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I Disney+ I June 4, 2024 I

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90 %

* As of 6/10/24

Starring:  Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Charlie Barnett, Dafne Keen, Rebecca Henderson, Jodie Turner-Smith, Carrie-Anne Moss, Manny Jacinto, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo

Creator: Leslye Headland

In “Star Wars: The Acolyte,” an investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems…


RATING 3.5 out of 5

The Acolyte brings a new era of the Star Wars universe to life with a strong start to the latest Disney+ series that promises lots of mystery, strong performances and exciting storytelling that harkens back to the experience of watching Star Wars for the first time.


All the movies and television series that we have seen to date in the Star Wars universe have been surrounding the Skywalker Saga. There’s been a tie to the events of the main films in the series that have dictated the stories being told adjacent to them, and while there have been some great stories told in these spinoff projects, they have been restricted as to the narrative swings they could take by events beyond the writers’ control. But that is not the case with The Acolyte, which allows the series to capture the amazement, wonder and stakes of the original trilogy thanks to its freedom from the previous entries in the franchise.  Set approximately one hundred years before the events of The Phantom Menace, the series explores a world where the Jedi are abundant and acting as the guardians of the galaxy. There is an inherent peace within the galaxy, but it’s threatened when the Jedi begin to be hunted down by an unknown dangerous adversary with a connection to a former Jedi padawan. 

Over the first four episodes, show runner Leslye Headland begins to build her larger murder mystery thriller with the introduction of the new characters, new worlds, and an intriguing plot. There is an excitement and wonder to the world that Headland has crafted, bringing back to that sense of wonder that the original trilogy created, and it’s the first project since Revenge of the Sith that truly allows fans to see the full Jedi Order in full force. There are stakes for the characters, as none of them have a predetermined fate dictated by other projects, which brings a sense of danger to the action sequences which feature great fight choreography, most notably the fight sequence featuring Carrie-Anne Moss which feels reminiscent of The Matrix but with a lightsaber. The story itself has lots of potential, with each episode revealing a new piece of information that teases a larger story at work that ends with a big cliffhanger in the fourth episode. While it’s not the best Star Wars show to date, as that honour still belongs without question to Andor, it’s the most hopeful I have felt about a Star Wars project in a while.


Much like other entries in the franchise, The Acolyte looks visually great, placing an emphasis on practical effects where possible to bring to life these far off planets. There is a truly episodic feeling to the show, from the way it is written to the staging of scenes in the show, but with a good cast, this feels like premium television. Amandla Stenberg is excellent in the dual roles of Mae and Osha, capturing the yin and yang dichotomy of her characters. As Osha, Stenberg captures the hopeful young woman looking to make her way in the galaxy after leaving the Jedi Order, while as Mae she crafts a conflicted and complex antagonist that is as intriguing as she is dangerous. Dafne Keen is great as Jecki Lon, a Jedi padawan; while Charlie Barnett and Lee Jung-jae are pitch perfect as their two Jedi knights. Each actor does strong work to create these new and memorable characters, that even over the course of four episodes, create a strong connection with the audience to help raise the emotional stakes of this series. 

The first four episodes of The Acolyte feels like a return to classic Star Wars. With a new time setting, the franchise truly gets to breathe and play with its world building and storytelling to create an exciting plot. Lesyle Headland and her creative team do a great job of building the mystery surrounding the villain lurking in the shadows orchestrating the deaths of the Jedi knights, setting up an intriguing murder mystery set within the Star Wars universe lead by the outstanding Amandla Stenberg, promising a new hope for the beloved franchise that harkens back to its roots with the first four episodes of The Acolyte that has me excited to see what the latter half of the season has in store.

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