added that in early development, she told Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, where a second season of the series would go and the conflicts that would occur. Though despite Headland revealing a second season could be developed relatively quickly, she did tout that she’s going to be taking a “much needed break” after working on The Acolyte for so long, dedicating over four years of her life to the first season alone. Headland also added that along with her break, she wants to see how the series performs ratings wise and to receive feedback from fans, but teased that if the fan reaction was negative, it wouldn’t stop her from developing a season two, but instead she’d have the information as to why it could be disliked and that the second season could be developed with that in mind.

We could make it pretty quickly. We definitely have a timeline. I have a lot of ideas, and again, a lot of it was stuff that I told Kathleen early on, in terms of where I would like the season to go, and the conflicts that I see happening, specifically in the second season. But I have been working nonstop on this for a very long time, so I am definitely taking a much needed break before we get the writer room going. And I’d like to see how the show performs. I’m very interested in that. I’m interested in seeing, like you said, the ratings and seeing what are the things that people…I don’t wanna say it’s in reaction to fan reaction, but you do get feedback at the end of the season, which is kind of nice, to just be like, “ok, those people hated that.” It doesn’t mean we don’t do it, it just means we’re armed with the information that that was an unpopular thing. So we can do it anyway, but knowing that stuff, I think, is really good. I think they would love to start it immediately. They’re very happy with the series. But I need a break. I also have a baby.” – Leslye Headland

Staying on the topic of a possible second season, Headland revealed that despite the inclusion of the charter Vernestra Rwoh, an individual that appeared in the High Republic novels, no other character from those books would appear in the first season of The Acolyte as she’s looking to save characters from them to be introduced in a possible second season of the series.

In The Acolyte, an investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems.

The Acolyte premieres on Disney+ on June 4th with TWO episodes.

The Acolyte 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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