Star Wars: The Acolyte is probably the most mysterious series thus far of the Disney Plus Star Wars projects, and possibly with good reason. Astute fans are already well aware that it takes place 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, the first of the prequels. However, it’s been suggested that The Acolyte will also mark the end of another era known as The High Republic.
In a report from Illuminerdi we learned,
“The Acolyte will examine a key pivot point from the Star Wars canon: how the age of prosperity that was The High Republic fell into the shadow of the dark side again.” A major reason for the “age of prosperity” was the fact that the Sith, the archenemies of the Jedi, were destroyed at this point in the Star Wars timeline. The Jedi had vanquished their foes in combat, leading to the light side of the Force being extremely powerful. The Sith return to power since Darth Sideous aka The Emperor, was plotting the Jedi’s demise by the start of the prequels. However, the ways how and when the Sith first started to come back is unknown. This is something the new series could explain.
Cavan Scott, explained how The Acolyte will be a standalone story. In an interview with the Comicbook Nation Podcast, Scott said:
“What happened was people were getting excited about the High Republic as we were creating it, which was great to see, and there have been all these other plans as well but the great thing that Star Wars is so good at is taking the ‘Things been worked on over here. This thing’s been worked over on here, so let’s bring it together… the High Republic as an era goes on for an awfully long time, because, you know, it’s that period of time before the fall of the Jedi. And so, it’s been really exciting to sort of see other threads of Star Wars coming in as they’ve been developed as well and, and see us all working together to get to that for those final points. But yeah, it’s going be exciting isn’t it?”
We also learned that the working title for The Acolyte is reportedly The Paradox. And based on interviews with showrunner Leslye Headland, we’ve learned that her Star Wars series will be the most political and miserable Star Wars output ever made (excluding From a Certain Point of View)…
Her interview over at AV Club revealed some fascinating comments from the the first female showrunner for a Star Wars show:
AV Club: “When you have queer people making anything, it creates a certain anticipation for more meaningful representation. How do you balance making your story more inclusive, while also just kind of keeping in mind the considerable history involved?”
Headland responded “Well, I love that interview that Mark Hamill [did], where he says, “If Luke is gay to you, then of course he’s gay.” That’s such a strong, beautiful thing for him to say. ” She continued, “… That being said, as somebody that is a lesbian, every time I see gay or queer representation in media, I scream with happiness. There is just nothing like seeing that out in the world. I literally was behind two mothers with their children at the airport and I was crying. It is so unusual to see it. And as someone that was raised very religiously and very heteronormatively, I mean, I could almost get emotional talking about it now.”
When discussing other Disney films and the messages they can convey beneath the surface, she refers to Frozen, “… even stories that are coded queer, like Frozen, a movie that would have changed my entire life if I’d seen it when I was eight. I think I would have had a completely different experience in the world, if I’d seen that movie when I was younger. When I sat in the theater, it was like, “I’m 32, I’m miserable.” I saw it with my sister and was like, “We’re going to see this movie. I heard it’s good. We’re going.” Then it was just waterworks.”
Later, in the same interview, the showrunner discussed the process of hiring her writers, even bringing on writer who had never bothered to watch Star Wars. Not a single movie, or cartoon, or TV show.
“What I also learned about hiring my room is that everyone’s fandom was very different. No one had the same experience with Star Wars. There were people like myself that were like later-in-life [Dave] Filoni acolytes. I literally had one writer that was like, “I have never seen any of them. I’ve never seen any Star Wars media.” And she’s texting me before we started the room, she’s like, “Luke and Leia are brother and sister, what the…?” [Laughs.]
Kathleen Kennedy will be very proud. Production for The Acolyte will begin in 2022. As of the writing of this article, the Disney+ release date is not currently known.