The Acolyte Has an Opportunity to Fill in a Massive Timeline Gap

Have you heard, it’s not a story the Jedi would tell you, etc.


The Acolyte has positioned itself in the weirdest possible spot on the Star Wars timeline. Set 100 years before the prequel trilogy, it’s much older than the rest of the live-action Star Wars narrative we’ve seen so far, but not nearly as old as the ongoing High Republic series of books and comics. While showrunner Leslye Headland describes the show as taking place in “the final days of the High Republic era,” it doesn’t seem to have much in common with either chapter of Star Wars history.

Because of this, the show has painted itself into a corner. Without ties to either side of the timeline, will fans get invested in the plot even though it has no impact on the rest of the Star Wars canon? The latest trailer only reinforces this lack of a direct connection... but there’s a theory that a big one is hiding in the shadows. First, check out the trailer below:

Everything seems to be self-contained. The Jedi murder mystery is intriguing, but it doesn’t have the same canon-shifting appeal as The Mandalorian or Ahsoka. It’s much more akin to Obi-Wan Kenobi, in that it’s filling in the gaps of a universe we already know. But while that show was about an existing character’s emotional turmoil, The Acolyte is dealing with a cast full of debutants.

However, one notable character is missing: Darth Plagueis. The oft-memed villain brought Sheev Palpatine to the Dark Side, and around the time of The Acolyte Plagueis would have been operating in the shadows. Incorporating the infamous Sith Lord would not only give weight to The Acolyte’s story of Sith power struggles, but also establish a direct tie to the rest of Star Wars by featuring the man who would indirectly influence Anakin Skywalker himself.

The Acolyte is a murder mystery that, so far, lacks any greater ties to the Star Wars timeline.


Should The Acolyte introduce the infamous villain? As it stands, it’s hard to get invested in The Acolyte because we already know where the story ends up: with a bureaucratic Jedi council deciding to recruit a young pod-racer from Tatooine. Some viewers may need a reason to care about this drama, and adding a single sinister face would transform the series from a stand-alone sideshow to the prequel-to-the-prequel it has the potential to become.

On the other hand, it seems safe to say that fans are a bit sick of the Skywalker Saga, to say nothing of the interconnected nature of modern franchises that put minutiae of lore before proper storytelling. It might be refreshing to watch a self-contained series, even if its events are ultimately inconsequential. If the story is good enough, its long-term stakes shouldn’t matter.

Given Lucasfilm and Disney’s infatuation with the former approach, we wouldn’t be shocked if Plagueis’ involvement is being kept under wraps for a massive reveal late in the series, or if there’s a different plan for tying The Acolyte into the broader canon in a subtle way, like what was seen in Andor. But now that Star Wars is finally giving its villains the spotlight, some fans are excited to hear more about the tragedy of Darth Plagueis. After all, it’s not a story the Jedi would tell you.

The Acolyte premieres June 4, 2024 on Disney+.

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