All the backlash aside, The Acolyte is actually a Star Wars success story

Despite the naysayers, The Acolyte is pulling in viewers faster than the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel Run.
Mae Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Mae Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

It's time to dive into the whirlwind of reactions surrounding The Acolyte, the latest addition to the Star Wars universe. While there's been plenty of chatter - some of it not so positive - the numbers tell a story that's as thrilling as a lightsaber duel: the series is actually doing quite well.

Let’s slice through the noise and see why The Acolyte is shining brighter than a Kyber crystal.

The backlash: A storm in a teacup?

First, let's address the Bantha in the room: the backlash. Yes, The Acolyte has faced its share of criticism. From review-bombing campaigns to nitpicky debates over canon details, the show's had its detractors. At the time of writing, its Rotten Tomatoes audience score is sitting at a jaw-dropping and undeserved 14%. That’s lower than a Jawa's kneecap. But here's the thing: online reviews can be as tricky as navigating an asteroid field. Many of these reviews aren't exactly coming from a place of love for the franchise. Some critics have legitimate points about pacing and dialogue. Others? Well, let's just say they might need a visit from Yoda to remind them about patience and perspective. Or, you know, a visit from Darth Vader similar to the ending of Rogue One.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. Reelgood, a third-party analytics firm that monitors 20 million monthly viewing decisions across US streaming platforms, has some data that’s bound to make you sit up and take notice. In an exclusive chat with ScreenRant, Reelgood reveals they have crunched the numbers and... The Acolyte is not only a heckin' hit but currently outperforming 90% of the top 100 TV shows. In the first 14 days since its release, The Acolyte ranked as the second most successful Star Wars live-action show on Disney+, right behind Obi-Wan Kenobi (the fact Obi-Wan Kenobi is ranked higher than Andor is quite the mystery to me, I must admit).

That’s no small feat in a galaxy full of competition.

Reelgood defines “engagement” as a pool of user interactions with titles across their platform, and that includes episode playbacks, tracking, and other searches and interactions. By these metrics, The Acolyte is more popular than a Porg on Chewbacca’s shoulder. This means fans aren’t just watching The Acolyte, they’re diving deep into it. They’re rewatching episodes, tracking the show's progress, and engaging with its content on a level that suggests they’re invested in the story.

(L-R): The Stranger (Manny Jacinto) and Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

A Fandom Divided?

So, why the discrepancy between the backlash and the data? It’s simple: the vocal minority doesn’t represent the whole fandom. The review-bombers might be loud, but they’re not the majority. Reelgood’s data shows a positive reception among the broader audience, suggesting that the negative reviews are more of a Sith conspiracy than an accurate reflection of fan sentiment.

Allow me to get real for a second. The Acolyte is bringing something fresh to the Star Wars universe. Set at the end of the High Republic era, it’s a fun and exciting dive into a time when both the Jedi and the Galactic Empire were at their peaks. The show follows a former Padawan who reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate crimes that lead to dark forces emerging. It’s got everything you’d want: mystery, action, and enough lightsaber battles to make any fan's heart race. The cast is stellar, featuring Amandla Stenberg, Manny Jacinto, and Lee Jung-jae at their finest. The characters are compelling, the story is engaging, and the visuals are, quite frankly, out of this world.

With all this positive engagement, it’s clear that The Acolyte has struck a chord with many fans. The show’s performance is a testament to its quality (both in the show's writing and the talented performances from the incredible cast) and the interest it has generated. As we move forward, it will be fascinating to see how the series develops and continues to captivate its audience.

If you’ve been on the fence about The Acolyte because of the backlash, here's my personal advice to you: dare to make your own opinion of this refreshing and innovative Star Wars story. Watch the show.

The numbers don’t lie - this show is a success story in the making. Ignore the noise, trust the data, and enjoy the ride through this exciting new chapter in the Star Wars saga. After all, in the words of Yoda, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” But in this case, success is proving to be an even better instructor.

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