With Disney+ serving as the home for Star Wars for the foreseeable future, lower budget streaming series now offer Lucasfilm the opportunity to branch out into different eras of storytelling. Next year, Leslye Headland's The Acolyte will mark the beginning of that push, as the show will follow a dark sider during the waning days of the High Republic.
Set 100 years before The Phantom Menace, strikingly little is known about The Acolyte's narrative direction. Prior to the series' announcement, it was reported that the project would follow a female lead and have an emphasis on martial arts, now a given due to the involvement of the Force. Actress Amandla Stenberg is said to be up for the lead role, and following a recent delay production is scheduled to begin in October.
Headland serves as writer and showrunner for the series, going to great lengths to map out the journey of the characters and incorporate the philosophy of George Lucas. But she won't be the one behind the camera. To this point, the identity of the show's director has remained a mystery. A new rumor seemingly changes that, as a Marvel Studios alum will reportedly be leading the exploration into abilities some consider to be unnatural.
Kate Herron Rumored To Direct The Acolyte
Making Star Wars reported that Loki director was approached and will be involved as director for Leslye Headland's The Acolyte series. There is no confirmation yet that she will be joining the series ahead of its production schedule.
Additionally, Bespin Bulletin revealed that pre-production for the show has begun in Reading, England. Production will take place at the recently constructed Shinfield Studios, though existence of a Volume stage at the site is unknown.
Will Herron Helm The Acolyte Alone?
There's no singular way the Star Wars Disney+ series have been approached in terms of directors. The recently concluded Obi-Wan Kenobi had just one, as Deborah Chow steered the ship for all six episodes. However, this was the exception to the precedent set by the MandoVerse shows, which have seen more of a melting pot behind the camera while Jon Favreau serves as the main writer. The upcoming Andor is a somewhat similar case, as Tony Gilroy writes and oversees the project while blocks of directors tackle multiple episodes.
Herron has already proven herself capable of handling an entire series through her work on Marvel Studios' Loki. This would lend credence to the possibility of Herron following in Chow's footsteps, though the episode count for The Acolyte's first season may significantly exceed that of the typical limited Disney+ series. Should the season be as long as those of The Mandalorian or Andor, there may be too much work involved for one director to corral.
That being said, Herron is certainly available, as she declined to return for Loki Season 2. Citing the need for a new voice to give the show a breath of fresh air, the director seems to be content with keeping her involvement in projects relatively limited - to the point that collaboration with other directors for The Acolyte could very well be in the cards. Perhaps the series will experience a similar hand-off to a new director when a second season commences. Or maybe Headland and Herron have really hit off, and the duo will work together to see the show through to its conclusion.
The Acolyte begins streaming on Disney+ in 2023.