The showrunner for the upcoming Star Wars series The Acolyte Leslye Headland recently claimed “the concept of religion is such a really oppressive one.”
Headland’s comments came during an interview with Vanity Fair about the upcoming Star Wars series.
Vanity Fair’s Anthony Breznican stated, “Star Wars is set in a society in which there is great spiritual advancement and also great technological advancement. And in between, people are trying to maintain their humanity while being drawn by these two poles.”
In response Headland said, “It is unusual to point to pieces of pop culture that have representations of extreme spirituality. The concept of God is such a heavy concept. The concept of religion is such a really oppressive one, especially for people like myself and many, many others.”
“So what you just made me realize is that part of the lasting effect is that Star Wars is a spiritual story,” she added.
Headland continued, “Even Tolkien is not as spiritual as the Force is, or as Yoda is. I remember as a child being raised in a Catholic home … When Yoda says, ‘Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter,’ even as a kid I understood that so much more than I understood catechisms and sacraments and all of those other things.”
“I got that immediately: That I have a spirit in addition to having a body. For George to have done that, it’s almost an impossible thing,” she said.
Asked if this would be part of The Acolyte, Headland responded, “That would be my big hope in getting to play in this world, to continue to search through a spiritual story that changes someone’s identity or destiny. That to me is the heart of it.”
This is a huge red flag for a number of reasons. First off, the Jedi Order are a practicing religion, and obviously they made some mistakes, the members of which can be tempted and fall to the dark side, but the core of the religion and its beliefs are what empower Luke Skywalker to still believe that his father has good within him and that he can be redeemed.
It’s the religion of the Jedi Order and Luke’s faith in it that does indeed redeem Darth Vader and bring about the destruction of the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. The religion is the opposite of oppressive it frees Vader and Luke from the tyranny of the Emperor, which George Lucas has compared to the devil.
Second, Leslye Headland flat out states she wants to attempt to try and change someone’s identity or destiny through the show.
Earlier in the interview, Headland would further discuss the series raising numerous other red flags about her understanding of Star Wars.
At one point she claims, “The further you go back [in Star Wars], the better things are. ‘A long time ago’ actually becomes more futuristic. So while we are creating this type of world, we’re trying to carry George’s concept that the further you go back, the more exciting and new and sleek and interesting things look.”
She justifies this idea by explaining, “I love the fact that George Lucas, when he originally made Episodes 4 through 6, you can see that he wants everything to feel like it has this particular type of decay. This is a lived-in sci-fi fantasy world, not a sleek, well-put-together aesthetic. He was really going for something that I think was a bit revolutionary at the time.”
Clearly, Headland must have missed all the scenes on the Death Stars and in Cloud City, and only remembers Tatooine and the Rebel bases. It blows massive holes in her whole theory.
Another red flag is her idea of the Force, which directly contradicts George Lucas’ vision for it. Headland explains her vision, “[They’re] constantly talking about balance. If the light is proliferating everywhere, what’s going on with the dark side? How is it manifesting itself? What is it doing to survive? Because it very clearly does later on in the world.”
Lucas rejected this idea of balance. He explained, “The core of the Force. I mean you got the Dark Side and the Light Side. One is selfless. One is selfish. And you want to keep them in balance.”
“What happens when you go to the Dark Side is it goes out of balance, and you get really selfish, and you forget about everybody. Ultimately, you lead yourself, because when you get selfish, you get stuff, or you want stuff. And when you want stuff and you get stuff then you are afraid somebody is going to take it away from you, whether it’s a person or a thing or a particular pleasure, an experience,” he continued.
Lucas then added, “Once you become afraid that somebody is going to take it away from you, or you are going to lose it, then you start to become angry. Especially if you are losing it. And that anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering. Mostly on the part of the person who is selfish because you’ve spent all your time being afraid of losing everything you’ve got instead of actually living.”
He then contrasts that with the Light Side, “Where joy by giving to other people, you can’t think about yourself and therefore there is no pain.”
Lucas then returns back to the Dark Side, “But the pleasure factor of greed and of selfishness is a short-lived experience. Therefore you are constantly trying to replenish it, but of course the more you replenish it the harder it is, so you have to keep upping the ante. You are actually afraid of the pain of not having the joy. So that is ultimately the core of the whole Dark Side, Light Side of the Force. And everything from flows from that.”
After discussing Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and his pact with the devil, Lucas explains how to overcome the Dark Side, “The only way to overcome the Dark Side is through discipline.”
He then compares and contrasts the two sides of the Force, “The Dark Side is pleasure, biological, and temporary, and easy to achieve. The Light Side is joy, everlasting, and difficult to achieve. A great challenge. Must overcome laziness, give up quick pleasures, and overcome fear, which leads to hate.”
In order to have balance you clearly have to conquer the Dark Side through discipline.
Her idea about the Dark Side being its own identity is part of Lucas’ vision as he compared the the light side and the dark side to God and the devil in an interview back in 2002 with LA Times.
Lucas explained, “I wanted to have this mythological footing because I was basing the films on the idea that the Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there.
He added, “Most religions are built on that, whether it’s called yin and yang, God and the devil–everything is built on the push-pull tension created by two sides of the equation. Right from the very beginning, that was the key issue in ‘Star Wars.’”
Another red flag is that Headland claims the show will make you question whether you should trust the heroine.
She said, “I was pitching with Kathy Kennedy and we were developing this with [Lucasfilm development execs] Michelle Rejwan, and Rayne Roberts, who was like my main gal on this project. She was the person that literally found me and shepherded this idea all the way up to the top.”
“We were really getting into it, and what’s so exciting about those [influencing] stories is that you don’t always know exactly who the bad guys are and who the good guys are. You’re not quite sure whether you can trust the heroine in this case as a result of that.
Finally, another red flag is Headland pitched the show to a room where not one male was present.
Headland revealed, “Honestly, my pitch to Kathy was the first time that everybody in the room was a woman. I’ve done many of those types of pitches and I was like, ‘This is trippy that my big [intellectual property] meeting is all ladies.’ That was pretty cool.”
This isn’t a surprise given Kathleen Kennedy made it abundantly clear while promoting The Force Awakens that she would be taking Lucasfilm the route of identity politics. And the quality of Star Wars has dropped significantly since she took over the company and began pushing her identity politics and critical race theory messaging not only in the shows, but in media campaigns surrounding them as well.
What do you make of Headland’s comments regarding The Acolyte?