The Acolyte: Leslye Headland's response to trolling reviewers

Why bad attitudes aren't keeping this showrunner down
The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland. Image courtesy
The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland. Image courtesy /

There is no doubt that there are mixed feelings across the board when it comes to Star Wars' newest series, The Acolyte. Each week, I search YouTube for histrionic opinions, and my favorite response is the "Everyone Hates The Acolyte as Much as Disney Hates Star Wars" crowd. Concerned people also send me notifications that not only is The Acolyte "woke," but it's full of gay subtext as if I would stop watching it when I realized that Jecki has feelings for Osha. If that's not enough evidence of the vitriol, we know that internet trolls were responsible for review-bombing an Australian horror film because they attacked Acolyte instead of The Acolyte. Many people out there hope the show is widely opposed and many of them have never seen the content they trash.

According to an article on, the negativity was foreseen:

"Even before 'Star Wars: The Acolyte' had been made available for public viewing, the series was scoring negative reviews from users across multiple platforms, confirming the old adage that no one hates Star Wars as much as Star Wars fans. In the weeks since the series has premiered, the series has continued to amass scathing reviews from users, though series creator Leslye Headland confirmed that not only did she anticipate such a response, but that she isn't at all bothered by it."

Patrick Cavanaugh

Cavanaugh reflects on how this trend of pre-hating a movie has been seen with female-centric projects at least since 2016. It was then that "one of the first major instances of audiences review bombing a project" occurred with the gender-swapped reboot of Ghostbusters. Similarly, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was hugely successful, but in 2019, Captain Marvel was such a target that "Rotten Tomatoes had to change its policies for user reviewers, requiring users to confirm they purchased a ticket for the film before offering an opinion."

Leslye Headland is frankly responding like a boss to people calling her creative baby ugly. The creator reflects on a conversation with her publicist:

"Truly, when the show first came out, my publicist was like, 'OK with the review...' I was like, 'Does anybody take that seriously anymore?' I understand the point of it... But I think that, if you're in the Star Wars fandom, I think you already know what review bombing is... I guess if you're totally new to the fandom and you're considering watching the show, it could affect you. But I also think that my work in the past has been very word-of-mouth anyway, so I don't know if it... I think that because behind the scenes, we all know what it is - it's not that it's not concerning - but I think it's pretty expected, I would say."

Leslye Headland

Realizing that not everyone will enjoy a project the same way and that not all feedback will be fawning is a healthy mindset. The Acolyte continues to give all of its watchers—fans or otherwise—something to think about, and we look forward to having complex feelings about the rest of the episodes.

Next. Misplaced anger targets the wrong "Acolyte" on Rotten Tomatoes. Misplaced anger targets the wrong "Acolyte" on Rotten Tomatoes. dark