Leslye Headland Unveils Qimir’s Motivation and the Origins of the Jedi Massacre


Disney’s latest Star Wars series, The Acolyte, premiered on Disney+ on June 4, 2024. Despite facing controversies and being the target of review-bombing, it remains one of the most talked-about shows currently, with fans actively discussing the series and various character theories.

The showrunner, Leslye Headland, has been a central figure in the controversy due to her comments and reactions, sparking significant online debate. However, despite the initial criticism, the reception seems to be improving following Episode 5, suggesting that the series might garner more favorable reviews as it progresses.

Although the season comprises only eight episodes, with two remaining, it appears that Headland has much in store for the audience, promising captivating content in the final episodes. This anticipation is evident from a recent interview with Inverse, where she discussed Qimir’s motivation and the creation of the Jedi massacre scene.

Headland’s remarks about the series and the Star Wars universe have sparked considerable online discussion and will likely continue to do so. Although the series had a rocky start, it has gained momentum since Episode 5 and is now one of the most popular shows currently airing.

In an interview with Inverse, Headland covered various aspects of the series, including Qimir’s motivation and the creation of the Jedi massacre scene in that context:

So the bloodbath in Episode 5, was that rewritten to accommodate more of The Stranger, or was that always his grand entrance?

He always took over Episode 5. He was always going to kill Jecki and Yord. The red shirts were supposed to be a misdirect. Like “Oh, he’s going to kill all those people.” Nope, he’s killing people left and right. It was just so important to be like “We don’t know who’s going to survive this.” I have so many of my favorite little moments that Manny does in that episode, but when he kicks Mae down and she goes down to her knees, I’m always like, “Jesus.” It still scares me because I know he’s probably not going to kill her because that’s the main character, but because he just killed a main character, I’m also a little scared.

Source: Inverse

She also remarked on how, despite knowing the storyline, Manny Jacinto still managed to surprise her:

It is funny that even you were watching like “What’s going to happen?” I guess that’s a credit to Manny’s work.

As a filmmaker, in my head, I’m like, “I’m positive this is going to work. If I can get Manny Jacinto, this will work. If I don’t, this character won’t exist. We’re going to have to start from scratch and figure out something else.” I was so grateful he did the show, but he surpassed my expectations. There’s some sort of mixture of strength and existential dread and violence in him… And then his little statement of purpose that comes right before that moment, you’re like, “Man, somebody must have fucked this guy… Somebody must’ve tried to take this guy’s freedom.” Because he is not fucking around in terms of protecting himself and what he has to do. He sees Jedi specifically as the faction that is keeping him from being free to the point that he could break a Jedi’s neck while making complete eye contact with another Jedi and just have that be it

Lastly, she elaborated on Qimir’s ideology and its impact on his character development.

I read a theory on Twitter about his statement of purpose: Qimir’s desire for freedom and power almost feels like his religion. For him, killing is almost this act of worship. Was that part of how you wanted to break down the spiritual differences between the Jedi and Sith?

I don’t know if it’s exactly like that, but I would argue that Manny’s character is more in-balance than Sol’s character, especially when he says, “I’ve accepted my darkness. What have you done with yours?” Sol is just in full-on repression mode at this point. He’s deluded himself into thinking that he has achieved balance. As Qimir says in Episode 2, “The Jedi only think they’ve found peace.” Maybe that’s not true for all Jedi, but that’s his point of view. That’s what allows him to do what he did to survive and to keep his way of life. Not just a way of life. His actual life.

One thing Chris Cowan and I talked about a lot when we were doing the fight choreography was when you’re fighting for survival, it’s never a fair fight. Cowan didn’t give me this note, but somebody was like, “God, that’s so dirty to kill Jecki in that way,” and my thought process was: Well, if you’re fighting for your life, is it dirty? I think for the audience, you’re supposed to be like, “Holy crap. What an evil dude.” But I think for Manny’s character and the character work that we did around him, it was all about “I know that I’m doing the right thing for me. This is how I’m going to protect myself and keep myself in hiding. The only reason I’m coming out of it is because there’s this thing I really want,” which is the pupil.

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