Headland Comments on Accusations That She Is Portraying Jedi as Bad Guys: “People who don’t know the High Republic — may feel like I’m criticizing the Jedi”


Even before ‘The Acolyte’ was released the show was highly controversial due to the statements made by Lesyle Headland, the creator of the show. In Headland’s show, the Jedi are portrayed as having a monopoly and the force, a monopoly they exercise regularly as can be seen in Episode 3, when they met with the Witches of Brendok.

Some of her statements made prior to the show’s release point in the direction of Jedi being the bad guys, due to their systemic powers.

As you know by now, and as was the main selling point of the show in the first place, ‘The Acolyte’ takes place in the High Republic era, around 100 years prior to the events of ‘Phantom Menace.’ During the High Republic, the Jedi were at their absolute most powerful, and the order was in its golden years, everything went downhill since then. It’s partially due to their ego, and partially due to the fact that the Jedi haven’t faced any threats to their power or authority in centuries.

The order was also slowly being ruined by the influence of the Republic’s politics, there was rampant corruption and politicization of issues within the order. Vernerstra Rwoh seems to be aware of this issue.

Now this portrayal of Jedi, which is accurate if I may add, led some fans to criticize Headland’s direction, as if she is portraying them as the true villains in the show. In her recent interview with Collider, Headland explained that some fans simply aren’t aware of High Republic, and how things really went down prior to Lucas’ movies.

HEADLAND: I hope it’s making people look at it from a different point of view. I can understand that fans — especially people who don’t know the High Republic — may feel like I’m criticizing the Jedi as they exist in George Lucas’ oeuvre, meaning the prequels and Episodes 5 through 6, but that’s not the case. We’re so much further back from that. We’re in that era that Obi-Wan is talking about in A New Hope. We’re in that period where the proliferation of power is so huge and far-reaching. Actually, in the next episode, you’re gonna see how far-flung particular missions with Jedi are and the lack of oversight.

Headland also added that there’s no point in comparing the Jedi from her show to the Jedi from the prequels since the High Republic Jedi followed different rules and different mantras.

Yeah, so comparing these Jedi to the Jedi in the prequels is a little difficult because it’s 100-ish years. It’s a century. So you see Vernestra’s like, “We cannot let this happen.” She gets more and more concerned about that at the end of the season, and rightfully so because she, as a very powerful Jedi Master, can sort of see what’s on the horizon, whereas, when we meet the Jedi in the prequels, they’re completely enmeshed at that point.

Going back to your question, one of the interesting ways to unpack the Jedi is, when they are at their height as they are here, what are the things they’re doing differently? A Jedi doesn’t pull their weapon unless prepared to kill — that’s just a High Republic concept. They don’t have battle droids, they don’t have other people with lightsabers. There isn’t any reason to pull it. Comparing that to anybody in the prequels, it’s not the same. They’re just not the same Jedi. So, in my opinion, and in my experience, and what I was interested in digging into is, it seems like it’s a time where you can break down the Jedi as a concept, whereas I wouldn’t want to touch what has been established of them a century later.

No matter whether you like ‘The Acolyte’ or not, Jedi acting the way they are acting in the show is absolutely accurate to some forms of source material. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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