The upcoming High Republic-era Star Wars Disney+ TV show The Acolyte could be more important and consequential than people realize. Leslye Headland’s project was revealed as one of the many new Star Wars TV shows in late 2020, and finally, its time is coming. Filming for the first season commenced in October 2022, putting The Acolyte on target for a likely early 2024 release date. There’s a high probability that some footage will be shown to special guests at 2023’s Star Wars Celebration in London, with more information trickling out over the next year.
While there will be a wait for The Acolyte, 2023 is a big year for Star Wars regardless. The Mandalorian is returning for season 3 along with two spin-off shows, Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew, later in the year. That certainly defines this era as the headlining sector of Star Wars content, with Andor and The Acolyte as exciting and thrilling outliers. However, given its premise, thematic focus, and star-studded cast, The Acolyte could significantly follow in The Mandalorian’s footsteps.
The Acolyte Could Launch A Whole New Era Of Star Wars Television
There doesn’t seem to be any interest in slowing the expansion of Star Wars, so The Acolyte is a perfect vessel to create its own era of TV shows just like The Mandalorian has with its spin-offs. The series will be unlike anything seen in the franchise so far, thus The Acolyte is a big risk for Star Wars and Disney. Yet, that gamble can pay off exponentially. It’s set in the waning years of the High Republic era, still approximately a century before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and will focus on the dark side of the Force and, presumably, the Sith.
The Acolyte is a fantastic vessel for all sorts of new story and storytelling devices given its perspective and setting. There’s plenty of freedom that would come with the era – far more than even The Mandalorian, as The Acolyte and any potential spin-offs could be farther removed from the Skywalker saga regardless of their connection to the Jedi or the Republic. Crucially, there’s more to the Force that can be explored throughout Star Wars, and The Acolyte’s High Republic setting, long before the Jedi Order’s practical extermination, is the perfect avenue to delve deeper.
What Else Star Wars Could Explore During The Acolyte’s Timeline?
The Acolyte is cleverly placed in a largely mysterious and unexplored time in Star Wars canon. While the High Republic era is being prominently showcased in novels and comic books, that’s all taking place approximately 130 years before the time when The Acolyte is reportedly set. This means anything is possible as long as Lucasfilm bridges the various components of the era together. Enticingly, spin-offs could pick up certain elements and characters from the High Republic novels and/or act as prequels to aspects of the prequel trilogy – plus also following natural offshoots directly from The Acolyte. They can all showcase currently unwritten moments in galactic history.
Intriguingly, this new era of Star Wars television would be perfect for an animated series like The Clone Wars or Rebels. In doing so, Star Wars can really showcase the vast potential of the Jedi, Sith, and possibly other Force-users without live-action’s somewhat restrictive nature. Incorporating an animated series as part of an expansion of The Acolyte‘s setting would allow for all sorts of voices and narratives to feature. While The Acolyte focuses on the dark and the Sith, the spin-offs could center on the light and the Jedi or, more enticing, the gray stories ostensibly removed from the Force as Andor was.
The Acolyte Will Showcase The Jedi In An Entirely New Light
The show will follow a Jedi Padawan and their former Master as they investigate a series of crimes that slowly reveal a reemergence of sinister dark side influence, and thus The Acolyte can reshape understanding of the Sith. Similarly, its setting is largely unfamiliar, so The Acolyte will share an incredibly important and novel perspective on the Jedi. It will take something shown countless times – a Master-Padawan relationship – and turn it on its head, while also featuring recognizable faces such as Yoda, Yaddle, or Tera Sinube in minor roles.
The role of a Sith Acolyte can give insight into how important and revolutionary The Acolyte can be for the franchise. Aptly, that title was best used by Asajj Ventress from The Clone Wars. Sith Acolytes are devotees to the dark side, yet they haven’t been deemed worthy of becoming a Sith Lord. Such could mean that The Acolyte may center on the perspective of a fallen Jedi and with that contextualization, it will shed new light on the Jedi Order, its vast history, and the abundant strengths and weaknesses. This all sets The Acolyte up to be a highly consequential series for Star Wars, and one that the franchise should build upon with its own series of spin-offs.