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Disney+'s The Acolyte Release Date, Cast And Plot - What We Know So Far

At Disney's Investor Day, the company made the surprising announcement that they were moving away from the Star Wars franchise. Just kidding! They actually announced more new properties in the Star Wars universe than you can shake a sonic mine at. One of the most intriguing of those new additions is an upcoming Disney+ series titled The Acolyte.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced the series during her presentation at the event, where she revealed it as one of several new shows set within the Star Wars universe. The series is coming courtesy of Leslye Headland, the co-creator of acclaimed Netflix time loop series Russian Doll, and was described by Kennedy as a "mystery-thriller that will take us into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era."

Those were the only details viewers got about the upcoming series. However, as with all things Star Wars, even just a few kernels of information can tell us a lot. Here's everything we know so far about The Acolyte.

Do we know when The Acolyte will release on Disney+?

During Kennedy's presentation, The Acolyte was one of several series that only got a brief tease. No information about how far along the production currently is, or when fans can expect to see it, was given.

There is one piece of information we do have about the production of The Acolyte that can help us take a stab at guessing about a possible release window. Before the title and premise were announced at Disney Investor Day, the show was known only as a new Disney+ live-action Star Wars spin-off series being developed by Headland. In an April 2020 report, Variety noted that their sources said the show was in the process of staffing. That's not a ton of information, but it does let us know that production of the series has likely been underway since the first half of 2020. However, it's probably still early days.

Without any other information to go by, it's hard to predict exactly when The Acolyte will premiere on Disney+. However, based on the little we do know, we expect the series to premiere in 2022 at the earliest.

Expect the cast of The Acolyte to be led by women

Similar to a release date, Kennedy didn't drop any specific information about casting for The Acolyte during her presentation. At the time of writing, no rumors or speculation about casting has leaked, either. But there are two clues we do have about what the cast of the series might end up looking like.

First, when the existence of The Acolyte was first revealed by Variety, they noted that insider sources described the show as "female-centric." Those familiar with Headland's previous work won't be surprised to hear that, as her movies and TV shows often focus on the lives of women. Of course, "female-centric" is a very broad definition, but it does tell us to expect more female characters than some other properties in the franchise. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled to see if any actresses who have appeared in Headland's other work, such as Natasha Lyonne, Kirsten Dunst, Greta Lee, Lizzy Caplan, or Isla Fisher, end up in The Acolyte.

Another orienting piece of information is the fact that the series takes place "in the final days of the High Republic Era." This doesn't necessarily tell us who might be cast in the series, but considering that timeline means the show is set several hundred years before the era of the movies or The Mandalorian, it does limit the characters who we might see cross over from other parts of the franchise.

The Acolyte may explore the origins of an influential Sith lord

Now, when it comes to the plot of The Acolyte, there is some speculation to be done. The logline given by Kennedy at the Disney Investor Day presentation is the only official information we have about the series, but because Star Wars has such a deep well of lore, we can do some extrapolating.

One thing that marks the High Republic Era that the series takes place during is that, according to Wookiepedia, it was a "golden age for the Jedi." Given that the series is purported to take place at the end of that era, and that it's billed as a "mystery-thriller" that delves into "shadowy secrets" and "emerging dark side powers," some have speculated that the show might feature the rise of the Sith.

Den of Geek noted that the timeline of the series could point to it featuring Darth Plagueis. Plagueis was a powerful Sith lord who is perhaps best known for mentoring Darth Sidious — better known these days as Emperor Palpatine — who eventually killed his master. Palpatine himself is too young to overlap with the High Republic Era, but depending on how Disney hammers out the canon timeline, there's the possibility that the final days of the High Republic Era would coincide with the early years of Darth Plagueis' life. It's certainly a fascinating prospect.

Beyond that, we're still mostly in the dark when it comes to The Acolyte. But the series' teased dark tone, intriguing choice of showrunner, and historic setting should have Star Wars fans amped.