Leslye Headland Reveals How She Got Away With Nudity in ‘The Acolyte’: “Lucasfilm really believed in my vision”

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Yesterday, Episode 6 of “The Acolyte” was released, returning to its slow-paced storytelling with minimal action. The episode didn’t feature much plot advancement, but it did provide some insights into Star Wars’ newest Sith Lord, Qimir.

Qimir disclosed that he once trained as a Jedi and chose to use both his body and his scars to “seduce” Osha into joining him on the Dark Side. This was depicted quite literally; in one scene, Jacinto’s character, The Stranger, disrobes and enters a pool, later emerging completely naked.

Nothing graphic was shown, but it’s unusual to focus so much on nudity in a TV-14 rated show, regardless of the symbolism. This isn’t the first time Headland has pushed the boundaries of the rating and the family-friendly nature of the franchise. In Episode 5, the Sith Lord graphically eliminates almost all the Jedi on screen.

Headland didn’t face much difficulty getting the naked scene approved. She explained that Lucasfilm supports her vision and believes it’s important for viewers to see Qimir naked to fully understand his story and vulnerability.

Lucasfilm really believed in my vision. From a narrative perspective, it had to happen. It had to. He did, like, a Steven Seagal neck snap in the [previous] episode. How do you, at all, get from that to humanity? The only way to do that is to show him in such a wildly vulnerable position, and it has to be visual. I can’t think of something more vulnerable than someone holding a lightsaber on someone who’s that exposed. I just don’t. I felt like he was so merciless in the previous episode that he had to stand in front of her and say, “You absolutely can kill me.” Essentially, “I’m at your mercy.” It couldn’t feel like a put-on. It had to feel like he genuinely was like, “Totally. You can do this. There’s nobody around.”

Headland further explained that every shot involving Osha and Qimir is intentional.

“No one’s gonna judge you for it, so what’s up?” And again, it feeds in narratively to her decisions of still upholding this. He says, “You’re wondering if it’s honorable to kill me like this. You’re still hanging on to the rules. You’re still hanging on to this code.” Listen, part of it is just decency, and she’s a good person, but I think he’s also starting to teach her. He’s also starting to go, “I deserve this.”

Headland has confirmed that the show is indeed shipping Qimir and Osha, but we’ll have to watch the final two episodes to see how their relationship develops.

Have any thoughts to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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