Andor may be the most divisive Star Wars show ever made. Among a certain type of fan, this is the pinnacle of Star Wars television. A gritty and grounded show for adults that ignores the fantasy elements that defined the franchise since the beginning. But plenty of fans also seem disinterested in a Star Wars show that doesn’t have any lightsabers, Jedi, or Force powers. Now, it seems one upcoming series, The Acolyte, could split the difference and deliver the perfect Star Wars experience.
The Acolyte has long been the great unknown of Star Wars media. Though it was announced all the way back in December 2020, there hasn’t been much to say about the series until very recently as the cast announcements started trickling out. Today, we finally got the complete cast announcement and our first glimpse of just what the series will be about — and it’s entirely different than what we thought. In fact, it looks like it will follow in Andor’s prestige footsteps.
Lucasfilm officially announced that The Acolyte will star Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Charlie Barnett, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Carrie-Anne Moss. (Yes, that’s right, Trinity is coming to Star Wars.)
Created by Leslye Headland, The Acolyte is described as “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.”
The Star Wars live-action TV universe has run the gamut of genres, from westerns, samurai stories, and pirate adventures in The Mandalorian to mob drama in The Book of Boba Fett and spy thriller in Andor. Mysteries have remained somewhat absent from this spread, though. The last time we saw a mystery in live-action was Obi-Wan investigating the disappearance of Kamino in Attack of the Clones, which wasn’t exactly the most thrilling subplot.
It looks like The Acolyte is going to bring back the mystery genre and do it completely differently. Just as Andor has been praised for modeling itself as a “prestige TV” series akin to Game of Thrones or The Americans, The Acolyte seems like it’ll do the same for “prestige mystery” shows like True Detective or Mare of Easttown.
But while Andor presents a Star Wars story without a single lightsaber in sight, The Acolyte will focus heavily on Jedi-Sith relations. Andor is entirely about the civilian’s perspective of the Rebellion, while The Acolyte takes place during the High Republic, known to be the peak of the Jedi’s power. It will be interesting to see if Headland can balance these classic Star Wars elements with the more grounded tone we’re hoping for.
If this is the direction The Acolyte takes, it will cement Andor as a watershed moment for Star Wars TV. The Mandalorian may have picked up a following of casual Star Wars fans, but if this new model works out, it could even beak into the mainstream and become the “must-see TV” that drives the cultural conversation. Disney+ may be the home of princess movies and The Simpsons, but it may yet become the hub for appointment viewing as well.
Andor is now streaming on Disney+.
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