Star Wars: The Acolyte features the Jedi Order as the villains.
To many, Star Wars is the ultimate representation of good vs. evil, with the Jedi Order always standing on the honorable side of the equation. But in the case of Star Wars: The Acolyte, it seems that showrunner Leslye Headland will be flipping the script to show the darker, more fallible side of our heroes, according to Collider. Okay, so it’s not that the Jedi Order is necessarily evil in The Acolyte, but if you’re seeing things from the perspective of the bad guys, then they would certainly be perceived as villains.
Headland was succinct and deliberate when she said that in this context, the Jedi Knights aren’t necessarily going to be revealed as evil, but rather shown as the “bad guys to the bad guys.” Set at the end of the High Republic a hundred years before the events that took place in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Acolyte will clue us into how this period was one of questionable intentions for the Jedi Order, who have mostly been painted in a positive light up to this point.
Though this mode of storytelling may rub some avid Star Wars fans the wrong way, Headland asserts that the emotional through line that is established in The Acolyte isn’t necessarily on binary terms but will show us the nuance that will be sympathetic to the struggles of the Jedi Order during this period. In other words, even the noble forces of good are not without internal struggle, conflict, or even failure.
Yoda’s ghost summed up this sentiment to an older and more jaded Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi when he sympathetically said, “pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery…but weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is.” And it seems that Star Wars will play with this battle between dark and light in The Acolyte.
At this point in the Star Wars canon, it’s been established that the day can only seem so bright after looking darkness in the face for so long, so it’s only fitting that The Acolyte will continue to explore the Jedi Order’s fall from grace in some capacity. We’re not saying that Rian Johnson was a trendsetter when he wrote The Last Jedi, but he certainly showed us that even Luke Skywalker, the noblest of Jedi Knights, isn’t always pure at heart. But that’s life, isn’t it?
And this mode of storytelling has been peppered throughout Star Wars but not explored closely enough to satisfy Headland, which inspired her to pitch The Acolyte. Headland elaborated that even though George Lucas explored this territory in the prequels quite extensively, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Anakin Skywalker were still the protagonists. We see their fall from grace when Anakin’s troubles aren’t addressed in a way that would lead him to see the light but rather transform into the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series also shows its titular character battling his inner demons. Set ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith; we see a more pensive and tight-lipped portrayal of the Jedi Master as he watches over a young Luke Skywalker from afar. This type of character study can only expand our understanding of Star Wars, and the Jedi Order during times of struggle, and The Acolyte will continue to elaborate on this form of storytelling.
There’s an old saying that “past is prologue,” and this couldn’t be a truer statement about Star Wars: The Acolyte. We may see a darker side of the Jedi Order than we’re used to when the series premieres on Disney+ in 2024. But this is just a part of their journey to find their place in the universe as an overwhelming force of good.