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The Acolyte is the first live-action Star Wars project in 47 years to not rely on nostalgic, legacy characters - and that's a good thing

Star Wars minus your favorite characters? It's a risk, but one worth taking

Star Wars: The Acolyte
Image credit: Lucasfilm

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Disney+'s The Acolyte is the sixth live-action Star Wars TV show, and the 17th live-action Star Wars release since the franchise debuted - but it will arguably be the first since the original movie not to rely on well-known characters and the nostalgia around them to make a dent in the crowded pop culture landscape.

As The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland mentioned in her recent interview with Vanity Fair, all of Star Wars shows to date "were really relying on legacy characters." All of the shows, save The Mandalorian ,had people playing roles established in movies and or beloved TV shows of the past (in the case of Ahsoka)... and, while the Mandalorian didn't center around a legacy character, Katee Sackoff's return as Bo-Katan, followed by Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, confirmed it, too, was a legacy show.

Related: Was Disney's 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm a good deal?

While it's not impossible The Acolyte could become a show with legacy characters given the old age of certain movie characters (such as Yoda and Chewbacca), The Acolyte stands apart from all the other recent shows by having a core cast of entirely fresh faces to Star Wars audiences - and with a cast of actors that haven't lead major movies or TV shows that brings with them a sizeable audience, as did Pedro Pascal and Rosario Dawson.

Similiarly, The Acolyte is a prequel to all the Star Wars shows and movies to date, set in 'The High Republic' era that was previously only written about in prose novels and comic books.

For a franchise built on what's come before, deciding to do a show set in a relatively uncharted era and deciding against having any kind of character anchor from another project is a risk - but its the same kind of risk which gave us Star Wars in the first place, and not George Lucas' original plans in a nostalgic Flash Gordon reboot (but that's another story).

Maybe it's because Headland is a fan of the Star Wars RPGs, or maybe its Lucasfilm seeing they've pretty saturated when it comes to nostaglic shows filled with familiar characters returning (and seeing the appetite for some not as much as they had hoped), but either way its resulting in a Star Wars first in 47 years. A genuinely new Star Wars live-action project.

Even if its the first Star Wars movie or show without an actual star war in it (that we know of).

The Acolyte debuts June 4 on Disney+.


Turn back the clock 100 years before the earliest Star Wars movie and enter the era of the Disney+ series The Acolyte. We have everything you need from guides on the cast, the episodes (and their release dates), it's not-for-kids rating, where it fits in the Star Wars timeline, how the show asks who 'deserves' to use the Force, as well as bigger picture things such as a complete Star Wars watch order, and a comprehensive guide to the Star Wars timeline, and all the upcoming Star Wars movies & TV shows on the horizon.

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