Leslie Headland Discusses Breaking Disney Rules with Jedi Deaths in ‘The Acolyte’: “Your faves are going down”

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We’re officially more than halfway through ‘The Acolyte’, and things are finally picking up pace. The fifth episode was full of surprises, with two major characters, Yord and Jecki Lon, meeting their end. They were ruthlessly eliminated by Qimir, who revealed himself as The Stranger, the Sith Lord master of Mae.

Headland has already mentioned that she was pushing the limits with these shocking deaths. In her interview with Inverse, she further explained that she had to break some Disney rules to make the scene work.

Episode 5 was unique because no one anticipated the Sith Lord killing anyone significant beyond minor characters. Headland deliberately made the identity of the Sith Lord clear, turning the unexpected deaths into the major twist of the show, subverting our expectations.

I think the reason I felt like we could get away with so much in Episode 5 was because we had the four episodes before it. […] We were building this understanding of ‘OK, this is what the High Republic is like in live action. This is what the Jedi are like at this time. […]We’re going to kill Carrie-Anne [Moss] so that you know the Jedi are going to take some L’s and that people are going to die,” Headland added. Episode 5, I felt like we could go really hard because we had built all this other stuff.

While we speculated that all the Jedi on Khofar might be wiped out, no one truly believed it would happen. Headland revealed that she had to break some Disney rules about keeping certain characters alive.

“There are certain Disney rules like ‘Oh, yeah, you’re not going to kill that character. How could you?’ And not only did we kill that character, but we killed the character in such a shocking and frankly upsetting way — and then didn’t even really give her a hero death either. I mean, she has the hero’s death because she gets Qimir’s helmet off before she dies. […] For me, that’s the reveal, the reveal is that a dead body falls, and you see this guy. The reveal is ‘Your faves are going down. Welcome to your new fave.’

What are your thoughts on Headland’s explanation? Share your opinions in the comments below!

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