The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland recently confirmed that the upcoming Star Wars series on Disney+ will be a commentary on current American society, culture, and politics.
In an interview with Empire Magazine that was shared to the StarWarsLeaks subreddit, Headland discussed the series saying, “When you’re doing something completely original, like we are, you want to question the status quo of the era that you live in.”
She continued, “What I think is so interesting right now is that everybody thinks they’re right! The Jedi really think they’re right — and George [Lucas] tells us that they’re wrong in Phantom. They missed a huge aspect of the dark side rising. That just felt like fertile ground to look into what’s going on for all of us right now.”
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Not only did Headland confirm the show will be a commentary on current American society, culture, and politics, but she seemed to imply the focus of the show being on female villains are self-inserts.
“When I was a young queer girl, I was just hanging out with Ursula the sea witch [from The Little Mermaid],” she told the outlet. “As a queer girl growing up, if you don’t identify with the heroes, and the villains show up and they’re all queer-coded, you’re like — yes, that’s me!”
Headland added, “As a queer filmmaker, you’re gonna see some camp. Inevitably! But I would say that tonally, our references are darker.”
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During an appearance at Star Wars Celebration back in April, Headland made it clear the series would be told from “the perspective of the villains.”
She said, “I think one of the things that would be helpful to kind of put in perspective is that we’re at the end of that [High Republic] era and moving more into George’s era of The Phantom Menace.”
“So my question became, as a fan, when I initially pitched the show to Kathleen [Kennedy], which was an original idea with new characters and not connecting it to Skywalker Saga or any of the existing characters in the High Republic,” Headland continued. “What I wanted it to introduce the fans to the concept too was how do you reconcile the Jedi at the height of their power, the Galaxy at the height of this Age of Enlightenment and peace, and who George says they become at the top of The Phantom Menace.”
“And to me that meant why don’t you tell a story about Star Wars from the perspective of the villains, of the bad guys. And if those bad guys are outnumbered at this point then that means that you get this opportunity to see how the Jedi very subtly go from who they were in the High Republic and the Old Republic and who they became by the time you’re watching episodes one, two, and three,” she relayed.
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Back in June 2021, Headland confirmed the series would be female-centric during an interview with YouTuber Fantastic Frankey.
She said, “Just because my show is technically yes, ‘female centric,’ meaning it centers around a female protagonist. I don’t think that necessarily excludes men from that space.”
Headland would go on to explain, “Listen, I relate to male characters all the time. Like I root for Mando. Like I root for Luke. I like deeply, deeply… Well, not sure how much I care about Han Solo anymore. When I was little I really liked him. When I watch him now, I’m kind of like, ‘Gosh a lot of my psyche makes sense now. Hmm. Ok.”
“All joking aside, I think that truly, I think that an inclusive space means an inclusive space. But at the same time I think that just because something has a female protagonist doesn’t mean it’s only meant for women,” she added.
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She went on to describe the series as a tent revival, “I kind of see like if Star Wars is a religion, which I think we kind of agreed for the purposes of this interview it is. I like to think of my show as a tent revival. You can come over if you want to. We are going to be talking about some cool stuff, there’s going to be some things we haven’t discussed in canon yet, there are going to be some characters you don’t know about.”
“I would love you to join us. I would love you to be interested in it. And if it’s not your thing, the cool thing about Star Wars right now is there is so much you can align yourself with and invest yourself in. And if you don’t like it, that’s fine,” she said.
The official description for the series states, “The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.”
No official release date has been announced for the series.
What do you make of Leslye Headland’s comments about The Acolyte?
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