First Female ‘Star Wars’ Showrunner Gives NEW Series Details

in Star Wars

rey the last jedi on ahch-to

Credit: Lucasfilm

The 2020 Disney Investor Day event featured incredibly exciting announcements from all of The Walt Disney Company’s brands, but perhaps no fandom received more thrilling news than the Star Wars community. In addition to confirming upcoming feature films — such as Patty Jenkins’s Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (2023) and Taika Waititi’s upcoming Star Wars movie — Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy shared details about nearly a dozen new Disney+ streaming series, including Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte.

the acolyte kathleen kennedy disney investor day
Credit: Disney Investor Day Livestream

Related: The Rise of Darth Plagueis Could Be Coming to Disney+ 

The original Tweet about the project reads:

Leslye Headland brings a new @StarWars series to @DisneyPlus with The Acolyte. “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.

Related: ‘Star Wars’: Every Movie, TV Series, and Disney Plus Project

Headland (Russian Doll) previously teased that her series would explore an era of Star Wars that had previously been untouched, and now she’s opening up about writing The Acolyte. In an interview with AV Club, Headland shared:

“So that was what I really wanted—an active conversation between my writers and myself, and not so much a room full of people that would kind of just automatically agree with what I say. Which is good sometimes; sometimes it’s nice to have everybody love my pitch. It’s not Star Wars, but I think a lot about [Jean-Luc] Picard, and the way that he would utilize his crew and say, “What do you guys think? Any suggestions? What should we do next?” And kind of hearing the debates and the sort of Socratic conversation that would result. I wanted to put the room together in that way. That also means hiring people that are not necessarily the die-hard, cutthroat fan that I am when it comes to Star Wars stuff. It is weird to be the person who’s going, “Well, in 325 BBY,” and everyone’s like, “What are you talking about?” “Hold on, I’ll send you a link.” Everyone’s like, “Should that be another person that’s doing that? Why is the showrunner doing that?” And I’m like, “Here’s a picture, this is what he looks like.””

star wars a new hope (l-r han solo, leia organa, luke skywalker)
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Although Headland didn’t provide many specific details about what fans can expect in The Acolyte, she made clear that Star Wars creator George Lucas’s original trilogy — and even his subsequent Star Wars projects, like the prequel trilogy and animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars — are heavily influencing the development of her upcoming Star Wars show:

“We’re all just following in George’s footsteps. He is such a deep worshiper of film, and not just the medium of film, but the history of film and the way film has been used, and all the different genres that he infused the original trilogy with is something that only he can do. He was such a believer of “film as tone poem,” that it only makes sense that people who are doing their own side stories or their own series or their own standalones. It makes sense that they’re kind of taking one aspect that he may have been interested in, or are taking inspiration from and infusing it into their particular content.”

rey and bb8 on jakku
Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

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Interestingly enough, Headland also shared that she and her team have taken inspiration from a somewhat surprising source — Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the sequel trilogy.

Lucas famously did not have nearly as much say in Disney’s sequels as he expected, so it will certainly be intriguing to see how The Acolyte blends the Star Wars creator’s passion for a galaxy far, far away with Rey’s legacy for young girls. Headland shared:

“I do think it’s different now, at least from when I was younger. I saw a video of a little girl dressed up as Rey at Disney World or Disneyland or whatever it was.,,That level of coding of “girls can be Jedis as well,” that’s just something that wasn’t necessarily available to me when I was that age. Now, I didn’t necessarily need a female Jedi character in order to feel like a Jedi or to play with it within the confines of my own imagination. But I will say, watching it now, I wish I’d had that.”

force healing kylo rey rise of skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

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As the first female showrunner on a Star Wars series, Headland is forging a new path within the Star Wars universe. Even though she didn’t outline specific details of The Acolyte — or provide us with a release date for the mysterious show — we now know more about what we can expect from the script, and where the team behind this dark side-themed series is drawing their inspiration.

darth plagueis
Credit: Screenshot via Amazon

Related: Lucas: Boba Fett Is “an Early Version of Darth Vader”

There have been a number of rumors that The Acolyte could potentially feature the rise of Darth Plagueis. Plagueis was Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious’s Sith Master and murder victim. Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine mentioned him to Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy. Headland obviously didn’t confirm this, but it is a theory that many fans would love to see come to life when The Acolyte eventually premieres.

For now, Star Wars fans can catch new episodes of Dave Filoni’s Star Wars: The Bad Batch on Disney+ every Friday and can look forward to The Mandalorian Season 3, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, and more in 2022.

(l to r) jon favreau, dave filoni, and george lucas
Credit: Disney+ (Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian)

Related: Dave Filoni Just Foreshadowed Grogu and The Mandalorian

Are you looking forward to The Acolyte? What do you think the main character will be like?

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