‘Acolyte’ Creator Discusses the Sith & the Jedi in the Upcoming Show: “We’re Looking at the Jedi as an Institution, as a Concept”

Leslye Headland Creator of Star Wars The Acolyte Talks about the Setting Inspiration Behind the Show Its a drop in the bucket baby
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Last week, the trailer for the highly-anticipated ‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ was released, giving us a glimpse of the setting and characters. While the plot remains mostly mysterious, fans are thrilled that ‘The Acolyte’ will explore the High Republic Era, a new frontier for live-action storytelling in the franchise.

Despite this unique setting, ‘The Acolyte’ marks only the second show set in this era, following the conclusion of ‘Young Jedi Adventures.’ From what Headland has shared, ‘Acolyte’ promises to offer a fresh perspective. She has described it as a blend of ‘Frozen’ and ‘Kill Bill,’ drawing inspiration from samurai and Wuxia films.

As a big Star Wars fan since her teenage years, it’s no wonder she found inspiration from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. One notable character drawn from the High Republic book series. From the beginning, Headland made it clear that her show would shake up the traditional Jedi narrative, offering a fresh perspective on the underdog, likely the Sith in the upcoming series.

She delved deeper into her concept in a recent interview with IGN.

I think you’re seeing the Jedi when they are this very, very large institution – a benevolent one – but they are closer to who they are in the Phantom Menace than obviously in the Original Trilogy where you feel like they’re almost extinct. In a weird way, in the Phantom Menace and the Prequel Trilogy, the Jedi outnumber the Sith. And then in the Original Trilogy, the Empire outnumber the Jedi, which is why a show based on the “bad guys” is interesting to me. In that era, what does the underdog look like? Even if they’re the bad guy.

Headland clarified that a significant influence for the upcoming show was ‘The Clone Wars.’ She mentioned drawing inspiration from the Nightsisters, particularly Asajj Ventress, despite them not being directly featured. One key distinction between her show and most others set in the Star Wars Universe is that it will examine the Jedi from the perspective of institutional authority.

I’m also not sure how Jedi-centric the other shows are. Obviously Ahsoka is. But we’re looking at the Jedi as an institution, as a concept, as an entity that has amassed a lot of power. And that’s good, I’m not saying that’s wrong. But I do think that when Jodie Turner-Smith has that line at the end of the trailer, when she says, “It’s not about good or bad, this is about power and who’s allowed to use it,” really I think that’s the question we’re asking. That’s really the question. It’s not, “Is somebody good, is somebody bad?” There’s an imbalance. Someone might be imbalanced morally, but if there’s a power imbalance, how does that affect the power of Star Wars? And we’ve never seen the good guys outnumber the bad guys to this extent. I guess that’s how it’s different.

The cast of the upcoming project includes Amandla Stenberg as Mae, a former padawan turned warrior; Lee Jung-Jae as Sol, a respected Jedi master; Manny Jacinto as Qimir, a former smuggler; Dafne Keen as Jecki Lon, a young Jedi; Jodie Turner-Smith as Mother Aniseya, leader of a coven of witches; Rebecca Henderson as Vernestra Rwoh, a Jedi Knight prodigy; Charlie Barnett as Yord Fandar, another Jedi; Carrie-Anne Moss as Indara, a Jedi Master; Joonas Suotamo as Kelnacca, a Wookiee Jedi master; and Amy Tsang. Dean-Charles Chapman and Margarita Levieva are also part of the project.

The show is set to consist of 8 episodes, premiering on Disney+ on June 4th. Got something to add? Share it in the comments below!

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