Earlier today the first trailer for The Acolyte dropped, which you can view below, or if you like reaction vids, you can watch me getting all into it from earlier today.

Now, more official details are starting to come out from StarWars.com and an interview with the show runner, Leslie Headland, from Collider, that offer up some insights into the characters we saw in the trailer, and what fans can expect from the show’s first season.

The Acolyte Character Details

Amandla Stenberg plays Mae – an individual that gets swept up into a sinister mystery, one that puts her into the centre of conflict in unexpected ways.

Lee Jung-Jae plays Master Sol – a wise, highly respected, powerful Jedi master, strong in the ways of the force, who is going through an emotional conflict.

Manny Jacinto plays Qimir – a former smuggler who now makes his living as a trader. He procures unusual things and enjoys a life of leisure.

Carrie-Ann Moss plays Master Indara – a Jedi master of great physical and mental skill.

Dean Charles Chapman plays Master Tobin – a depiction for this character was not shared.

Joonas Suotamo plays Master Kelnacca – a Jedi loner that lives a solitary life.

Jodie Turner-Smith plays Mother Aniseya – the leader of a coven of Witches who value their independence along with the preservation of their beliefs and powers.

Charlie Barnett plays Yord Fandar – a Jedi knight and Jedi temple guardian is an overachiever and a rule follower. His need to be by-the-book nature can cloud his judgment.

Dafne Keen plays Jecki Lon – a Jedi Padawan, the apprentice toMaster Sol. She is young, but conducts herself with maturity.

Rebecca Henderson plays Vernestra Rwoh – an elder Jedi master who has ascended the ranks of the Jedi from a teenage prodigy to a leader in the Jedi order.

Vernestra Rwoh

The only character from the High Republic Novels that will appear in this season is Vernestra Rwoh. Headland discussed her joy over seeing this character in live-action.

“I’m just so excited for people to see her in this show because she is so different. She’s very rarely in the mission robes adventuring and dreaming. I think, as the show goes on, you’ll understand why. She has seen so much and she is so in-tune and in love with the Force. Here she’s much more of a high-ranking official. The other Jedi revere her. I’m just really excited for people to see her in this show and to see the performance.”

Leslye Headland

The Main Narrative

In an interview with StarWars.com, Headland explained a bit about the tone of the era, and how Sith have been so far removed from the galaxy that seeing a Sith back then would be akin to seeing a dinosaur now.

“If Star Wars is about the underdog versus the institution, [in The Acolyte] the Jedi are the institution. I was so interested in a storyline where the Jedi were at the height of their power — and I don’t mean The Phantom Menace, because at that point, there’s a Sith Lord in the Senate that they’re not picking up on. Like it’s a thing I’ve heard of, but it’s not a thing that you would ever consider you’d be interacting with.”

Leslye Headland

The series will be exploring exactly what went wrong with the Jedi to allow the Sith to destroy them not even 100 years later.

“What went wrong? And if the bad guys are actually the underdog, it just seemed like a cool reversal.”

Leslye Headland

Leslye provided more details about how the story will flow and what Mae is actually an acolyte of via an interview with THR:

It’s open to interpretation at this time, but you will discover it when you’re watching the show. It will be revealed. One thing to know about the show is that we’ve been talking about it as a mystery-thriller. It is a serialized story, so each episode gives you more information about the story. We were obviously influenced by samurai films and wuxia films, but also films like Rashomon, where you see one story and then you see it done a different way. So, what separates [Star Wars: The Acolyte[ from some of the other Star Wars series is that it’s told in that particular way

Leslye Headland

The main point of view that will be featured was also discussed:

What’s interesting is that you get both. The way I see Star Wars, the dynamics are either underdog versus institution or institutional threat, or it’s father-son, sibling-sibling, master-apprentice, father-daughter. It’s a familial dispute. So I would say that our show is more on the latter. It’s more about individualized relationships. You’re in the headspace of a lot of different characters. People who are good guys can be bad guys, and people who are bad guys can be good guys. There’s a lot of moral ambiguity, which is why Jodie’s [Turner-Smith] line in the trailer is so important: “This isn’t about good or bad; this is about power and who is allowed to use it.” And I believe, of course, that the Jedi are a benevolent, well-intentioned institution, but they are an institution and they have amassed all the power. So the question becomes when did that happen, and since we know where they’re headed in PhantomMenace, what went wrong? What are the cracks in that? So you definitely get the point of view of the Jedi, especially in terms of Amandla’s character and trying to stop her and hunt her down. But you also get enough of Amandla’s character’s perspective that you can also see how both of them exist simultaneously.

Leslye Headland

Headland opted to hire one writer with zero Star Wars knowledge and explains why that was a helpful decision:

Yeah, I just thought it would be good to have the perspective of a person that had literally never seen Star Wars until she was in the room. And she said to me, “Why do you want me in this room? I’ve never seen Star Wars. I have no idea. I think there’s a dog in it, but I don’t know anything.” And I was like, “First of all, you’re an incredible writer, but that’s why I want you here. I want you to be questioning narrative. I don’t want myself, who’s a lifelong fan, to just be relying on particular references in order to create emotional beats. I want those emotional beats to be earned and checked by someone that isn’t super familiar with it.” 

Leslye Headland

The Acolyte’s EU Influences

Headland discussed how she is infusing her love of Star Wars from all era, as well as lore from the EU!

“There were certain things that I really wanted to do. You’ll see a half Theelin, half human Jedi, Jecki, played by Dafne Keen, which was always a dream of mine. There’s also some EU lore that I decided to put in because I thought it was so cool and no one told me I couldn’t.

Leslye Headland

The series will introduce a Zygerrian Jedi and canonize one species that’s yet to be seen, as well. It does sound like EU fans are in for a few treats though throughout this series.

“There are a couple of really big EU ideas that are utilized both early on in the series and later in the series.”

Leslye Headland

Star Wars Influences

In an interview with Collider, Leslye went into some of the other influences for the show, and what fans can expect in terms of references.

 “I found with Andor, it really built into something that was exciting, and had this incredible payoff at the end. We were definitely trying to do something similar narratively. There are a lot of alien references, a lot of Clone War references, a lot of original trilogy references. Basically, all of the stuff that I love about Star Wars, and I think are recognizable but no Post-Empire or current Empire iconography

Leslye Headland

How Jedi Use Their Sabers

Headland went into how in the era of this show, the Jedi would rarely use their lightsabers, so when we see them break them out in the trailer, it means that they are very threatened by a red blade being flung at them.

I think what I could say about that, without spoiling anything, is that when I was thinking about the Jedi in this particular era, I thought that they wouldn’t pull out their lightsabers very often, in this era. There aren’t battle droids to fight, there isn’t a Darksaber. It exists at this point, but it’s definitely not around. So why would they pull their sabers? They would only pull their sabers if they felt like they were really being threatened.”

Leslye Headland

Episode Runtime and Season 2

In the same collider interview, Headland touched on how long episodes would be.

 “About 30 minutes, yeah. I would say some of them are a little bit longer, like the finale, I think it’s 40 minutes. But there are also some that I think are barely 30 minutes. On average, I would say somewhere between like 30-35 [minutes].”

Leslye Headland

She also discussed that she is ready for a Second season if the show does well and warrants it.

would say that when I pitched it, I definitely pitched it as a multi-season show. There are a lot of things at the end of this season that I think are narrative threads that are not tied up, for sure. However, I am the type of writer that is not interested in an emotional cliffhanger. I want you to feel like you’ve had a particular type of catharsis, and an emotional experience in watching those eight episodes because I like rewarding the audience with that. I still think that means you can pepper in things that are like, “I wanna see where that’s gonna go” and, “Oh, I didn’t realize that person was related to that person in this way, and I’d like to see more.” But there isn’t something where you feel like you’re on the edge of your seat to have that catharsis, and then you have to wait two years. These things take forever to make, so I would hate to make a season that didn’t feel complete, even if it was still open for more story.”

Leslye Headland

We could make it pretty quickly. We definitely have a timeline. I have a lot of ideas, and again, a lot of it was stuff that I told Kathleen early on, in terms of where I would like the season to go, and the conflicts that I see happening, specifically in the second season. But I have been working nonstop on this for a very long time, so I am definitely taking a much needed break before we get the writer room going. And I’d like to see how the show performs. I’m very interested in that. I’m interested in seeing, like you said, the ratings and seeing what are the things that people…I don’t wanna say it’s in reaction to fan reaction, but you do get feedback at the end of the season, which is kind of nice, to just be like, “ok, those people hated that.” It doesn’t mean we don’t do it, it just means we’re armed with the information that that was an unpopular thing. So we can do it anyway, but knowing that stuff, I think, is really good. I think they would love to start it immediately. They’re very happy with the series. But I need a break. I also have a baby.

Leslye Headland

The Acolyte Is Not What You Expect

According to Headland, fans more than likely have no idea what this show will actually be about, and she gave a great tease to close things out.

“This is very incendiary. But whatever you think The Acolyte is, it’s not that. It’s a drop in the bucket, baby. Just hang in there and check it out.”

Leslye Headland

Updated Synopsis

In The Acolyte, an investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems.

Nick and I will talk more about The Acolyte on this week’s episode of the SWTS, so don’t forget to tune into the Star Wars Time Show on a weekly basis via our podcast platforms or via YouTube if you prefer the livestream angle. 

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Author

Matt is literally from a galaxy that is far, far away. Star Wars has consumed his life, and made him the geek that he is. He's no fan of the Prequels, but still loves the Maker. When he's not recording his unstable takes for the Star Wars Time podcast, he's either working on EntertainmentBuddha.com, taking pictures of Star Wars toys, or trying to legitimately wield the Force.