‘Acolyte’ Creator on the Power Imbalance in the Upcoming Show: “We’ve Never Seen the Good Guys Outnumber the Bad Guys to This Extent”

Leslye Headland Creator of Star Wars The Acolyte Comments on the Show Whatever You Think The Acolyte Is Its Not

Last week the the trailer for the highly-anticipated ‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ was released and we’ve gotten a look at the setting and the characters. Little is known about the plot of the show, but most fans are excited by the fact that ‘The Acolyte’ will be taking place during the High Republic Era, something previously unseen in live action.

Despite the unique setting, ‘The Acolyte’ is the second show overall that takes place during that time frame, the first being ‘Young Jedi Adventures’ that recently ended its run. Judging by Headland’s own words so far, ‘Acolyte’ will be something entirely different than what we’re expecting. She originally pitched the show as ‘Frozen meets Kill Bill’ and described samurai movies & Wuxia films as one of her main inspirations.

Being a huge geek for Star Wars ever since she was a teen, it’s not surprising that she partially drew references and inspiration from Star Wars Expanded Universe, with one notable character being taken from the High Republic series of books. Right from the start Headland explained that her show will challenge the narrative by presenting the Jedi as the institution and putting an interesting spin on the underdog, who we can only assume will be Sith in the upcoming show.

She revealed more about her concept in her 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 explained that one of the major inspirations for the upcoming show was ‘The Cloner Wars.’ She revealed that despite the Nighsister not being in the show she was inspired by the coven, especially by Asajj Ventress. The main difference between her show and the vast majority of other shows set in Star Wars Universe is that we’re going to watch the Jedi through the lens of institutional power.

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 involved in the project.

The show is set to consist of 8 episodes, premiering on Disney+ on June 4th. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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