Very little is known about The Acolyte, a new Star Wars series coming to Disney+. After being announced at the Disney Investor Day presentation in December 2020, very few details have surfaced since that time. What is known, however, is that The Acolyte will be written by Leslye Headland, who co-created the Russian Doll series for Netflix.
Also of note is the fact that the show is billed as a "mystery-thiller" centering on the emergence of the Dark Side of the Force in the waning days of Star Wars' High Republic era. This era is, of course, the focus of a recent publishing initiative from Lucasfilm. Told through novels and comic books, the High Republic era tells the stories of many characters in a time period approximately 200 years before the first chronological Star Wars movie, The Phantom Menace.
But how does The Acolyte factor into all this? And where exactly on the overall Star Wars timeline does the series fall? A new interview sheds some light.
The Acolyte's Timeframe Revealed
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Leslye Headland, showrunner of The Acolyte, confirmed that the Disney+ series is set "roughly 100 years before The Phantom Menace." She also noted that the series will explain how the Star Wars galaxy got to a certain point seen in that film where the Sith could infiltrate the Republic:
“A lot of those characters haven’t even been born yet. We’re taking a look at the political and personal and spiritual things that came up in a time period that we don’t know much about. My question when watching The Phantom Menace was always like, ‘Well, how did things get to this point?’ How did we get to a point where a Sith lord can infiltrate the Senate and none of the Jedi pick up on it? Like, what went wrong? What are the scenarios that led us to this moment?”
Headland also gave some more specific details about the look and feel of the series:
“We actually use the term the Renaissance, or the Age of Enlightenment. The Jedi uniforms are gold and white, and it’s almost like they would never get dirty. They would never be out and about. The idea is that they could have these types of uniforms because that’s how little they’re getting into skirmishes.”
The Pre-Phantom Menace Timeline is Wide Open
Although the High Republic era has been thoroughly mapped out by comics and novels, fans have not actually been able to see this Star Wars time period in live-action. And the fact that The Acolyte takes place when the High Republic was coming to a close should make for a very interesting time to explore in the history of the franchise.
As Headland mentions, most of the characters fans know and love from the films are not even born yet in this period. However, one character who is confirmed to be around is Jedi Master Yoda. Indeed, the diminutive Force-wielder is firmly established on the Jedi Council. Given that The Acolyte is confirmed to feature the Jedi in some capacity, could fans possibly see Yoda on screen in the series? It seems likely that he would make an appearance.
Headland also notes the uniforms that the Jedi wear in this era, indicating that since they're not traveling out in the galaxy and getting into trouble, their gold and white robes don't get dirty. This suggests that the Jedi Order is becoming detached from the needs of others, an idea that is on full display in the prequel trilogy and other supplemental material set in that time.
As for The Acolyte's release date, the show has not started filming yet, so it's up in the air as to when it will actually arrive on Disney+, but fans shouldn't expect to see it until at least 2023.