Joining her fellow castmates in throwing up unsurprising red flag-after-red flag regarding the series’ direction, star of the upcoming Star Wars television series The Acolyte Jodie Turner-Smith has lavished praise upon the fact that she is “part of a wave of more inclusive and beautifully represented Star Wars shows.”
Turner-Smith, perhaps best known for portraying the race-swapped version of Anne Boleyn in the UK-based Channel 5’s eponymous 2021 bio-series, spoke to the Disney Plus series’ DEI ‘spirit’ during an interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Star Wars-centric podcast Dagobah Dispatch.
Speaking with the show for an as-of-yet-unpublished interview – presumably, as with her fellow co-stars recent media coverage, during April’s Star Wars Celebration 2023 – the actress recalled that the diversity and inclusion efforts made in casting the show was “definitely something I noticed and was really excited about, and was one of the reasons that I chose to step into the world.”
“I also really loved that that our show was much more woman-centered than what I have previously seen in the Star Wars world,” she further beamed to the show’s hosts, Dalton Ross and Devan Coggan. “Just from the fact that our incredible showrunner Leslye is a genius woman, and the female producers and having Amandla be the person who’s leading our cast — it was a very cool way into this universe, and a way that I feel that people have never necessarily seen before, other than they’re going see Rosario in an amazing woman-centered show as well.”
Making reference to the upcoming Ashoka solo series, Turner-Smith further asserted, “I feel like we are part of a wave of more inclusive and beautifully represented Star Wars shows.”
“So that felt really cool,” she added. “And I felt the importance of that, especially in some of the stuff that I got to where everyone really was excited about what they were seeing and what that would maybe mean for different fans — fans that don’t necessarily look like what you normally think the traditional Star Wars fan looks like. Because if there’s anything that I learned from this show, it’s that the Star Wars fan is varied.”
Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time the actress has touted The Acolyte‘s ‘inclusive’ direction.
Offering insight to her character during a panel appearance at the same Star Wars Celebration 2023, Turner-Smith revealed, “My character, you know, she’s a powerful leader. She’s a powerful leader in a very woman-centered world, which I was very excited to kind of be in that because I feel like Star Wars is very patriarchal.”
“So it was kind of cool to have this sort of woman-centered figure,” she added. “And you know she’s really sort of going through a struggle because I mean that’s Star Wars, right? She’s really kind of like in this sort of quandary and that’s sort of her journey is to to kind of go through this struggle between two ideas.”
Further, Turner-Smith is far from the only Hollywood actress pushing this idea that notable ‘geek franchises’ – despite the reality that they have become so beloved because their core identity already appealed to actually diverse audiences – are nothing but bastions of racist fiction whose fans and content must be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern era.
During a July 2022 interview with the PA Media press agency, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power actress Sophia Nomvete declared that the Amazon series’ goal was to “[redress] the balance within the film and television, television industry and of course, this franchise and I hope, lots of franchises moving forward.”
“These are the best people for the roles but what they’ve done is open up the doors for people of all backgrounds to come forward and have the opportunity to rise,” she told correspondent Mike Bedigan, defending the series’ race-swapped casting.
“To be part of creating accessibility for generations to come,” Nomvete continued. “For new generations this is their version of Tolkien, this is what my daughter will see of Tolkien’s works. It’s their time and it’s so important and I hope many people will see this fantasy and be able to relate to it. This is a reflection of the world we live in, there are many and we are different and we will embrace and discover, and peel back, and learn, and educate, and be educated. And we can only do that when we embrace and love our differences.”
With filming having wrapped just last month, The Acolyte is currently on track to hit Disney Plus sometime in 2024.