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Star Wars Acolyte: Everything We Know So Far

The Acolyte Panel at Star Wars Celebration


Star Wars Acolyte trailer was dropped at the Star Wars Celebration. They didn’t make it public, so I have to be careful about how I do this breakdown. But it’s set during the High Republic era, 100 years before the Phantom Menace.

The official Star Wars Acolyte plot synopsis just reads, “The mystery-thriller series The Acolyte will send viewers to a galaxy with dark secrets and newly developing dark side powers in those final days of the High Republic era.”. This is why I see it takes place closer to the events of Phantom Menace.

“A former Padawan and her Jedi Master work together to look into of evil acts. But the powers they face are eviler than they had imagined”. In a way, it represents the concept of the Sith reappearing. Because up to the events of Revenge of the Sith, the Emperor had kept the Sith relatively quiet and under the radar.

The same was true of his master, Darth Plagueis, and then all the way back to Darth Bane. That was all part of the rule of two to stay under the radar so that the Jedi wouldn’t bother them. So they’re implying that at least a couple of the Jedi will discover that the Sith are alive and well and continuing to practice, and something bad will probably happen to them to prevent them from telling someone like Master Yoda, for instance, who’s still very much alive in much younger during this period in the timeline.

Star Wars Acolyte Release Date

It sounds like Star Wars Acolyte will be released sometime in the middle, maybe in the second half of 2024. Because Star Wars Skeleton Crew will be done before that, that will air before Acolyte. Because this is mostly a Sith-based series, I don’t know how much time we will spend on Coruscant with other people like the younger Yoda and the other Jedi during that era.

Star Wars Acolyte
Lee Jung-jae as a Jedi Master (CC: Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

So just a reminder that the Acolyte series isn’t meant to be connected to the Mandalorian or the Thrawn plot that’s happening right now. It’s at 100 years before Phantom Menace and is dealing with a completely different series of events in the setting up of a completely different part of the timeline.

Lee Jung Jae As A Jedi Master

Lee Jung Jae from Squid Game is playing a Jedi master who appears prominently in the Star Wars Acolyte trailer. The original trailer begins with Lee Jung Jae’s Jedi Master character teaching a group of young students at the Jedi Academy on Coruscant. We don’t know what his name is, the name of his Jedi master. There’s a Tarsunt Jedi Padawan character. More alien Jedi are coming. Outside of Grogu and Ahsoka in the present day, there aren’t a ton of alien Jedi. Maybe we’ll see more.

During his voiceover, he tells them “Close your eyes. Your eyes can be deceived. We must not trust them”. That’s meant to be foreshadowing for the Sith group that exists or the dark side practitioners that are turning into the Sith. They will serve as the primary antagonist during the series, hiding under the Jedi’s noses in plain sight. 

Jedi Order Is Too Overconfident About The Threat

It sounds like Lee Jung Jae’s character is one of the few Jedi masters during this period, about a hundred years before Phantom Menace, who senses the Sith are becoming a great threat again like the dark side of the force is starting to mass more power. Whereas most of the Jedi Council during this period, the other Jedi don’t believe that yet. Like, for example, Yoda would still be on the Jedi Council during this period. It’d just be a much younger version of Yoda.

But the idea is they become so dogmatic that they don’t think that the dark side is a problem because, during the High Republic era, that’s meant to be like the peak Jedi era. They’re more Jedi alive and active in the galaxy than in any other period in the history of the galaxy.

Star Wars Acolyte Trailer
The Jedi Order

So the Jedi Order has become so powerful, they have become so overconfident in themselves. They’re not really worried about the dark side of the force. This is where you get to the beginning of their downfall. Like the series is charting the beginning of the end of the Jedi Order.

You think that a much younger version of Yoda would be much quicker to jump on the Sith problem. It just means something is going to stop those Jedi that discover it from telling the truth to the rest of the Jedi Council.

Lee Jung Jae Is More Like Qui-Gon Jinn

Lee Jung Jae said that his Jedi explores a lot of complex emotions in a way that modern Jedi during the fall of the Republic the prequels era had abandoned. This makes him sound a little bit more like Qui-Gon Jinn, which the Star Wars people like George Lucas and Dave Filoni have talked about when comparing Qui-Gon Jinn to the other Jedi masters from the prequels.

These are Qui-Gon Jinn was meant to be more like the really old-school Jedi from a long ago in the Old Republic, the High Republic era. There were more willing to embrace the living force, and they tried to follow the true will of the force as opposed to what the Jedi Council wanted them to do. Qui-Gon often ultimately tried to follow the will of the living force as opposed to the goals that were put out by the Jedi Council. Like the will of the Masters versus serving the true intentions of the force itself.

George Lucas was really big on this idea, too, that the Jedi, by the events of the prequels, had grown too dogmatic and stuck in their ways before Order 66 goes down in a big part of Anakin’s Skywalker being this child of the force, meant to bring balance to the force’s prophecy about the force.

Star Wars Acolyte Trailer
Qui-Gon Jinn

It was all about balancing the dark side with the light side, and part of that was Anakin balancing the light side out so that the future force practitioners might return to something more akin to the Bend do in the way Qui-Gon Jinn practice the force. As opposed to writing up a Bible of their own rules, their interpretation, and following that instead.

Amandla Stenberg And Carrie-Anne Moss

Then we see Amandla Stenberg’s mystery lead character walking through a city in the Star Wars Acolyte Trailer, getting ready to attack Carrie-Anne Moss, the Jedi’s master character. You notice the structure here that she walks under is right out of the Ralph McCary concept art. They also use that same structure during The Force Awakens on Jakku, but I don’t think this plan is meant to be Jakku.

As she continues to walk through the markets on the street, Lee Jung Jae’s Jedi master character goes on saying, “The force is powerful”. As Amanda approaches Carrie-Anne Moss’ character, he ends his voiceover by saying, “It is the power we must respect”. Respecting the power of the force.

As you see Carrie-Anne Moss, get into a knockdown, drag-out martial arts fight with her without lightsabers. Amandla Stenberg’s character uses two knives. The fight scene is inspired by classic Wushu kung fu movies like The Matrix. Carrie-Anne Moss comes from the Matrix movies, so this is very familiar. Maybe we’ll get some Tera Kasi – Jedi Martial arts references and Easter eggs. They also have the team that did all the fights for the Shang-Chi movie, so it sounds like they will be hardcore.

Charlie Barnett And Other Jedi Knights

Then we see Charlie Barnett’s Jedi character get some brief screen time. Then in the trailer by getting ready for a real gritty knockdown, drag-out lightsaber battle with eight Jedi igniting their lightsabers, including Daphne Keane’s Jedi character. Most of you remember her as X23 from the Logan movie.

Star Wars Acolyte Plot
Dafne Keen at Star Wars Celebration (CC: Kate Green/Getty Images for Disne)

Even though it was cut off during some of the footage that was released from the trailer online briefly, there was a brief shot of Neimoidian during this too. They’re from the trade federation and figure heavily into the separatist and the beginning of what happens during Phantom Menace.

They revealed that Joonas Suotano who plays Chewbacca in the sequel trilogy is going to be playing the Wookie Jedi, who I believe is a little bit earlier in the timeline, during all the comics in the books that they’re doing during the High Republic era. He’s a Jedi Padawan, but I believe by the events of this series he’ll become a full Jedi Knight.

Rebecca Henderson is playing Vanessa Rowe, who appears during this other High Republic comics that stories are doing right now. But by the events of this series, she’s become a Jedi master.

Other Cast

The main character is played by Amandla Stenberg, and she’s playing someone called Aura. She’s the person that gets tied up with this Acolyte group of characters trying to become Sith apprentices. In one of the behind-the-shoot photos from the show you notice she’s wearing a T-shirt from the Mandalorian, that’s a Mandalorian T-shirt, keeping it in the Star Wars family.

Manny Jacinto also just joined the series. You remember him from The Good Place. Then there is Jodie Turner-Smith and Rebecca Henderson. Dean Charles Chapman, who most of you remember is Tommen from the Game of Thrones series.

They didn’t say who most of them are playing. The only one we really know a lot about is the main character, Amandla Stenberg this Aura character.

Star Wars Acolyte Plot
The Acolyte Cast (CC: Kate Green/Getty Images for Disne)

Star Wars Acolyte Episode 1

Supposedly the way that Acolyte Episode 1 is meant to pick up is that it starts on a planet called Sanshiro, where Amandla’s character and her sister are from. It is a world mostly made up of marshland, and snowy mountains. And this Aura character and her sister, her family live in a village that’s frequently attacked by primitive tribal beings.

They get attacked during the events of episode one and are fought off by the Jedi of that period. And because Aura is force sensitive, after that first attack they take Aura with them for training, but they leave her sister behind. So she’s separated from her family. Very standard practice for the Jedi to separate people from their families, all about attachments. Not a good thing, everybody saw the prequels, we know how that went down for Anakin Skywalker.

That’s why most of the time when Jedi are taken from their families, it’s before they’ve been able to form attachments to them. Like before they’re old enough to actually form memories. That’s why Obi-Wan Kenobi can barely remember his own family. He even talked about that during the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Like there’s an Obi-Wan Kenobi brother that’s alive somewhere in the galaxy. There’s another Kenobi out there somewhere.

But when the Jedi take Aura to start her training, the village is attacked again. The Jedi are too late in her grandparents wind up getting killed off. And because her grandparents were killed, her sister is left alone. She doesn’t want to leave her sister, but the Jedi won’t let her take her sister with her back to Coruscant the Jedi Temple. So you start to see the conflict and the reason why she starts to hate the Jedi and starts down the dark path to the Sith.

Star Wars Acolyte Cast
Lee Jung-jae and Amandla Stenberg (CC: Kate Green/Getty Images for Disne)

Amandla says that the show is a weird combination of Frozen and Kill Bill, which definitely is kind of a nuts combination. This is because of the relationship between the sisters at the beginning of the series. The main characters and how the main character evolves into more of a dark version of Uma Thurman’s bride character during Kill Bill and going on an epic revenge quest. Except she’s trying to get revenge against the Jedi Order.

The Acolyte And The Sith Story

As you see during the Star Wars Acolyte trailer, she goes up against Carrie-Anne Moss as the Jedi master character, having a knockdown, drag-out martial arts fight with the Jedi master.

Once Aura starts down the dark path, eventually she joins a group of Acolytes, thus the title of the show. A group of dark side force trainees that are trying to become Sith apprentices. And it sounds like all these Acolytes are forced to perform a bunch of trials and fight each other and the winner will become the next Sith Apprentice. And that’s their way of working within the canon.

The rule of two; There must only ever be two officials at any given time. But there are many dark side force users like you have this group of Acolytes, but they’re not traditional Sith, yet remember the difference between Sith and just regular dark side Force users.

The Sith were actually a race of beings that intermingled with a bunch of dark side force users that kind of took over their culture. Eventually what happened, though, is that there was this great Jedi Sith War about a thousand years ago Darth Bane wound up being the only member of the Sith Order to survive that. He created the rule of two to help the Sith persevere, and thus it’s continued to the present day.

Star Wars Acolyte Cast
Sith practitioners

Long before that, when the dark side force users took over the Sith culture and started intermarrying intermingling with them. It was more of a traditional build this giant Sith empire and then conquer the galaxy kind of thing, where you have many, many Sith practitioners.

The whole idea of going forward after Darth Bane is that they would stay off the radar and thus the Jedi wouldn’t think of them as a threat or even think about them at all.

One of the things they’re going to do during the series is that it won’t just be like Breaking Bad in the Star Wars universe. I mean, it might be a little bit of that. It will show you why some of the things that the Jedi were teaching were bad, like why the Jedi order became kind of stagnant.

Grogu In Present Day

The idea with Grogu, whose character later during the events of The Mandalorian and him rejecting Luke Skywalker in the Jedi Order, is their way of showing you that Grogu is rejecting the old Jedi Order. Because that’s kind of what’s going on with Luke Skywalker’s Jedi temple.

Star Wars Acolyte
Grogu in The Mandalorian (CC: Lucasfilm)

That’s the reason why it failed during the events of the sequel movies. Because he started to make the same mistakes as the old Jedi Order because he was trying to teach the old Hits basically. Like he was trying to orchestrate his Jedi temple in his teachings the same way that the old Jedi Order did, like “play the hits”.

So the whole promise with Grogu’s character much later in the timeline and hopefully this will play out in future series and future movies is that we’ll see Grogu take the Jedi Order in a completely new direction that’s completely different from the Jedi that came before, like Yoda.

But just remember that Grogu is only about 50 years old during the events of The Mandalorian, and he’s about the same age as Anna and Skywalker. This is why we have all those theories about how there might be a twist with the prophecy that the child of the prophecy might not just be Anakin Skywalker, it could also be Grogu. Like Grogu, will also bring balance to the force.

Apprentice Kill The Sith Master

Like I said, just based on what they’ve talked about with the timeline of the series, the closest we get to like really big Easter egg characters would be like a very, very young version of Palpatine. We’ve been making jokes about Palpatine and his master, Darth Plagueis, for many years. Palpatine won’t yet be old enough to become Plagueis’ apprentice at the end of the series. This is meant to take place a little bit before that.

Acolyte Story
Palpatine with Anakin Skywalker

So we might actually see Darth Plagueis show up during the series and then pay off some of his research into defying death, influencing the midi-chlorians to either create or extend life. That was the whole tale that he was telling to Anakin Skywalker. He was basically trying to explain to him in so many words how he essentially learned how to influence the midi-chlorians and thus master life and death and then kill his master.

Like, that’s the whole idea that there is only ever two Sith at any given time. And usually, the apprentice winds up killing the master and that’s how you become a Sith master. So that also might be one of the big twists in the series is that when the main character becomes a Sith apprentice, eventually she will kill whoever the master winds up being.

We also just got the Ahsoka extended trailer. There was an Ahsoka panel where they talk more about the series. They revealed that Lars Mikkelsen is coming back as Thrawn. And they release what felt like a second trailer with a whole bunch more footage.

Also Read: Star Wars Skeleton Crew: Everything We Know So Far

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