Star Wars Will Finally Pick Up on a Lost Plot Thread From the Prequels
The Jedi Order needs an ego check.
Lucasfilm’s new Star Wars series are understandably swathed in secrecy, but none more so than The Acolyte. The upcoming series benefits a lot from its setting: It’ll take place 100 years before the fall of the Galactic Republic, where the prequels took place. But The Acolyte will be forging new territory in more ways than one, according to showrunner Leslye Headland.
The Acolyte has been touted 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.” This under-explored period in Star Wars history will give the franchise a chance to expand on the nebulous lore behind the Sith, as well as their push and pull with the Jedi. But unlike most Star Wars properties, the Jedi won’t be the main focus of the series. They may not be the heroes, either. In fact, the Jedi “might be the antagonist” in The Acolyte.
Headland recently spoke to Collider on her choice to decenter the Jedi in her upcoming series. Though The Acolyte begins with two Jedi — one a former padawan, the other a Master — as they uncover a conspiracy, the series will largely focus on the Sith. As such, it won’t be treating the Jedi with the reverence that fans are used to seeing, but challenging the status quo has also posed a challenge to the Acolyte writers.
“I think it’s difficult to do a show that is critical in any way of the Jedi,” Headland explained.
The Jedi Order has always been a pillar of Star Wars, to the point where any criticism towards them is often met with backlash. Rian Johnson’s 2017 sequel, The Last Jedi, has become infamous for its condemnation of the Jedi. The film touches on the flaws, hubris, and ignorance that Lucas’ prequels introduced, but takes it all a step farther by suggesting that the Jedi were primarily responsible for the fall of the Republic.
For the record, that’s a fair assessment. As the Republic fades from glory, so too does the Jedi Order. The organization that starts off as beacons of purity and justice are essentially just bureaucratic lackeys at the end of the day. Their blindness to Palpatine’s growing influence — as well as their suffocating doctrine — definitely left the galaxy in worse shape. Still, this is a hard pill to swallow for fans that grew up romanticizing the Jedi.
“I think that, especially in that moment, people were very nervous about saying this particular institution may not be the light and perfect, stunning group of heroes that are totally nobly intentioned,” Headland offered. But the truth has always been there, and The Last Jedi was not the first Star Wars property to point it out. “One thing that I think Dave [Filoni] would say is that they are fallible. That's really the story that George told with the prequels, right? The fall of this particular group.”
Star Wars has always been about the Jedi’s undoing. While the sequels largely failed to flesh out the breadcrumbs that the prequels left behind, it’s definitely not too late for The Acolyte to pick up the slack. It’ll be interesting to see a series criticizing a Jedi at the height of their power — but then again, that’s likely exactly what the franchise needs.