The Acolyte Continues The Worst Star Wars Series Trend

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Disney just dropped the trailer for its newest Star Wars series, The Acolyte, and surprise, it looks pretty good! Well, actually, it looks terrible, but that’s not a reflection of the show’s content, as much as it is Lucasfilm continuing to produce content that looks dark, muddy, and cheap. From The Mandalorian to Ahsoka and everything in between, Star Wars on Disney+ lacks the visual fidelity the franchise deserves.

Budgets Getting In The Way

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One of the most obvious reasons that a show like The Acolyte doesn’t look as visually appealing as, say, The Last Jedi (whether you like the movie or not, you have to admit that it was visually stunning) is budget. Shows produced for television or streaming usually have much smaller budgets than their big-screen counterparts. Obi-Wan Kenobi reportedly had a budget of $90 million spread across six episodes—a far cry from the $447 million that Disney spent making The Force Awakens.

A smaller budget means corners are cut, resulting in subpar lighting, equipment, crew, etc. With a television/streaming budget, you’re going to get a product that reflects that lower budget in every category, including visual fidelity. Now, obviously, picture quality is the least of Disney’s worries when it comes to Star Wars, but a bad picture certainly doesn’t help.

Disney Is To Blame

Ultimately, the washed-out, muddy look of shows like The Acolyte might not be a Star Wars problem but rather a Disney+ problem. A quick search for why Disney+ content looks so bad brings up countless forums where members are complaining about the streamer’s use of HDR. HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is a technique where the broadcast tells your TV which colors to display and at what brightness level, seemingly on the fly. While, in theory, this should result in a better picture, the result is often the opposite.

That’s because the quality of streaming content, in general, sucks. Streamers that promise UHD never deliver a true 4K picture, while a service like Disney+ doesn’t account for its viewers not having the proper top-of-the-line televisions when it decides to make HDR the default picture for all of its content. Even worse, according to some Reddit threads on the subject, Disney+ shows like The Mandalorian aren’t even true HDR, but SD (standard definition) forced to replicate HDR with results in a darker, murkier picture.

The Acolyte Is Going To Deliver A Great Story, But It Won’t Look Good

So watch The Acolyte and enjoy it—the fights are supposed to be based on old Kung Fu movies, so they should be sick! I just don’t expect it to look any better than the rest of the gloomy, washed-out D+ shows.

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