The Acolyte actor Charlie Barnett recently claimed he never believed he could play a Jedi because previous Star Wars films never reflected him.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly during Star Wars Celebration 2023 back in April, Barnett stated, “I don’t think I could have ever imagined myself as a Jedi. Yes, one, because I was not reflected for so many times throughout these films in the past. But it was also something that didn’t equate in my mind. I don’t know about you guys as well.”
He added, “So to see such a diverse group played out now, I know that it’s going be a healthy reflection on so many other young people and old people. No ageism allowed in this. It’s Star Wars we can all fit. I think it’s going to be a really impactful. It’s gonna be a cool moment for me for sure, I can tell you that.”
Barnett’s comments are patently absurd. Even if you want to play his representation or reflection game, it falls flat on its face. Barnett is 35 years old being born in 1988. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace debuted in 1999. Barnett would have been 11 years old at the time. He would have seen a plethora of Jedi from a myriad of different species and races in the film. One of the most prominent Jedi in the show was Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu.
Ironically, Barnett does admit that it’s likely the representation or reflection narrative that he’s trying to spin is just that, it’s a narrative with no truth or foundation supporting it. This is revealed when he says he failed to equate being able to play a Jedi in his own mind.
Barnett was not the only one to promote the show with critical race theory language. His co-stars Manny Jacinto and Dafne Keen also chimed in.
Keen stated, “It’s fun to think that like all the kids out there who will see themselves reflected in us–” Barnett finished her sentence, “For the first time.”
Jacinto added, “This is the first time you’re getting to see an Asian Jedi, you know in [Lee Jung-jae]. It’s a pretty big responsibility. … Getting to see [Lee Jung-jae] inspire a new generation of Asian kids to like take up the lightsaber – it’s pretty incredible.”
Unsurprisingly, this is not the only bizarre comment Barnett made during his time at Star Wars Celebration 2023. During an appearance on the main stage with his co-stars Dafne Keen and Manny Jacinto, he was asked to describe the upcoming Star Wars series in less than five words.
Barnett answered, “I would say a ‘battle for power.'” He didn’t stop there. He continued, ““I mean the best parts about Star Wars is there is no good or evil. It depends on what side you are standing on, truly.”
He attempted to explained, “You can look at any angle and see yourself relayed through all the characters: Darth [Vader] to Luke. You know what I’m saying.”
Barnett then went on to provide more details on how The Acolyte reshapes Star Wars, “This show is truly about that balance of power and balance of good versus evil. And realizing so much of it starts at the root, truly.”
This injection of moral relativism, or the view there is no absolute truth or there is no true good or evil, into Star Wars is something George Lucas did not include in his original films and dare I say would object to.
In fact, Lucas was asked about what interested him about the conflict of good and evil in Star Wars during an appearance on American Voices with Bill Bradley back in 2012.
Lucas answered, “Well, the conflict between good and evil is the basic conflict. The universal question is, ‘Am I a good person?’ … But, of course, that’s a very complicated question. And it’s something you have to ponder because you’re doing it every day, you’re saying should I do this or shouldn’t I do this?”
However, one does not even need to hear what Lucas said on the matter to figure out that the conflict in Star Wars is about good versus evil. If you saw the film’s opening crawl it clearly describes the Empire as evil.
It reads, “It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.”
What do you make of Barnett, Keen, and Jacinto’s comments?