Of all the new shows coming to the Star Wars universe for Disney Plus, the one with the potential for the most importance to the brand is The Acolyte. The Acolyte is set at or near the end of the High Republic Era, and the story is about the emerging powers on the Dark Side of the Force.
Why is The Acolyte important?
Nearly every story we have been given thus far in the Star Wars saga is typically told from the lens of the Light Side of the Force, which is fine for the most part. That side of the story drew me into the franchise, and I suspect many others. The point of view is what made fans want to follow this story and its characters.
When we have been shown the Dark Side of the Force, it’s usually from the point of view of the Jedi. We are rarely shown the training process of the Sith. We aren’t shown how their master and padawan training works, since that is also typically told to us from the perspective of the Jedi. We know of the Rule of 2. We see it in action. But we never see the training or the stories behind it all. The Acolyte can change this.
The Acolyte can challenge the norm
The Acolyte has the opportunity to be a show like Andor. Andor challenged the usual status quo of how a Star Wars story was told. There were no lightsabers and no Force users. Andor highlighted good story and characters and how they attached to the galaxy we already know and love. The Acolyte can do something similar.
If they keep the story writing and character development finely tuned as we have seen throughout Andor, and even through Ahsoka, we are in line for some top-tier Star Wars. The actors have gone on record to set the bar pretty high for their saber battles. One of the show’s stars, Manny Jacinto, talked about how their duels were better than what we saw in The Phantom Menace, saying:
"“I will say too — not to shade,’ but we have a lot more tangible physical moves than I saw in that fight. As badass as it is, there’s a lot more grounded work that goes into our stunt training and our stunt performances.”"
That’s a high bar. But what if they hit it?
What fans can look forward to
If they hit the mark that they are teasing, and nearly bragging about in interviews, then we as fans can look forward to having stories like we haven’t seen before, both in character style and content. The change in the point of view will affect both of these points as well.
I, for one, look forward to seeing how the Dark Side users’ stories can be told. This is a virtually untapped gold mine of stories and characters that we have the chance to see brought to the screen. We are witnessing a time in Star Wars lore that hasn’t been explored. The High Republic Era is fertile ground for characters, locations, and stories.
Then add into all that the possibility of well-choreographed saber battles, and we are looking at a game changer. The Acolyte has the chance to be the show that changes how we look at Star Wars stories and the way they are told. This show can do what Andor did for Star Wars, give us something new, and unlike anything we have had before. And I cannot wait.