Details are still being kept to a minimum, but that hasn’t stopped The Acolyte from being viewed by many fans as the most exciting Star Wars series on the Disney Plus docket, based almost entirely on the fact it has the blankest canvas on which to paint.
The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka and Lando are at least in some way all directly connected and/or focused on well-known characters, events and plotlines, whereas Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland’s effort takes place during the end of the High Republic era, a part of the timeline that’s never really been explored to any significant degree in live-action.
Throw in Lucasfilm describing it as a mystery thriller, Headland herself touting a major martial arts element and recent rumors claiming it could feature a Sith protagonist painted in an antiheroic light, and audiences could be in for something special. The Acolyte might be set in the Star Wars sandbox, but, in a new interview the creator, executive producer and showrunner compared her approach to crafting the show to Star Trek‘s Jean-Luc Picard.
“So that was what I really wanted, an active conversation between my writers and myself, and not so much a room full of people that would kind of just automatically agree with what I say. Which is good sometimes, sometimes it’s nice to have everybody love my pitch. It’s not Star Wars, but I think a lot about Picard, and the way that he would utilize his crew and say, ‘What do you guys think? Any suggestions? What should we do next?’.
And kind of hearing the debates and the sort of Socratic conversation that would result. I wanted to put the room together in that way. That also means hiring people that are not necessarily the die-hard, cutthroat fan that I am when it comes to Star Wars stuff. It is weird to be the person who’s going, ‘Well, in 325 BBY’, and everyone’s like, ‘What are you talking about?’. ‘Hold on, I’ll send you a link’. Everyone’s like, ‘Should that be another person that’s doing that? Why is the showrunner doing that?’. And I’m like, ‘Here’s a picture, this is what he looks like’.”
While it’s often a much easier and safer route to lean into fan service, as we increasingly saw during The Mandalorian‘s second season, Headland has also admitted that several members of her writing staff aren’t Star Wars fans, with one having never seen a single movie or TV show set in a galaxy far, far away before boarding the team.
There’s no word on when we can expect to see The Acolyte on our screens, though, but looking at the schedule for when the other projects are set to shoot, it shouldn’t be too long until we find out a whole lot more.