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Disney+'s The Acolyte Cast, Showrunner, Director, Plot And More Details

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 be set 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 how exactly does it fit into the "Star Wars" story? 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 definitive 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 do we have a rough idea of when "The Acolyte" will hit Disney+?

Well, 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 that same year, when it was announced the series would be released sometime in 2024.

What is the plot of The Acolyte?

"The Acolyte" takes place 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 Phantom Menace." We'll be seeing the Republic in its glory days, where the Jedi spend their time walking around in white-and-gold outfits, perfectly pristine because they never have to battle any bad guys. The Sith are seemingly gone, there's no actual war raging amongst the stars, and everything appears to be perfect.

Of course, that utopia isn't going to last. According to the show's official synopsis, "'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."

We're willing to bet these sinister forces have something to do with a group that rhymes with "Smith." In fact, "Acolyte" actress Dafne Keen basically confirmed this with TechRadar, saying the show "is kind of an exploration of how the Sith infiltrated the Jedi. It's a Sith-led story, which has never been done before." Similarly, showrunner Leslye Headland told Entertainment Weekly, "I think what makes this show different and interesting is that it's from the perspective of the villains of 'Star Wars.'" In other words, it looks like we might be viewing the Jedi — who've grown very complacent — through the eyes of the Sith (likely the titular acolyte), and we might just come to understand why they want to unleash the dark side on the galaxy.

Who is starring in The Acolyte?

Whether it's Pedro Pascal in "The Mandalorian" or Rosario Dawson in "Ahsoka," "Star Wars" TV shows spare no expense when it comes to hiring great actors. The same goes for "The Acolyte," which boasts an impressive group of stars from across the globe.

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." It seems like she'll be the lead character, and she'll be playing someone with her own unique moral code. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Stenberg said, "It's a really interesting time in the galaxy. Because there are no wars, we get to lean into the underdogs and the moral ambiguity of these characters. And so I have the opportunity of playing something that holds a lot of moral and ethical conflict, which I think is my favorite part of 'Star Wars.'"

Stenberg will be joined by Manny Jacinto of "The Good Place" and Lee Jung-jae of "Squid Game," with the Korean star playing a Jedi Master. They'll be working alongside the one and only Carrie-Anne Moss, who portrayed Trinity in all four "Matrix" films. She'll also 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. It's been reported that YouTuber Abigail Thorn will appear, 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 two extra. The series is currently being helmed by four different directors, starting with showrunner Leslye Headland. And she'll be joined by three prominent creatives, each of whom are bringing very different sensibilities to the series.

First up, there's Kogonada, who's 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 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." 

Last but not least, expect to see the directorial work of Hanelle M. Culpepper, who's well-versed with the other sci-fi "Star" franchise, having helmed episodes of "Star Trek: Picard" and "Star Trek: Discovery." Plus, she's also worked on shows like "Westworld," "The Flash," and "Castle."

What kind of action can we expect in The Acolyte?

Speaking at London's Star Wars Celebration convention in 2023, showrunner Leslye Headland described "The Acolyte" as "'Frozen' meets 'Kill Bill.'" That's quite the elevator pitch, but what does it mean? In regards to the "Frozen" angle, Headland explained to IGN, "So much of ['Frozen'] was about the sister relationship, so much of it was about the villain actually being a powerful, misunderstood woman." That's no doubt in reference to Amandla Stenberg's mysterious lead character, but what did Headland mean with the "Kill Bill" reference?

Well, Headland explained the series will be drawing on martial arts movies, and she elaborated on this with Vanity Fair, explaining she loves the warriors of "wuxia films and martial arts films from King Hu and the Shaw Brothers, like 'Come Drink With Me' and 'Touch of Zen.' They're monks that are also martial arts heroes." In fact, this emphasis on action has been a key talking point for the cast and crew so far. "I can say this pretty confidently," Headland told Entertainment Weekly, "I don't think you're going to see action in other shows the way that you see it utilized in our show." 

Think that's bold talk? Well, speaking with EW, "Acolyte" star Manny Jacinto compared the lightsaber battles in the upcoming series to one of the franchise's most famous sword fights. "If you loved that sequence with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Darth Maul," the actor said, "I think you're going to enjoy this show."

Star Charlie Barnett added the series will feature "a lot more tangible physical moves" than traditionally seen in a "Star Wars" property. Co-star Dafne Keen also promised the lightsaber moves will be drawing from real life, telling EW, "All of the fight training that we've gone through is so heavily influenced by samurai." Perhaps most interestingly, it looks like there won't be many blasters in the series, as the characters all prefer to do their fighting with lightsabers.