As Disney Cuts Back on ‘Star Wars’ Content, New Series Gets Unusually Late Release Window

in Disney, Entertainment, Star Wars


Credit: Lucasfilm

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the galaxy far, far away, with plenty of upcoming projects on Lucasfilm’s slate. The Rosario Dawson-led Star Wars spinoff, Ahsoka, lands on Disney+ in a matter of weeks, followed closely by Jude Law’s Skeleton Crew. After that, the release schedule remains somewhat of a mystery, though we might’ve just received a premiere window for one of the franchise’s more mysterious projects: Star Wars: The Acolyte.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: New ‘Star Wars’ Series Takes Inspiration From ‘The Phantom Menace’

Hollywood is currently at a standstill due to the historic WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, with writers and actors withholding labor until a fair deal can be worked out with the major studios. This results from long-brewing issues within the entertainment industry, made only worse by the pandemic, which has since plummeted companies such as Disney, Netflix, and Warner Bros. Discovery into financial turmoil.

In an effort to pinch pennies, some studios have started removing original content from their streaming services, with the most egregious offender being Disney. But there are some sound reasons behind the company’s historic content purge. For one, following Marvel Studios’ unprecedented success thanks to the widely-loved Infinity Saga, Disney made the perhaps unwise decision to focus heavily on superhero content when it came time to debut their new streamer, Disney+, in 2019.

Credit: Disney

Related: ‘The Acolyte’ Creator Reveals That Jedi are the Real Villains in Star Wars

This new wave of Marvel TV shows, on top of the success of the first live-action Star Wars show, The Mandalorian, encouraged then-CEO Bob Chapek to order dozens of new MCU and Star Wars series, to mixed results. Despite rare winners such as the Emmy-winning WandaVision and the Rogue One (2016) prequel Andor, Disney was accused of essentially putting quantity over quality with these numerous projects, leading returning CEO Bob Iger to make some big changes.

Earlier this month, Iger revealed that there would be a pullback in content spending and creation for the Star Wars and Marvel franchises as part of their ongoing cost-cutting initiative, with the brand hoping to slash upwards of $5.5 billion in costs. But before the studio can start axing any upcoming projects, there’s still a bevy of new Star Wars content that has already been announced, including showrunner Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte.

Credit: Star Wars Celebration 2023

Perhaps the most mysterious project currently on Lucasfilm’s roster, The Acolyte stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, and Jodie Turner-Smith, and takes place during the yet-unexplored High Republic Era. Early footage was screened exclusively to attendees of April’s Star Wars Celebration Europe, though a trailer or any additional images have yet to be made public, as well as an official release date.

All that’s been confirmed is that the series will debut sometime in 2024. But according to a new report from The Bespin Bulletin, we might have a better idea of when we can expect to see the first episode roll out on Disney+. The article claims that The Acolyte is aiming to release sometime in the second quarter of next year, which runs from April 1 to June 30, placing it after Skeleton Crew but potentially before Season 3 of The Bad Batch.

Jude Law in Star Wars Skeleton Crew
Credit: Lucasfilm

This Spring 2024 premiere date is particularly interesting, considering early projections put the series at a Winter release, but perhaps Disney simply wants to stagger their Star Wars content throughout next year. It’s not enough to speculate that the show is postponed or delayed, but rather, somewhat later than anticipated, given that the show has long finished filming.

Of course, it’s important to note that this second quarter release window might not be set in stone with the film and television industry currently in the midst of two strikes. Disney’s productions have been hit especially hard by the strikes, and with no end in sight, this could mean that The Acolyte will face even more delays before it eventually lands on the small screen.

For now, it’s relieving to hear that The Acolyte is still on track to debut in 2024 if this report has any validity to it. But with so much in the air at Disney, there could be trouble ahead for the latest addition to the Star Wars universe.

Are you looking forward to streaming The Acolyte when it hopefully arrives next year? Let us know in the comments below.

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