Star Wars: The Acolyte: Disney Plus release date, trailer, cast, plot, and more

Star Wars: The Acolyte: Disney Plus release date, trailer, cast, plot, and more
Pls share this post


Listen to this article
The Acolyte: key information

– Will debut on Disney Plus in June
– Created by Russian Doll showrunner Leslye Headland
– Pitched as “Frozen meets Kill Bill
– Set during The High Republic era
– Official trailer released in March
– Main cast announced in December ’21 and November ’22
– Story synopsis and character details revealed in March
– Will change how Star Wars fans view certain parts of Star Wars lore
– Could be a multi-season series

At long last, The Acolyte has an official release date and trailer. The next Star Wars series to make its Disney Plus debut will land on our screens in June – and, given the footage that’s finally been released online, that month can’t come soon enough.

With a launch date locked in and a mystery-laced teaser to pore over, we suspect you’re scouring the web for more details about this highly anticipated Disney Plus show. Fear not, dear reader, for we come bearing gifts about when it’ll be released on one of the world’s best streaming services, who’s involved in its cast, important details about its plot, and so much more.

It goes without saying, but potential spoilers follow for one of the many confirmed Marvel and Star Wars shows due out in 2024. Proceed at your own risk.

The Acolyte release date

See more

The Acolyte will debut on Disney’s primary streamer with a two-episode premiere on Tuesday, June 4. Well, in the US, anyway – it’ll air at 6pm PT / 9pm ET on that date stateside. UK and Australian viewers will have to wait until 2am BST / 10am AEST on Wednesday, June 5 to check it out.

We already had an inkling that Star Wars: The Acolyte would be released when we expected it to debut. Indeed, The Acolyte seemingly landed a mid-2024 launch window in February, before another release date leak suggested the Star Wars series would arrive on June 7. All things considered, we’re happy it’ll arrive three days earlier than planned.

For viewers who have grown a bit weary of the unstructured nature of Star Wars episodic runtimes, The Acolyte‘s will be less chaotic. Speaking to Collider, showrunner Leslye Headland confirmed each entry – season 1’s 40-minute finale aside – are approximately 30 minutes apiece.

The Acolyte trailer

The Acolyte‘s first teaser was released on March 20 and teased a very ominous disturbance in the Force ahead of its Disney Plus release. 

Incidentally, this is the same trailer that was shown to Star Wars Celebration 2023 attendees in London. Even so, it’s been a monster hit for Lucasfilm and Disney post-release, amassing 51.3 million views on YouTube in its first 24 hours alone. Per StarWars.com, that’s a record-breaking digital-only figure for a Lucasfilm-developed show, too.

There’s a lot to take in and theorize about from this first-look footage, but we’ll get into more speculative territory in our plot section.

The Acolyte cast: confirmed and rumored

Indara battles with Mae in a cantina in Star Wars: The Acolyte

The Acolyte cast is full of big name stars and talented up-and-comers. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Here’s the official cast list for Star Wars: The Acolyte so far:

  • Amandla Stenberg as Mae
  • Lee Jung-jae as Sol
  • Manny Jacinto as Qimir
  • Carrie-Anne Moss as Indara
  • Dafne Keen as Jecki
  • Charlie Barnett as Yord
  • Jodie Turner-Smith as Mother Aniseya
  • Rebecca Henderson as Vernestra Rwoh
  • Joonas Suotamo as Kelnacca
  • Dean-Charles Chapman as TBC
  • Margarita Levieva as TBC
  • Amy Tsang as TBC

Stenberg (Bodies Bodies Bodies) was the first cast member to be announced, with The Acolyte finding its lead star in December 2021. According to Mae’s character profile on StarWars.com, she “gets swept up into a sinister mystery – one that puts her into the center of a conflict in unexpected ways.”

Star Wars: The Acolyte received a major cast update in November 2022, with Moss, Jung-jae, Keen, and Turner-Smith among others added to its ranks. Following the release of its first trailer, we know their characters’ identities and importance to the plot.

Jung-jae (Squid Game) will portray Sol, “a wise, highly respected, powerful Jedi Master [who is] strong in the ways of the Force [and] is going through emotional conflict” (via StarWars.com). According to Headland (per The Hollywood Reporter), Sol and Mae have a history, and viewers will get to see both characters’ perspectives of the unfolding narrative throughout its eight episode run.

Jung-Jae’s Sol will be joined in the esteemed Jedi Master ranks by Indara, played by Moss (The Matrix), who possesses “great physical and mental skill” (StarWars.com again), and Ferguson’s Vernestra. 

READ ALSO  Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is officially a go and it could be coming to Peacock sooner than you think

Curiously, Vernestra is the only pre-existing character who’s appeared in Star Wars’ extended universe – the fan-favorite Mirialan Jedi Master appearing in multiple novels set during the High Republic era, which is when The Acolyte is also set. Given her prior history in Lucasfilm’s sci-fi franchise, her StarWars.com character profile is by far the most informative, stating she wields a purple lightsaber than can turn into a lightwhip and that she was “one of the youngest Jedi Knights in a generation at age 15”.

Master Sol speaks to a number of seated Younglings at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in Star Wars: The Acolyte

Master Sol has ties to Mae in Star Wars: The Acolyte. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

With The High Republic era populated by Jedi, other Force wielders will feature, too.

Keen (Logan, His Dark Materials) will play human-Theelin hybrid Jecki, Sol’s apprentice who “projects calm and conducts herself with maturity” (per StarWars.com), Barnett (Russian Doll) is Yord, a Jedi Knight and Temple guardian who is an “overachiever and a rule follower” (StarWars.com again), and Suotamo, who played Chewbacca in Star Wars’ sequel movie trilogy, will portray a Wookiee Jedi named Kelnacca, “a loner who lives a solitary life” (StarWars.com).

Rounding the show’s confirmed cast are Manny Jacinto (Nine Perfect Strangers) as Qimir, “a former smuggler who now makes his living as a trader, procuring unusual things and enjoying a life of leisure” (via StarWars.com) and Turner-Smith (After Yang, Queen & Slim) as Mother Aniseya, “the leader of a coven of Witches who value their independence and the preservation of their beliefs and powers” (StarWars.com once more). Chapman, Tsang, and Levieva’s characters are yet to be revealed.

Potential cast spoilers for The Acolyte follow.

Yord and Jecki look at something behind them in a cave in Star Wars: The Acolyte

Yord and Jecki are Jedi who’ll get caught up in The Acolyte‘s events. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

UK newspaper The Metro has bizarrely claimed Keanu Reeves might cameo in this one, while Yoda – who’s unsurprisingly alive during the High Republic era – could cameo. Palpatine’s Sith Master, Darth Plagueis, is also be at large during this time period, so he could feature as well.

There’s plenty to suggest The Acolyte is also in excellent hands behind the camera. As well as having co-created one of the best Netflix shows ever in Russian Doll, Headland is a lifelong Star Wars aficionado.

“She is a gigantic Star Wars fan,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Vanity Fair. “What’s wonderful about Leslye is she knows it all. I mean, she’s read a gazillion books inside the EU [Expanded Universe]. There are little bits and pieces that she’s drawing from that no one has explored yet in the onscreen storytelling.”

According to the Writers Guild of America West‘s website, Headland is joined on the screenwriter roster by Jason Micallef (Heathers), Charmaine DeGrate and Eileen Shim (House of the Dragon), Jasmyne Flournoy (Falcon and the Winter Solider), Claire Kiechel (Watchmen), Kor Adana (Mr. Robot), Cameron Squires (WandaVision), Jocelyn Bioh (Tiny Beautiful Things), and Jen Richards (Her Story).

The Acolyte plot synopsis and speculation

Sol, Indara, and Kelnacca stare at someone off camera in Star Wars: The Acolyte

The Acolyte promises to dig into Star Wars‘ previously unseen (in a live-action capacity, anyway) history. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Here’s The Acolyte‘s official, albeit brief story synopsis: “An investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems.”

Not much to go on, then, outside of the above and the fact that, as the trailer reveals, someone or something is seeking out Jedi and cutting them down in their prime. Thankfully, though, Headland and the series’ cast have been pretty open about some aspects of the show’s serialized plot (in a similar vein to Andor, Headland told Collider) and core themes, which Headland says will challenge fans’ perceptions of Star Wars lore.

First up, a bit of background on Star Wars: The Acolyte‘s setting: it takes place during The High Republic, circa 500 to 100 years before the events of The Phantom Menace. It’s a time that’s been explored extensively in Star Wars literature over the last few years, with Charles Soule’s January 2021 novel The Light of the Jedi leading the charge for numerous tales – across books, comics, short stories, and an audio drama – that take place during this period.

Billed as a mystery thriller, The Acolyte will bring the High Republic era into the live-action fold for the first time, and its cast and crew are certainly piquing our interest with what they’ve had to say about how it differentiates itself from previous Star Wars movies and shows.

READ ALSO 
Prime Video's Fallout series is getting high scores – here are 3 smart sci-fi shows to stream next

A masked Mae stands ready to fight with her throwing knives in Star Wars: The Acolyte

Mae (pictured) will be forced to reunite with her old Jedi Master to get to the bottom of The Acolyte‘s mystery. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Acolyte stands out because it is the earliest in the Star Wars timeline that we have ever been in live-action,” Leslye Headland told Entertainment Weekly’s [EW] Dagobah Dispatch podcast. “We are toward the end of the High Republic, leading into George [Lucas]’s prequels, so we are looking at a time period where the Jedi are at the height of their power… [and] there is peace throughout the galaxy. It was very challenging and interesting to make a Star Wars project with no war in it. So the question became ‘Well, what should the show be about if it’s not going to be about galactic conflict?'”

“It’s set 100 years before the prequel movies, and it’s kind of an explanation of how the Sith infiltrated the Jedi,” Keen exclusively told TechRadar in December 2022. “It’s a Sith-led story, which has never been done before.”

“It [The High Republic] is a time of great peace, theoretically,” Stenberg also explained to Magazine C. “It’s also a time of an institution… in which conceptions around the Force are very strict. What we’re trying to explore within our show is when an institution has a singular conception of how power can be used… we try to provide a lot of different perspectives and answers to that question.”

See more

Even more interesting is how Headland initially pitched the show to Lucasfilm, with the screenwriter calling it “Frozen meets Kill Bill“. The latter reference speaks to one of the best Quentin Tarantino movies and suggests it’ll contain numerous martial arts influences, from Akira Kurosawa to the Shaw Brothers’ Hong Kong actioners and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

As for the popular animated musical Frozen, aka one of our best Disney Plus movies, that’s a nod to a story that – like Star Wars: Ahsoka – is dominated by its female characters. Speaking to other Star Wars productions that influenced The Acolyte, Headland told IGN that The Clone Wars and, in particular, the series’ introduction of the Nightsisters had an impact. Is Turner-Smith’s Mother Aniseya a progenitor of said witch-based plan, then? “We don’t have any Nightsisters in this show,” she confirmed to IGN.

There are plenty of other inspirations that Headland handpicked to craft The Acolyte, too, including wuxia favorites like Come Drink With Me and samurai fare, such as Yojimbo.

Kelnacca stands alone in a forest looking down at something in Star Wars: The Acolyte

How will Kelnacca the Wookiee Jedi fit into the plot? (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

During the High Republic’s glory days, the Jedi’s eternal rivals – the Sith – have effectively passed into myth, much like the Jedi did in the original film trilogy. However, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that the Dark Side never truly goes away. The Acolyte, then, will effectively sow the seeds for fall of the Republic in the prequel movies, when Jedi complacency allows Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine to rise to power right under Yoda and Mace Windu’s noses.

“The High Republic is so golden in so many ways,” Headland told Vanity Fair. “The Jedi uniforms are gold and white, and it’s almost like they would never get dirty. The idea is that they could have these types of uniforms because that’s how little they’re getting into skirmishes. So, of course, my question is like, ‘Well, what else is going on?’ You can’t just end up with George [Lucas]’ Phantom Menace situation if everything is going well.

“It has to be going well at the expense of ‘What’? What is not being attended to? What are we turning a blind eye to that could lead to the rise of somebody like Palpatine about a century later? Yes, it’s one bad guy, but it’s one bad guy that completely undermines the entire system of government. A lot of other things must have been going on beneath the surface.”

A hooded Indara sees someone off camera while she sits in a diner in Star Wars: The Acolyte

The Jedi, Indara (pictured) included, have got their hands full in The Acolyte. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

In arguably the show’s most radical departure from traditional Star Wars, the so-called good guys won’t necessarily be the protagonists. In franchise lore, the term ‘acolyte’ has traditionally referred to followers of the Sith religion. And, as noted in a StarWars.com interview with Headland, The Acolyte will “upend the typical Jedi hero tale for a story focused on the dark side disrupting a Jedi Order in its prime.”

“I think that what makes this show different and interesting is that it’s from the perspective of the villains,” Headland told the Dagobah Dispatch podcast. “These are people who are using the Force in their own way, dipping into the darker sides of the Force and are doing it without being sanctioned by the larger institution, which, in this case, is the Jedi.”

READ ALSO  'Bluey' fans worry the hit TV show is about to end. A lot of money's at stake — and there are challenges ahead.

Expanding further, she told Entertainment Weekly (EW): “[It] seemed to be the most interesting trajectory for the Sith: How did the Sith go from the Rule of Two and being quote-unquote ‘extinct’ to Palpatine coming into power without the Jedi knowing about it?”

Mother Aniseya and her fellow coven welcome some characters to a building in Star Wars: The Acolyte

The Acolyte will feature a band of Force-sensitive Witches, but not the franchise’s iconic Nightsisters. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

There are also parallels with The Mandalorian, where traditional bad guys in the Empire are – like the Dark Siders in The Acolyte – the plucky outsiders battling against the establishment.

“If Star Wars is about the underdog versus the institution, [in The Acolyte] the Jedi are the institution,” Headland told StarWars.com. “I was so interested in a storyline where the Jedi were at the height of their power – and I don’t mean The Phantom Menace, because at that point, there’s a Sith Lord in the Senate that they’re not picking up on. If the bad guys are actually the underdog, it just seemed like a cool reversal.”

Outside of the usual Jedi, Sith, and galaxy-spanning races we’ve seen before, The Acolyte will also introduce elements from the Expanded Universe’s book-based lore – including the canonization of one species that’s yet to be seen in a live-action project; Headland teasing: “There are a couple of really big EU ideas that are utilized both early on in the series and later in the series”. Per IGN, fans are already speculating that it’ll either be the Bothans or the Yuuzhan Vong.

If you think you’ve got The Acolyte sussed out well in advance of its release, too, Headland has some words of wisdom for you. “This is very incendiary,” she said. “But whatever you think The Acolyte is, it’s not that. It’s a drop in the bucket”. Expect The Acolyte to be like nothing you’ve seen before in the Star Wars franchise, then.

The Acolyte: Star Wars shows to watch before its arrival

Grogu looks up at Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 2

The Mandalorian is one of many great shows to stream on Disney Plus. (Image credit: Disney)

Given its High Republic era setting, there are no Star Wars movies shows you need to watch before The Acolyte launches, which will come as a relief to those who don’t want lots of homework to do.

Still, if you want some likeminded content to stream – some of them are among the best Disney Plus shows – check out one or more of the below:

  • The Mandalorian – set between Star Wars Episode VI and Episode VII, this space western sees Pedro Pascal’s lone gunslinger becomes a surrogate father to ‘baby Yoda’, a child of the legendary Jedi’s alien race, who is apparently vital importance to a Machiavellian scheme concocted by the Galactic Empire’s remnants. All three seasons are available now.
  • Star Wars: Ahsoka – running alongside The Mandalorian, this live-action sequel to Star Wars: Rebels sees the fan-favorite Togruta Force wielder reunite with her Rebels allies to try and thwart a menacing Empire general’s return. Stream season 1 and then read our Star Wars: Ahsoka ending explainer to see how it impacts the future of Star Wars.
  • The Book of Boba Fett – the weakest of Lucasfilms’ live-action shows, Boba Fett’s standalone show sees the iconic bounty hunter navigate the galaxy’s seedy underworld as he attempts to replace Jabba the Hutt as Tattooine’s number one crime lord. All seven episodes are available on Disney Plus.

Will there be more than one season of The Acolyte?

See more

That’s unclear right now, but Headland told Collider she pitched The Acolyte as a multi-season show, and that work could begin on a sequel “pretty quickly” if a season 2 announcement is forthcoming. So, providing critics, diehard fans, and newcomers like it and enough people watch it, Disney and Lucasfilm should greenlight at least one more season.

If it ends up being one and done, though, Headland is also confident that The Acolyte will set up events for future Star Wars projects. “I’m just the kind of person where I want to make sure a season feels like a legitimately whole story,” she told IGN. “I definitely pepper in a lot of like ‘Here’s how it could go this way, it could go that way.’

“I want to leave them hanging narratively but emotionally, I want them to feel like they’ve watched a whole thing, and then still have a bunch of questions at the end like ‘Wait, now that I’ve learned this relationship exists, what’s going to happen with those people?’ and ‘Now that this person has this type of power, what are we going to do about that?’, so I think it can definitely have some of that [longevity].”


For more Star Wars-based content, read our guide on all of the new Star Wars TV shows and movies. Alternatively, read up on everything we know about Star Wars: Skeleton Crew and Andor season 2, which are also in development.

Source



Pls share this post
Previous article
Netflix’s Succession-esque new show, A Man in Full, gets its first mysterious trailer
Next articleThe looming office-real-estate crash will be worse than the Global Financial Crisis decline, Fitch says