Leslye Headland, the showrunner and creator for the upcoming Star Wars: The Acolyte series, recently revealed the series does not feature an actual war.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly at Star Wars Celebration in April, Headland’s comments were recently shared to the public.
She said, “I would say that The Acolyte stands out because it is the earliest in the Star Wars timeline that we have ever been in live-action. We are toward the end of the High Republic, leading into George’s prequels, so we are looking at a time period where the Jedi are at the height of their power.”
“We are looking at a timeline where there is peace throughout the galaxy. And it was very challenging and interesting to make a Star Wars with no war in it,” Headland relayed. “So the question became, ‘Well, what should the show be about if it’s not going to be about galactic conflict?'”
She went on to tease what her answer to that question is, “And I think that what makes this show different and interesting is that it’s from the perspective of the bad guys or the villains of Star Wars.”
“These are people who are using the Force in their own way, dipping into the darker sides of the Force and are doing it without being sanctioned by the larger institution, which, in this case, is the Jedi,” Headland continued.
“I think that Star Wars is always about some version of the underdog versus the institution,” she went on. “And I just thought it was very interesting to do a show about the bad guys and to set that during that time period made the most sense. So I think that’s what sets it apart. It’s kind of almost flipped. We have more Jedi than you’ve seen in any of the of the Star Wars content, but at the same time, I think you see more morally ambiguous characters than you’ve seen in other Star Wars content.”
“And I think I can say this pretty confidently, I don’t think you’re going to see action in other shows the way that you see it used and utilized in our show,” she concluded.
During another appearance at Star Wars Celebration, Headland echoed many of these talking points about the series.
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.
Headland previously shared insight into the series during an interview with the AV Club back in 2021 where she seemed to imply the series would indeed feature war given its set within the Star Wars franchise.
She said, “I mean, it’s funny, because a lot of the feedback that I’ll get—and I use the term feedback very lightly—but when I do go on social media, the feedback is ‘Don’t make Star Wars political.’ I’m like, ‘George Lucas made it political. Those are political films.’”
Headland elaborated, “War is, by nature, political. That’s just what’s up. It’s truly what he was interested in talking about and looking at and digging into. So it’s kind of impossible to tell a story within his universe that doesn’t have to do with something that has to be that the characters see externally reflected in whatever’s happening in the galaxy at that particular time period of when it takes place. You know?”
She concluded, “That’s another thing that we all kind of inherited from him as well, and hope to kind of keep reflecting in the work, hopefully.”
Headland also touched on what she sees as the goal for the series, ““My goal here would be to create something that people can interpret in a couple of different ways, as opposed to there being one right way to love or consume a Star Wars product.
“I think you should, hopefully, be able to utilize it depending on where you are in your life and where you are in your fandom,” she finished.
What do you make of Headland revealing that The Acolyte will not actually feature a major galactic conflict?