Disney+ ‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’ Inspired by Martial Arts, And Told From Villains’ POV

Star Wars: The Acolyte is ready to shake up both the galaxy and fans.

For as long as fans cans remember, Star Wars works have always been told from the perspectives of its heroes. Fans usually play the games and watch the movies as heroes and individuals who are trying to make the galaxy a better place in some way, shape or form. Well, that’s about to change.

the acolyte

According to Star Wars: The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland, the upcoming Disney+ series will be told from the perspective of the bad guys and delve into a relatively untapped era in Star Wars history.

“The truth is that I, as a major mega fan, came to them with this idea,” said Headland. “And I said, ‘I think the best place to put this is in an era you guys have not quite explored yet.’ They were very enthusiastic. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to explore that [existing] world, but I think that they already were because The Mandalorian and a lot of the other television projects were really relying on legacy characters.”

The Acolyte is confirmed to be set 100 years before the Prequel Trilogy and will star Amandla Stenberg during the era of the High Republic.

“I was coming at it as a fan who was much more into the RPG that the Extended Universe feeds on,” said Headland. “I knew the timeline really well. And I was like, ‘I think if you want to explore Star Wars from the perspective of the bad guys, the best time to do it is when the bad guys are wildly outnumbered. When they actually are essentially the underdogs, for lack of a better term.’ So this would be that era.”

Headland takes inspiration from 1991’s Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn and much of the expanded universe. She also tapped into more personal stories and reflected on the cinematic influences that went into the creation of Star Wars, including Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films.

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“I actually went more toward martial arts films, and storylines that are a little bit more personal and less global and galactic,” Headland said. “Those warriors were on missions that were deeply personal, with people feeling wronged and having to make it right. 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.”

What parts of the EU will be incorporated reamins to be seen, but The Acolyte gives Headland plenty of room to work with. Not working with legacy characters also took away a bit of the pressure that came with working on a Star Wars project.

“You could not pay me enough money to try to be in the Luke Skywalker timeline,” Headland laughed. “There’s too much iconography and intensity with those particular characters … I think I’m telling a story that’s more about a timeline we don’t know much about. Let’s hang out here for a little bit and check out what Star Wars looks like when the good guys are actually in charge. What happens? We know what it eventually leads to, so let’s explore. What are the holes that we can poke into what happened?”

No premiere date has been announced for the show, but fans can look forward to Star Wars: Andor, The Mandalorian Season 3, and Ahsoka in the meantime, all of which have been given release windows.