The Acolyte is one of the more intriguing Star Wars projects coming to Disney+, focusing on the dark side. The series takes place towards the end of the High Republic era, roughly 100 years prior to The Phantom Menace, and promises to give deep exploration into ways of the Force that some consider unnatural. With a blank canvas, fans have set their eyes on The Acolyte being a fresh take on the franchise.
Leslye Headland serves as writer and showrunner for the series and has spoken at length about her process of literally mapping out where the journey will go. Reports have suggested that Amandla Stenberg will be playing the show's lead, codenamed Aura, who would presumably be the acolyte in question. Given its proximity to Episode I, the series will have ties to the prequel era's political landscape, something Headland looks to draw influence from to connect with George Lucas' world.
With so many Star Wars projects in various stages of development (some that likely remain unannounced), the trick for Lucasfilm is finding the right timeframe to begin The Acolyte's production. It was once said that shooting would begin in London this February before being pushed back to June, but a Summer start no longer appears to be in the cards as the show has suffered another delay.
The Acolyte Production Delayed to October
The Illuminerdi reported that production for The Acolyte has been delayed to October. Filming is expected to last eight months, as the anticipated wrap is now May 2023.
In the meantime, casting efforts continue as Lucasfilm is looking for two key players. The first is a Caucasian man in his 50s codenamed "Paul," who will be a series regular - but only for the first season. Also, on the casting call is a roll for a Black girl in the 8-10 age range codenamed "Miri," with a twist: Lucasfilm may be looking to fill the lead guest star's role with identical twins.
The Dark Side Clouds Everything
Difficult to see, the future is. There haven't been any reports of creative issues with The Acolyte, but the start of production is now pushed to its third start date. Given the lack of any word on internal conflicts, the latest delay is likely just the result of Lucasfilm juggling a packed schedule. With casting still underway for a few important characters, the bump to October gives Leslye Headland the time to select the perfect people for the roles.
It's uncertain if The Acolyte's production will be making use of The Volume technology used by other Star Wars series, which could actually make for a quick shoot. Headland has mentioned the influence Jon Favreau's approach to The Mandalorian will have on her show, but that may not extend to filming techniques. With a May 2023 wrap, it's safe to assume many of the sets will be practical.
As for a release date, this delay could potentially push the show to 2024. When The Acolyte was scheduled to begin production in June, it was reported that the series' first season would stream next Summer. The latest delay would conceivably push that back to a Fall 2023 release, but that space is likely already occupied by Andor Season 2, with something from the MandoVerse probably closing out the year as usual.
Regardless of when fans will get to see it, the show has a promising outlook. "Aura" will be doing the majority of the action and growth, as she's the lead, but "Paul" may be a mentor figure for the character. And if the series follows the Sith, as many presume, and "Paul" is only around for Season 1... he's likely to meet his fate at the acolyte's hands. The young twins are an interesting development, and if they become series mainstays it's possible the acolyte could have students of her own.
The Acolyte will reportedly begin filming in October.