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Disney+'s The Acolyte - Everything You Need To Know

It's an exciting time to be a "Star Wars" fan. While the cinematic side of things has slowed down considerably, Disney and Lucasfilm have been creating some truly fantastic TV shows. We've got series like "The Mandalorian," "Obi-Wan Kenobi," "The Book of Boba Fett," and "Andor." We're also all pretty psyched about upcoming projects like "Ahsoka" and "Skeleton Crew." But perhaps the most intriguing show on the "Star Wars" slate is one that will take fans to a time they've never seen on-screen before.

First announced at Disney Investor Day in 2020, "The Acolyte" will take place during the High Republic, an era never before depicted in a "Star Wars" movie or TV show. But what exactly is "The Acolyte" about? Who will star, who's running the show, and who exactly is that enigmatic title referring to? Well, if you want to know more about this mysterious, intriguing new project, read on for everything we know about "The Acolyte."

When will The Acolyte be released?

We know a whole lot about "The Acolyte" — read on to learn more about the stacked cast and the show's incredibly cool plot — but we don't know when this "Star Wars" project will hit Disney+. At the moment, there's no date for the series' premiere. However, it was announced in November 2022 via the "Star Wars" Twitter account that the show had begun filming.

So when will "The Acolyte" his Disney+? Well, we still have to wait a little bit. During the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in March 2023, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke about the upcoming "Star Wars" show, saying, "Just last night, I got a clip of a 'Star Wars' series that's going to air on Disney+ in 2024 called 'The Acolyte,' that looks brilliant." Iger's statement was confirmed at London's Star Wars Celebration convention, when it was announced the series would be released sometime in 2024.

What is the plot of The Acolyte?

"The Acolyte" is taking us to a long time ago — a long, long time ago. The series will be set in the days of the High Republic, 100 years before the events of "The Phantom Menace." We'll be seeing the Republic in its glory days, before Darth Sidious and Darth Vader brought it crumbling to its knees. Things are seemingly going so well that the Jedi spend their time walking around in white and gold outfits (via Vanity Fair), perfectly pristine because they never have to go out and battle any bad guys. The Sith are seemingly gone, and everything appears to be perfect.

But wouldn't you know it? Into this galactic utopia, something wicked this way comes. According to the show's official synopsis (via The Verge), "'The Acolyte' is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated."

Needless to say, we strongly suspect these sinister forces might have something to do with a group that rhymes with "Smith." After all, the word "acolyte" refers to a dedicated disciple. And as Vanity Fair pointed out in their profile on "Acolyte" showrunner Leslye Headland, "Its primary definition is someone who assists a religious leader in the performance of a ritual. In 'Star Wars' lore, practitioners of the dark side always worked in pairs — a master and an apprentice." "Acolyte" actress Dafne Keen basically confirmed this with TechRadar. As the young "His Dark Materials" star put it, "['The Acolyte' is] kind of an explanation of how the Sith infiltrated the Jedi. It's a Sith-led story, which has never been done before."

In that aforementioned Vanity Fair article, Headland explained that if you wanted to do a series about a period in time "when the bad guys are wildly outnumbered" and where you could get their unique underdog POV, the High Republic would be the perfect era to do it. So we're expecting a lot of emphasis on the villains hiding in the shadows. We also expect the show to draw from both inspiration from both Japanese action films and animated Disney classics. Speaking at London's Star Wars Celebration convention, Headland described the series as "'Frozen' meets 'Kill Bill.'"

How does that work exactly? As Headland explained to IGN, the "Kill Bill" part means the series will be drawing on martial arts movies as inspiration. As for the "Frozen" angle, Headland said, "So much of ['Frozen'] was about the sister relationship, so much of it was about the villain actually being a powerful, misunderstood woman."

Who is starring in The Acolyte?

Whether it's Pedro Pascal in "The Mandalorian," Rosario Dawson in "Ahsoka," or Jude Law in "Skeleton Crew," the "Star Wars" TV shows spare no expense when it comes to hiring great actors and assembling awesome casts. The same goes for "The Acolyte," which boasts an impressive group of actors from across the globe and who've played in everything from high-profile TV shows to major blockbusters.

First up, we've got Amandla Stenberg, who broke out as Rue in "The Hunger Games" before playing in titles like "The Hate U Give" and "Bodies Bodies Bodies." From everything we've heard, it very much seems like she'll be the lead character, alongside Lee Jung-jae and Manny Jacinto. Fans of "The Good Place" know Jacinto best for his lovable turn as Jason Mendoza, and anyone who's watched "Squid Game" will instantly recognize Lee, as he portrayed underdog Seong Gi-hun (Player 456).

They'll be joined by the one and only Carrie-Anne Moss, who played the leather-clad freedom fighter Trinity in all four "Matrix" films. We know she'll be portraying a Jedi Master here, and based on footage played at London's Star Wars Celebration convention, we know she'll be getting into a martial arts-inspired lightsaber duel with Stenberg's character. Dafne Keen of "Logan" and "His Dark Materials," Jodie Turner-Smith of "Without Remorse," Charlie Barnett and Rebecca Henderson of "Russian Doll," Dean-Charles Chapman of "Game of Thrones," and Margarita Levieva of "The Deuce" have also joined the cast. Plus, new Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo will play a Jedi Wookiee, so we're pretty psyched about that.

Who is the showrunner of The Acolyte?

When it comes to "Star Wars" TV, showrunner Leslye Headland is an expert in both fields — "Star Wars" and TV. When it comes to the latter, Headland is the co-creator of one of Netflix's very best shows, the timey-wimey, deeply philosophical, equally hilarious and tragic "Russian Doll." And when it comes to "Star Wars," she certainly knows her stuff, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy telling Vanity Fair, "She is a gigantic 'Star Wars' fan. What's wonderful about Leslye is she knows it all. ... She's read a gazillion books inside the [Extended Universe]."

In the same Vanity Fair profile, Headland proved her bona fides, explaining, "I was coming at ['The Acolyte'] as a fan who was much more into the RPG [role-playing games] that the Extended Universe feeds on. I came hard at that in the '90s, and then got introduced to 'The Clone Wars.' I knew the timeline really well." With her TV and "Star Wars" background, we're sure that Headland will be able to craft a sci-fi thriller heavy on mystery and lore and one that will be a great TV introduction to the era of the High Republic.

Who is directing The Acolyte?

When it comes to the Sith, there are always two — no more, no less. When it comes to the directors of "The Acolyte," they get one extra. The series is currently being helmed by three different directors, starting with showrunner Leslye Headland. And she'll be joined by two prominent craftsmen, each of whom are bringing very different sensibilities to the series.

First up, Headland will be joined by Kogonada. While he doesn't have a ton of credits, Kogonada has already proven himself to be an auteur to watch. After crafting a series of well-respected video essays, Kogonada silently impressed critics with "Columbus," a beautiful drama about architecture and human connections starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson. Then Kogonada really planted his flag with "After Yang," a heartbreaking sci-fi drama starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith and one of the best films of 2022. He's also had TV experience, directing several episodes of Apple TV+'s "Pachinko."

The third director lined up for "The Acolyte" is Alex Garcia Lopez, who's had a ton of TV experience. He's probably most famous directing the Season 3 episode of "Daredevil" titled "Blindsided," where we witness a one-shot, 11-minute fight sequence. So we've got a hunch that Lopez will deliver on the lightsaber goods when it comes to "Star Wars." In addition to that epic fight sequence, Lopez has also worked on notable series such as "The Witcher," "Fear the Walking Dead," "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," and Netflix's "Cowboy Bebop."