Star Wars Show Pays Homage To Its Greatest Games

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star wars the acolyte

When the first trailer for Star Wars: The Acolyte hit, the fandom was divided: some thought the upcoming series looked a bit bland and generic, for example, while others were excited that we were finally getting a series focusing on when the Jedi were in power. If you’re on the fence about this new show, here is one reason to be excited that most fans don’t realize. In creating a series that is willing to show the Jedi in a somewhat negative light, it looks like we are finally getting a show that channels the vibes of the ambitious sequel video game Knights of the Old Republic 2

Jedi As The Bad Guys

Where does this info about the Jedi being bad guys in Star Wars: The Acolyte come from? According to showrunner Leslye Headland, the new show is meant to be very different from what we always associate with the franchise, which is “rebels versus institutional threat…underdogs versus huge empire.” Setting this new show a century before the time of Luke Skywalker means that “the Jedi become the antagonists,” and while Headland emphasized that they wouldn’t be outright villains, she said they would “become the bad guys to the bad guys.”

An Alternative Perspective

In other words, Star Wars: The Acolyte isn’t going to be told from the Sith POV and portray our favorite space monks with laser swords as mustache-twirling agents of evil. But it does sound like the show will finally give us an alternative perspective from characters who very much see the Jedi as symbols of what is wrong with society. What makes this approach feel so fresh is that we haven’t had a major Star Wars story like this since the Knights of the Old Republic games came out.

Knights Of The Old Republic II

To understand the video game vibes Star Wars: The Acolyte is channeling, I’m going to need to heavily spoil the KOTOR games. If you’re a fan of a galaxy far, far away and haven’t played these games, I highly recommend you stop reading this article right now. Not only are these two of the greatest games ever made but each one is built around major plot twists that are much more enjoyable when you have no idea they are coming.

In the first Knights of the Old Republic game, you awaken on an Old Republic ship with major amnesia and quickly get drawn into the battle between the Jedi and the Sith who are led by the fearsome Dark Malak. Malak killed his previous Sith Master, Darth Revan, but once your character begins his Jedi training, it looks like you might have a shot at beating him. Your confidence is shaken, though, by a horrible revelation: you are Darth Revan, and the Jedi brainwashed you in order to turn you into a weapon against your old apprentice.

In KOTOR 2 (the game that really channels Star Wars: The Acolyte…more on this soon), you play as a different character known as the Exile, a former Jedi who has lost her connection to the Force due to activating a superweapon during the Mandalorian War that led to countless deaths on both sides. Your character starts getting her Force groove back, but this causes surviving Jedi Masters to try to strip your powers once more because they think what you have learned could threaten the very existence of the Force. 


The one who saves you (at least, on a Light Side playthrough) is Kreia, a former Sith who has her own plans and never wastes an opportunity to discuss how it’s actually the Jedi Council who is dangerously misguided, just as they seem to be in Star Wars: The Acolyte. While Kreia becomes the Big Bad of the game no matter what choices you make, the most fascinating thing about KOTOR 2 is that she makes several relevant points, and it’s easy to see that the Jedi (the same Jedi who broke a villain’s mind and sent him to murder his old apprentice in the first game) could be considered evil from (ahem) a certain point of view.

A Kreia-Esque Perspective

At this point, there isn’t much information about the overall plot of Star Wars: The Acolyte, but Headland’s comment heavily implies we’ll get a Kreia-style perspective of how and why the Jedi aren’t the good guys the films portray. Not only does this pave the way for some fresh and original storytelling, but it also has the potential to make the familiar galaxy far, far away seem cool again. Andor has shown us how much Star Wars fans enjoy heroes with more than a few shades of gray, and this could be the chance for the Jedi to be more relevant than they have been since 1983.


star wars andor

Speaking of Andor, that show has given me a growing faith that Star Wars: The Acolyte will be equally compelling. Sure, we’ve gotten a lot of forgettable televised franchise dreck (like The Book of Boba Fett), but shows like Andor and the first season of The Mandalorian are a reminder that Star Wars still has new stories to tell instead of endlessly telling the same story of blue lightsabers versus red lightsabers.

As a lifelong fan of the franchise, I have a simple message for the showrunner of The Acolyte: “help me, Leslye Headland…you’re our only hope.”