The Acolyte creator explains the show's varied team of writers

Leslye Headland explains why she hired a writer who had never watched Star Wars

The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland. Image courtesy
The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland. Image courtesy /

Star Wars: The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss making the series, which is set during The High Republic era of Star Wars.

While Headland is a lifelong Star Wars fan and admits that the show contains Easter eggs from the Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy, The Clone Wars, and the Expanded Universe, she wanted her show to appeal to someone who hasn't watched Star Wars.

To ensure that her show would satisfy all types of viewers, Headland says she hired writers who are fans of every era of Star Wars and included one writer who hadn't watched any Star Wars at all.

Headland explains why she thought it would benefit the show to hire a writer who wasn't a Star Wars fan and why she told this writer that she belonged in the writer's room of the show. When the writer questioned why she was hired, Headland says she told her that "I want you to be questioning the narrative" and that:

"I don’t want myself, who’s a lifelong fan, to just be relying on particular references in order to create emotional beats. I want those emotional beats to be earned and checked by someone that isn’t super familiar with it."

Leslye Headland

Headland explains that in the process, this writer became a Star Wars fan and consumed everything from the Original Trilogy to the Prequels. Even though the writer made sure she caught up on the franchise, Headland's idea to have someone who's not a fan in the room to question the narrative is a good one. It allows for the show to have an emotional appeal suitable to the sensibilities of every viewer. Star Wars shows and films have to have universally appealing ideas and concepts, similar to The Mandalorian.

While in many ways, The Mandalorian is as Star Wars as a show can get, it has appealed to an audience that includes people who weren't necessarily Star Wars fans. The show's relatively simple concept of a Lone Wolf and Cub has a timeless appeal that has made it a global phenomenon. Similarly, The Acolyte explores an era of Star Wars that many Star Wars fans are still unfamiliar with, so naturally, those who've never watched any of the movies and shows will need something to help them connect with the characters and their motivations.

Besides, sometimes lifelong fans can get too bogged down in the mythology and lore. It helps to have someone in the room to tell writers to just focus on the bigger picture, such as the emotions and relations between the characters.

We hope The Acolyte's varied writer's room benefits the show and future Star Wars projects follow its example.

The Acolyte is premiering June 4th only on Disney+.

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