Video Interviews

The Acolyte Cast on New Lightsabers and Droids

Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, executive producer Leslye Headland, and the rest of the cast talk about the influences behind the new Star Wars series, developing their characters, and more.

by | May 31, 2024 | Comments

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As any Star Wars fan will tell you, the franchise is vast and rife with storytelling opportunities, so while we’ve gotten a lot of mileage — some might even say a bit too much — out of the Skywalker Saga, there are plenty of others to explore. One of those stories comes to us via The Acolyte, a new tale set at the end of the High Republic era, about a century prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The story focuses on a former Jedi master’s investigation into a series of murders, which brings him back into contact with a former protégé and a new threat.

Ahead of the series’ June 4 premiere on Disney+, RT correspondent Perri Nemiroff sat down with stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Rebecca Henderson, Jodie Turner-Smith, Charlie Barnett, and executive producer Leslye Headland to talk about the series, sharing details on new lightsabers, droids, and more.

Perri Nemiroff for Rotten Tomatoes: More often than not, when it comes to live-action Star Wars, we’re used to learning new things about the Jedi via the Skywalker era. You veer towards the High Republic; why did you make that choice and what new layers do you add to the Jedi by approaching it from that specific time period?

Leslye Headland: That’s a great question. I think that the time period we’re in, which is between the High Republic and the prequels, find the Jedi at a point in their power where they are completely unchallenged and they’re getting into a place of safety. They’re the guardians of peace and justice throughout the galaxy, and they’re doing a very good job of that, if I do say so myself. A threat like [Amandla Stenberg’s] Mae is something they’re not prepared for. It’s something that, as high through the ranks as [Rebecca Henderson’s] Vernestra Rwoh, they have to essentially take care of it and not let the general public know that they are vulnerable in that particular way.

What I thought was really rife for drama was how does an institution, even a good one, respond to a small threat, but a serious one at that? So that seemed like fertile ground for me in storytelling.

Watch the video for the full interview with Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Rebecca Henderson, Jodie Turner-Smith, Charlie Barnett, and Leslye Headland.

Star Wars: The Acolyte: Season 1 (2024) premieres on Disney+ on June 4, 2024.

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