First Take Review of Star Wars: The Acolyte

04 June 2024
The allure of Star Wars: The Acolyte lies in its exploration of a previously uncharted era of the Star Wars universe, taking place approximately 100 years before the rise of the Empire.

This timeline, nestled at the end of the High Republic period, offers a refreshing departure from the familiar narratives dominated by the Skywalker saga and the tyranny of the Empire.

Disney+'s newest live-action series carried on the shoulders of show runner Leslie Hyland breathes new life into the franchise by delving into a galaxy where the names Skywalker and Palpatine are unheard of, and the Jedi Order thrives in a manner reminiscent of the prequel trilogy.

This novel setting, combined with intriguing storylines, provides a compelling hook for the series, although the execution may falter at times.

Our review is born of viewing the first two episodes. 

Master Indara is a Jedi Master
Carrie Anne Moss as Master Indara

A Distinct Era and Narrative

One of the most exciting aspects of The Acolyte is its setting. The series transports viewers to a vibrant and relatively peaceful galaxy, starkly contrasting the war-torn landscapes of previous Star Wars series. With no Stormtroopers in sight and a Jedi Order operating at its peak, the series immediately distinguishes itself from its predecessors. 

This new timeline allows the series to delve into the complexities and intricacies of a flourishing Jedi Order, which we only glimpsed in the prequels.

The Acolyte's storyline centers around two sisters, Mae and Osha, portrayed by Amandla Stenberg. Stenberg's performance shines as she skillfully differentiates between the twin characters, each trained in the ways of the Force but on opposing paths—Mae by a mysterious Sith master and Osha at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. 

This dual role not only showcases Stenberg's versatility but also sets up a compelling conflict at the heart of the series.

Character Dynamics and Performances

The series boasts a strong ensemble cast, each bringing depth to their respective roles. Lee Jung-jae's portrayal of Jedi Master Sol is particularly noteworthy. 

Sol is depicted as a wise and compassionate warrior, whose intense emotions are carefully balanced by his Jedi training. Lee's nuanced performance conveys Sol's inner turmoil and sense of duty, making him a standout character.

Carrie-Anne Moss, as Jedi Master Indara, exudes authority and control. Her background in martial arts is put to excellent use in the series, adding a layer of authenticity to her combat scenes. The Wookiee Jedi Master Kelnacca, played by Joonas Suotamo (Force Awakens etc) , brings a unique and endearing presence to the series, while Dafne Keen's portrayal of the promising Padawan Jecki Lon adds a youthful energy and curiosity.

Themes and Comparisons to Classic Star Wars

The Acolyte revisits and expands upon some of the central themes of the Star Wars prequels, particularly the arrogance and hubris within the Jedi Order. The series explores the flaws and shortcomings of the Jedi, revealing how their methods and ideologies are not universally accepted. This thematic exploration is reminiscent of the prequels, where the Jedi's downfall was partly due to their own hubris.

However, The Acolyte takes these themes further by introducing new perspectives and conflicts. 

The series examines the ethical implications of the Jedi's practice of taking Force-sensitive children from their families, a practice that is not as benign as it appeared in the prequels. This adds a layer of moral complexity to the Jedi Order, challenging the audience's perception of these revered warriors.

Visual Style and Production

Despite its intriguing premise and strong character work, The Acolyte sometimes falters in its visual execution. Unlike the grand cinematic production values typically associated with Star Wars, the series often feels more like a traditional TV show. The sets, costumes, and makeup occasionally appear overtly artificial, detracting from the epic quality that defines the franchise. 

This visual approach, while not low budget, lacks the grandeur and scale expected from a Star Wars production.

The series also features some clunky plot points and moments of convenience that can undermine the narrative's coherence. Characters occasionally change their minds or escape danger too easily, and attempts at humor do not always land effectively. These elements can disrupt the otherwise compelling storyline and character dynamics.

Refreshing Innovations and Fight Scenes

One of The Acolyte's strengths lies in its innovative fight scenes. The series holds off on traditional lightsaber battles, instead focusing on hand-to-hand combat and martial arts. This approach not only showcases the characters' physical skills but also adds a fresh and exciting dimension to the action sequences. Moss's background in martial arts is particularly evident in these scenes, as her character, Indara, effortlessly counters Mae's attacks.

Additionally, the series benefits from a diverse cast and the introduction of new characters and elements. Manny Jacinto's portrayal of Qimir brings a fun and mischievous energy, while Charlie Barnett's character Yord, though initially extraneous, may develop further as the series progresses.


Star Wars: The Acolyte succeeds in many ways by venturing into a new timeline and exploring the High Republic era. It offers a fresh perspective on the Jedi Order and introduces new themes and conflicts that enrich the Star Wars mythos. While the series occasionally struggles with its visual style and some plot inconsistencies, it compensates with strong character performances and innovative fight scenes.

The Acolyte's willingness to deviate from familiar narratives and focus on the complexities of the Jedi Order sets it apart from other recent Star Wars series. It may not fully bring balance to the Force, but it certainly provides a refreshing and intriguing addition to the Star Wars universe. With its promising start, The Acolyte has the potential to further expand and deepen our understanding of this beloved galaxy far, far away.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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