Star Wars

The Acolyte Is Borrowing Jordan Peele’s Secret Weapon

The Acolyte has tapped one of Jordan Peele’s most consistent collaborators.

Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae and Director Leslye Headland on the set of Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE
Christian Black/Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm is working hard to craft a cinematic universe on the big and small screen, all centered around The Mandalorian. That said, Star Wars’ most exciting new project actually has nothing to do with the Mando-verse. It’s The Acolyte, a mysterious series from showrunner Leslye Headland, that’s been drawing the most curiosity. Set years before the Star Wars prequels in the High Republic era, The Acolyte will reportedly follow a Sith padawan as they infiltrate the Jedi Order.

The series has all the trappings of a noir, a genre only briefly explored in prequels like Attack of the Clones and the animated Clone Wars series. It’s safe to assume that The Acolyte will delve into darker territory than any of its predecessors — but a recent addition to the crew could place the series in a new genre altogether.

A recent report from Collider confirms that The Acolyte has found its music composer. Headland has tapped Michael Abels, best known for his work with Jordan Peele, to score the Lucasfilm series. Abels has worked with Peele across each of his feature films, composing the music for Get Out, Us, and Nope. It was Abels who crafted the creepy orchestral remix of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” for Us. While he’s more than capable of combining music genres to make something entirely new, his grasp on horror has put him on the map in a major way.

The Acolyte has tapped Jordan Peele’s frequent collaborator, Michael Abels, to craft its score.

Mark Von Holden/Variety/Getty Images

In an interview with the L.A. Times, Peele lauded Abels’ “ability to do the horror part of things, and the anticipatory moments — the moments before something is happening that fill you with dread.” The composer crafts countless sonic cues in Get Out and Us, using discordant notes and pregnant pauses to play with audience expectations. That same unsettling tone is on display in Nope as well, but Abels is also able to craft music that inspires awe and creates a sweeping spectacle. Abels has the ability to create “a new flavor of film” with music alone, a trait that Peele calls the “chimera effect.”

When it comes to The Acolyte, anything is possible. There will certainly be some scarier moments in a Sith-focused series, which will allow Abels to lean on his foundation with Peele. But there’s really no telling how dark the series will go. It’d be interesting to see a Star Wars project actively embracing horror, and allowing Abels to compose some truly dread-inducing moments. Either way, he seems like the perfect fit for the series. Star Wars is in something of an exploratory phase, especially on Disney+ — and the music that informs the shows can only expand the franchise further.

The Acolyte will premiere on Disney+ in 2024.

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