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

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Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) Darth Maul (Ray Park) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in the Duel of the Fates in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Credit: Lucasfilm

Star Wars continuity has seen a lot of attention, mainly because of the wonderful TV programs that have appeared on Disney+. Shows like The Mandalorian and Andor have wowed audiences with their captivating storylines and callbacks to the franchise. The Acolyte is the next series that promises to change the franchise, and it oddly takes inspiration from The Phantom Menace (1999).

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) wielding a lightsaber in Return of the Jedi
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: All ‘Star Wars’ Lightsabers and Who Wields Them

There have not been a lot of properties in the franchise that have featured a deeper look at the evils that plague the galaxy, and it appears that The Acolyte will be focusing more on the Sith entities that have not been highlighted as much. Granted, the world knows Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine very well, but the older inclusion of the Sith way of life has not been showcased much.

One of the ways that The Acolyte plans to appear far different than previous Star Wars entries is by not focusing on the war element of the franchise. The Disney+ show will instead focus more on the battles between Jedi and Sith. The new series occurs after the High Republic and before the Original Trilogy begins.

This era is known as the golden age of the Jedi, with the Sith element all but being defeated. Show creator Leslye Headland revealed she created the series to highlight how the Sith come to power and how someone like Palpatine could infiltrate the Senate without any Jedi picking up on it. It’s a success story, focusing more on the outnumbered bad guys, which is a different take on the Star Wars franchise.

The series also plans to pull inspiration directly from one of the most controversial Star Wars movies.

‘The Acolyte’ Will Improve ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber Battles

the-acolyte-title
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Acolyte stars Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, and Charlie Barnett stooped by the EW-produced Dagobah Dispatch Podcast before the SAG-AFTRA strike happened to share their thoughts on what makes this new Star Wars series different.

One of the highlights of the conversation points to the epic lightsaber duel that happens in The Phantom Menace, which fans call the “Dual of the Fates.” The moniker for the battle is given based on the song that plays during this fight scene, which has also become iconic within the franchise.

Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) take on Darth Maul (Ray Parks) in arguably the best lightsaber battle the franchise has ever seen. This battle has not impressed Charlie Barnett, who portrays a young Jedi in the series. Barnett was comparing the fight choreography in The Phantom Menace and The Acolyte. According to Barnett:

“I will say too — not to shade’ but we have a lot more tangible physical moves than I saw in that fight. As badass as it is, there’s a lot more grounded work that goes into our stunt training and our stunt performances.”

Barnett’s costar, Manny Jacinto, also stated, “If you loved that sequence with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Darth Maul.”I think you’re going to enjoy this show.” Keen confirmed this feeling by adding, “You’ll love it.”

What’s even more interesting is that Keen revealed the usage of guns would be done away with to add in more practical fighting with lightsabers. According to Keen:

“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I will just say it. There’s a lack of guns, which personally as someone who loves fighting and stunts and stuff, I love. Because it gives you that body-to-body choreography — that dance feeling. It actually looks like a real fight as opposed to just I point and I shoot, which is kind of an easy cop out in a way. We get a lot of that body-to-body.”

This Star Wars series aims to give fans more of what has worked recently: lightsaber battles. We would argue that Rogue One (2016) began a trend in live-action that has carried over to more recent properties. When Darth Vader appears at the end of the film and goes bonkers taking out the rebels, it finally gives the world a better look at the brutal nature of the character and the sheer damage that a lightsaber can achieve.

The Mandalorian gave the world more lightsaber magic, with Luke Skywalker returning to decimate Dark Troopers. Still, nothing was more epic than the Obi-Wan series when Obi-Wan and Vader crossed blades once more.

The franchise has long placed great lightsaber battles in shows, but most have come from animated ventures like The Clone Wars and Rebels. Live-action has suffered a bit more with fewer battles, likely because of the strain it takes to film with choreography. If The Phantom Menace is considered the apex of lightsaber battles, then The Acolyte has some big shoes to fill. It sounds like the cast is confident in promising even more epic battles.

Sabine Wren fighting Shin with Ezra's lightsaber.
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Sabine Wren Wields Ezra Bridger’s Lightsaber in New ‘Ahsoka’ Photos

The Acolyte will release in 2024, but first up is Ahsoka, which will be released next month. The world will see what the Rosario Dawson series has regarding Star Wars lightsaber battles, but we are certainly excited to see what The Acolyte can deliver.

What do you think about The Acolyte cast promising better lightsaber battles than The Phantom Menace? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

 

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