Announced at the Disney Investor Day event in 2020, Star Wars: The Acolyte is one of several projects in the works to bring more to the Disney+ service. The only thing we really know about it from that time until now was that Lucasfilm had brought on Leslye Headland as writer/creator for it and that it was going to deal with the end days of the High Republic era.
A really welcome bit of news has landed regarding the project that is definitely going to help ramp up interest in that Amandla Stenberg has joined the production to take on the leading role in this, who is currently still unnamed. An Instagram post about it can be found here from the actor.
Stenberg got a lot of attention back in 2012 when the first Hunger Games film came out with her in the role of Rue, which she filmed when she was thirteen. Since then, she’s had several roles from The Darkest Minds to The Hate U Give and recently wrapped up work with Bodies, Bodies, Bodies on the film side. She’s done some voice work for various TV Shows, a short run in Sleepy Hollow, and most recently the main role of Julie in The Eddy back in 2020.
Previously, there’ve been a few interview pieces before where a few things have been touch upon, such as this full interview at the AV Club here, but now some new things have surfaced via Vanity Fair as the press is out in full on Obi-wan Kenobi and other projects are being talked about.
“So I actually went more toward martial arts films, and storylines that are a little bit more personal and less global and galactic,” said Headland. “Those warriors were on missions that were deeply personal, with people feeling wronged and having to make it right. Wuxia films and martial arts films from King Hu and the Shaw Brothers, like Come Drink With Me and [A] Touch Of Zen. They’re monks that are also martial arts heroes.”
“I love the fact that George Lucas, when he originally made Episodes 4-6, you can see that he wants everything to feel like it has this particular type of decay,” said Headland. “This is a lived-in sci-fi fantasy world, not a sleek, well-put-together aesthetic. He was really going for something that I think was a bit revolutionary at the time.”
“When he tasked himself with making the prequels, the way that he decided to address technology and all of those types of things was to make it a much sleeker, better-looking, almost more advanced time,” she continued. “That’s what’s kind of weird about Star Wars. The further you go back, the better things are. ‘A long time ago’ actually becomes more futuristic. So while we are creating this type of world, we’re trying to carry George’s concept that the further you go back, the more exciting and new and sleek and interesting things look.”
Plot Concept: The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take the audience into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era