The warriors

4 min read



“KILL BILL MEETS Frozen”. That was the one-line, back-of-the-envelope, sum-it-up-in-four-words summary that showrunner and filmmaker Leslye Headland — best known for co-creating Russian Doll — used to make her pitch for live-action Star Wars series The Acolyte. It was, by her own admission, a bold approach. (“Shockingly, Kathy Kennedy didn’t kick me out of the building,” Headland later recounted on stage at Star Wars Celebration.) How on earth do a bloody Tarantino revenge flick and a Disney cartoon musical fit in the Star Wars universe? Should we be expecting a blood-splattered lightsaber fight on Hoth, set to ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’?

“It is sort of a joke,” smiles Headland, speaking to Empire. “But it was my elevator pitch to Kathy [Kennedy]: ‘I want to take that revisionist version of female villains that you see in a fairy-tale media and tell it through that lens.’” Just as Frozen reimagined Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen with a more ambiguous take on its icy antagonist, so The Acolyte aims to look at the bad guys of Star Wars in a different light. And while there won’t be any songs per se, there will be plenty of samurai/wuxia-influenced fight scenes. “Here’s the thing,” Headland points out. “What is an action sequence, if not a musical number?”

Clearly, The Acolyte promises to be an entirely different proposition for Star Wars. For one thing, it’s set in a period of the timeline previously unexplored in live-action: the High Republic era, over a century or so before the events of The Phantom Menace. As featured in a series of recent canonical novels, the High Republic is — outwardly, at least — agalactic golden era. Peace and prosperity are enjoyed by practically every planet. The Jedi Order is hale and healthy. The Sith are basically forgotten, merely scare stories you might tell younglings. Yet there are dark forces assembling quietly in the background. “This is at a time when the bad guys are outnumbered,” Headland explains. “They are the underdogs.” As a prequel to the prequels — or ‘pre-prequel’, as some of the cast have taken to calling it — this series looks to answer one question: how did the Sith infiltrate the highest echelons of the Republic without anyone even blinking an eye?

Leading light: Amandla Stenberg takes centre stage in the era of the High Republic.
Luminous beings are they. Meet the stars of The Acolyte. Joonas Suotamo
Jodie Turner-Smith
Dean-Charles Chapman.
Charlie Barnett
Amandla Stenberg
Lee Jung-jae.
Dafne Keen
Manny Jacinto
Rebecca Henderson.

The answer involves “a lot of Jedi”, Headland promises, investigating a series of mysterious crimes (‘CSI: Jedi?’). The show

This article is from...

Related Articles

Related Articles