The Acolyte Can and Should be the Most Brutal Star Wars Show

When’s the last time you actually felt fear watching a lightsaber fight?

The Acolyte isn’t just Lucasfilm’s next Star Wars TV series. It’s also the franchise’s first live-action entry set before the events of the Prequel Trilogy. While the specific plot details were long kept under wraps, we’ve known for a while that The Acolyte will take place at the end of the High Republic era, around 100 years before Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.

The first trailer for The Acolyte finally teases its story, which focuses on the emergence of dark forces intent on hunting and murdering Jedi. It spotlights multiple Jedi characters, including Sol (Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae) and Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), a pair of seemingly formidable Jedi Masters. The Acolyte is shaping up to be one of the few high-profile Star Wars projects that features more than just a few Jedi.

That’s exciting for several reasons, not the least of which is that it gives The Acolyte the freedom to make its story as dark as it needs to be.

George Lucas’ three Star Wars prequel films feature more Jedi than the franchise’s other live-action entries combined. Notably, there are also more onscreen deaths and heartbreaking, violent twists than in any of the other films. That is by design, as the prequels chart Anakin Skywalker’s slow fall to the Dark Side amid the Republic’s collapse.

Because of the sheer number of Jedi in the prequels, Lucas could kill numerous Force users throughout them without eliminating too many storytelling opportunities. The same can’t be said for all of the other Star Wars movies and shows, which tell stories that feature only one or two Jedi. The majority of the movies, after all, take place after the fall of the Jedi Order at the end of Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.

That makes The Acolyte unique, as it promises to feature almost as many noteworthy Jedi as the Prequel Trilogy. That means the show will have the chance to explore the history of the Jedi Order far more extensively than most other films and shows... and it means The Acolyte is free to kill off its Jedi throughout the series, should the story warrant it. Given that its plot will apparently center around the hunt for a Jedi killer, that seems like a safe assumption.

It’s rare for Star Wars fans to receive a new project that actually feels different, but so far, The Acolyte stands out. Both its setting and the sheer number of Force users in its cast are unique, as is its trailer’s suggestion that it will boast a far darker tone than is typical of Lucasfilm’s Disney+ offerings.

Of course, The Acolyte can’t culminate in Order 66 like Revenge of the Sith, but it can ensure its Jedi figures are fundamentally vulnerable. In other Star Wars shows, we know our Jedi heroes are destined to survive until the climactic showdown, and probably beyond. That leaves most lightsaber fights devoid of the tension one would ideally want, given the clear narrative importance of the characters involved. With so many Force users featured in its cast, though, The Acolyte has the chance to deliver lightsaber battles with a refreshing edge of danger. We’re talking about deadly laser swords here: sometimes it should be unclear who will walk away alive.

The Acolyte premieres June 4 on Disney+.

Related Tags