As part of their sizeable Star Wars feature that included the Andor news we shared a couple of days ago, Vanity Fair has also spoken with The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland (Russian Doll) about her upcoming Star Wars show.

the-acolyte

Described as a mystery thriller set in the Star Wars universe, she confirmed the show will move completely outside of the time period used in the movies and the current television shows.

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Instead, the series is set around the end of the High Republic era. This is up to three centuries before the original trilogy so allows them to break away from the bounds of the Skywalker saga to a degree. Headland says her motivation came from a desire to make that break:

“The truth is that I, as a major mega fan, came to them with this idea. And I said, ‘I think the best place to put this is in an era you guys have not quite explored yet.’ They were very enthusiastic. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to explore that [existing] world, but I think that they already were because ‘The Mandalorian’ and a lot of the other television projects were really relying on legacy characters.

I think if you want to explore ‘Star Wars’ from the perspective of the bad guys, the best time to do it is when the bad guys are wildly outnumbered, when they actually are essentially the underdogs, for lack of a better term.

My question in watching The Phantom Menace was always like, ‘Well, how did things get to this point?’ Do you know what I mean? How did we get to where a Sith lord can infiltrate the Senate and none of the Jedi picks up on it? What went wrong? What are the scenarios that led us to this moment?’ So that’s what I would say. That’s how I would describe [The High Republic] to my friends, especially my non-Star Wars friends.”

Headland also gives more information on some of her inspirations for the approach she wants the production to take:

“I actually went more toward martial arts films and storylines that are a little bit more personal and less global and galactic. Those warriors were on missions that were deeply personal, with people feeling wronged and having to make it right.

Wuxia films and martial arts films from King Hu and the Shaw Brothers, like Come Drink With Me and Touch Of Zen. They’re monks that are also martial arts heroes.”

Wouldn’t it be a twist if Headland manages to make the best spin-off show yet by leaving the confines of the existing franchise well behind?

The Acolyte is released on Disney+ for Summer 2023.

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