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STAR WARS: The Acoly...

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STAR WARS: The Acolyte – Is The Force Strong With This One?

After a string of successful productions, such as The Mandalorian, Andor, Ashoka and Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the year that marks the 25th anniversary of Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Disney releases a new series from the galaxy far, far away. It's called The Acolyte and it takes viewers to the time of the High Republic, around 100 years before the Trade Federation starts a blockade of the planet Naboo. It shouldn't come as a surprise then, that expecting well known characters or direct references to the six George Lucas' films is rather in vain. But that is a quite unlikely reason why the upcoming series have met with a strong backlash from many Star Wars fans. What is actually going on then and can this production really be the fallen one?

Some facts find out you will

The Acolyte is an 8-episode TV series that premieres on Disney+ with the first two episodes on 4 June 2024. It tells a story of a Jedi Master who confronts his former Padawan during a criminal investigation which reveals some terrifying sinister forces (most likely the Sith) rising in the Republic. The cast of the series features: Lee Jung-jae (Netflix series Squid Game), Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), Manuel Jacinto (Top Gun: Maverick), Dafne Keen Fernández (Logan), Dean-Charles Chapman (HBO series Game Of Thrones), Charlie Barnett (Netflix series You and Russian Doll) and Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix film series). Joonas Suotamo, who replaced Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episodes VII – IX and Solo: A Star Wars Story, returns as a different Wookie character.

The trailer with midi-chlorian deficiency

Well, The Acolyte first trailer doesn't spark the excitement one would expect from a new Star Wars production. It is actually rather dull. The fighting sequences remind more of The Matrix than SW – but let's not blame Carrie-Ann for that. The coolest moment comes at the end when a flying red lightsaber cuts through trees, still that doesn't save the day.

Disney boasted that the trailer got 51.3 million views within the first 24 hours since its release, surpassing the popularity of trailers for all the other Star Wars series, and setting a new record for a Lucasfilm's Disney+ production. However, it is also vital to notice here that the number of negative reactions surpassed the positive ones, with malicious comments and cruel memes pushing The Acolyte right into the Sarlacc pit, yet before its premiere.

HEADing for a LeslyeLAND

You just have to have the confidence to walk in there and pretend like you know how to do it. I'm telling you guys like the truth. That's how I made my first film. That was like: I know what's going on – I didn't at all and I think it shows. That is how Leslye Headland – the creator, showrunner and director of the first 2 episodes of The Acolyte, remembers her breakthrough in showbusiness. Unfortunately, many Star Wars fans believe that is also how she got her piece in their beloved movie franchise.

Leslye took her first steps in the business as an assistant at Miramax. Eventually she became a personal assistant of the company's co-founder – Harvey Weinstein, a former film producer and currently a convicted notorious sex offender, who inspired the #MeToo campaign in social media. Later she forged her experience into a play called Assistance – denying, however, ever being assaulted or witnessing any wrongdoing of her former boss. Even though her Weinstein connection doesn't make her a bad person, nor a bad producer or director, SW enthusiasts eagerly highlight that time of her professional career instead of talking about her as a writer, producer and director of movies such as Bachelorette or Sleeping With Other People and a Netflix TV series Russian Doll.

Frozen meets Kill Bill

Perhaps the fans would focus more on her achievements in the TV and movie business if it hadn't been for her statement, describing The Acolyte as Frozen meets Kill Bill (and it wasn't a joke). Adding to her credibility as a Star Wars series showrunner, when asked about her favorite movie in the franchise, she replied: There is no Star Wars movie, there is only Star Wars. OK, one can assume that she might have problems with expressing her thoughts, turning them eventually into such misfortunate verbal form. Still it's hard to ignore that talking about The Acolyte on many different occasions, she is quite self-centered, addressing directly her own experiences as a gay female viewer, and focused on diversity and feminism much to Kathleen Kennedy's delight. No wonder then that the unhappy Star Wars fans question the motivation behind her involvement in the Lucasfilm flagship project, suggesting that in her case it's rather an agenda over a good SW story.

Ask Elon Musk

What is going on seems to be more absurd than fiction. Elon Musk responded on X to Leslye Headland's vision of Star Wars in The Acolyte by writing: Reality is actually crazier than the South Park parody!

That was a reference to a South Park episode titled Joining The Panderverse, where the Cartman-esque version of the Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy tampers with Disney's productions by forcing characters representing minorities.

Star Wars has always been about the fight of good with evil, the Jedi, the Sith, lightsabers and the force – that's what we are used to and that's what we expect. Is it really the right platform for political correctness and activism? Let's hope that reality will eventually turn out to be as normal as the classic galaxy far, far away. May the Headland menace turn into a PR disaster that clouded our minds before The Acolyte premiere, and may we find out the Force is actually strong with this one.


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