The more that comes out about Star Wars: The Acolyte, the more it sounds like the most interesting and unique of the many Star Wars projects soon coming our way on Disney+. That’s fascinating since we know so very little about this show. What we do know is that showrunner Leslye Headland is starting to talk about her approach to working on the series. She isn’t sharing much about the series itself, but she has shared a lot about her love of Star Wars, her favorite characters, what got her into the fandom, and how she approaches story. Recently, she talked to Advocate, and shared how as a queer person, her lens is through that perspective, and how that will be reflected in her work, including her work on Acolyte.
Essentially, Leslye Headland feels that her work is affected by who she is. That in one way or another, pieces of her and her perspective show up in her work. She said, “In the same way that the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, is about a young man living in Modesto, Calif., who doesn’t want to take over his dad’s hardware store… there’s just no way that me being a queer woman is not going to be reflected in my work.” The young man living in Modesto is George Lucas, who has talked a fair amount about his childhood.
She talked a lot about how she focuses on developing her characters, and how she has a connection to them. She’s done that in the past on her work on Russian Doll, and now she’s bringing that to Star Wars. She was surprised how open everyone was and into her ideas about the characters she’s going to be bringing to life in Acolyte. About her approach to how stories are made, she said, “I think that because storytelling, at its core, is always going to come down to either the personal or emotional through-line to your characters, your identity is important. And like I said, mine is just going to be in my work, whether I’m explicitly dealing with it or not, it’s always going to be there.”
Does this mean we’re going to see some LGBTQ characters? That is not something she promised at all. In fact, Leslye Headland made quite clear that she can’t yet tell us anything about her actual story for Acolyte as it is being kept tightly under wraps for now. She did say, though, that, “I also think that representation both on screen and behind the screen, it’s just so important.” This comment heavily hints that there may be on screen representation for LGBTQ characters in Star Wars: Acolyte, but again, no guarantees.
For now, she’s told us that her perspective influences her work, and will therefore influence her work on Acolyte. She’s also told us that some of her favorite characters are Han Solo, BB-8, and Ahsoka Tano. Interestingly, Ahsoka Tano is another Star Wars show coming to Disney+ soon, joining up with Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Book of Boba Fett, Mandalorian Season 3, and more. It is an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, especially for Leslye Headland, who is now working on a franchise she’s been a serious fan of since her youth.
Another interesting thing she’s shared is that she has hired writers who’ve never even seen anything in the franchise. While she herself has read the comics and novels, she found that having someone unfamiliar with the franchise on staff helped her team make sure that their stories made sense to someone who hasn’t seen everything Star Wars has ever done. The unfamiliar writer could look at things from a story perspective and ask why a character was doing something, since they didn’t have all the background information available to fans familiar with other stories in the canon. Leslye Headland feels this will make stronger stories for Acolyte, and that’s her focus. It’s going to be interesting to see how this all comes together as we wait for more news on a release date for the series.