Star Wars: The Acolyte Reviews: Critics Share Strong First Reactions

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett) in The Acolyte

The Acolyte had its first official showings for critics, who shared overwhelmingly strong reactions to the new Disney+ series from Star Wars.

Star Wars' newest series will take fans back in time to the High Republic era, providing a look at the earliest point in the on-screen Star Wars timeline to date.

Marking the first time in Star Wars history that a project features the Sith in leading roles, The Acolyte will bring plenty of epic lightsaber and Force-wielding action in a story working as a prequel for the entire Skywalker Saga.

Critics' First Reactions to The Acolyte

Star Wars Acolyte
Star Wars

Following the world premiere event for Star Wars' The Acolyte, critics shared their initial reactions to what they saw in the first two episodes on X (formerly Twitter).

Gizmodo's Germain Lussier called the first two episodes "an interesting, fun, character-driven mystery" that brings stakes into the equation while praising how it fits into the Star Wars universe:

"Beholden to nothing except being 'Star Wars,' 'TheAcolyte' soars. It’s an interesting, fun, character-driven mystery with real stakes that you care about bolstered by all the fixings that make it Star Wars. Saw the first two episodes and LOVED THEM."

ComicBook's Jamie Jirak was in disbelief at "how much it's living up to [her] expectations," giving credit to the work director Leslye Headland put in:

"I’ve waited so long for 'The Acolyte,' and I cannot believe how much it's living up to my expectations. I loved the first two eps! It's so exciting to see a new (well, old) era explored in live-action. Leslye Headland did a dynamite job fleshing out these characters. I'm obsessed!"

The Movie Podcast's Anthony Gagliardi called The Acolyte "a mixed experience." He sees its potential by comparing it to the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) video game, but he also said the fight scenes "often feel misplaced:"

"Four episodes into 'Star Wars: The Acolyte' & it’s a mixed experience. The lore hints at 'KOTOR' potential, yet the pacing occasionally lags. While the fight scenes are engaging, they often feel misplaced. Hoping to see stronger performances and a clearer narrative direction soon."

Screen Rant's Joe Deckelmeier got "Kill Bill vibes" from this series, heaping praise on star Amandla Stenberg and was left wanting more "in a good way" from each episode:

"'Star Wars: The Acolyte' gives me 'Kill Bill' vibes. Every episode left me wanting more, in a good way. We’ve seen so much about the fall of the Jedi but this show explores what the Jedi were like during peacetime, which is quite fascinating. Amandla Stenberg is outstanding!"

Collider's Perri Nemiroff held nothing back in calling The Acolyte "a *very* big winner," specifically pointing out the attention to "practical effects [and] the stunts" along with the way the story explores "how the Jedi Order operates:"

"I’ve seen four episodes of 'The Acolyte' and, thus far, it’s a *very* big winner. The cast of characters, the heavy emphasis on practical effects, the stunts, how they’re exploring what it means to be a Force-user and how the Jedi Order operates — it’s all working quite well for me."

Nemiroff continued to heap praise on Amandla Stenberg, calling her "the headliner a story like this needs" and expressing her desire to see much more of Stenberg's fight scenes:

"Amandla Stenberg is the headliner a story like this needs. She’s got her hands FULL with this one, and she soars tackling the challenge. I could also watch her command the screen during fight scenes for hours. The precision and grace with which Mae fights makes the combat exhilarating to watch, but also function as beats that speak to who she is and how she chooses to operate in a given moment.

Screen Rant's Caitlin Tyrrell saw the best of classic Star Wars in these episodes while complimenting them for "feeling unique and new," specifically highlighting the fight scenes and the visual effects:

"'The Acolyte' [is] fantastic! It captures everything that is great about classic Star Wars while feeling new and unique. The fight scenes are phenomenal and the visuals are stunning. With an intriguing mystery and a top notch cast this is a show every Star Wars fan needs to watch!"

SlashFilm's Peter Scrietta shared similar feelings about The Acolyte "new, fresh and different" from anything Star Wars has done before, praising the action for feeling "movie-level:"

"Saw the first two episodes of 'The Acolyte' — I loved that it felt so much like classic Star Wars while at the same time feeling new, fresh and different from anything we’ve seen before. The action felt movie-level. So excited to see more!"

Laughing Place called The Acolyte "a blast," describing it as a "gripping noir-style murder mystery" featuring "the Jedi as space detectives" while praising its fight sequences and world-building:

"'The Acolyte' is a blast. A gripping noir-style murder mystery in A Galaxy Far, Far away with the Jedi as space detectives. So much world-building and fleshing out of the mythology already in the first two episodes, punctuated by some pretty kick-butt fight sequences."

Vault Comics' F.J. DeSanto saw The Acolyte as a "Star Wars homage to classic Shaw Brothers movies" that created new pathways into the larger universe, hyping up the characters and action:

"The first two episodes of 'The Acolyte' are a Star Wars homage to classic Shaw Brothers movies while also opening new doors to the larger universe. The characters are fun and the action is great. This show has a lot of promise. Super excited to see where it goes."

Will Fans & Critics Agree on The Acolyte?

Even though early reactions to The Acolyte did not reach the same highs as other Star Wars projects such as Andor, the franchise still appears to have another winner on its hands.

Coming to life courtesy of a record-breaking budget, The Acolyte appears to give viewers what they have been asking for in terms of production value, action, fight sequences, and visuals in the first two episodes.

While Disney already spoiled certain aspects of this new series, there are plenty of secrets that remain hidden as this first chronological battle between the Jedi and the Sith begins to unfold.

Combine that with a record-breaking number of Jedi characters taking center stage, and the recipe is in place for something that could have a true impact on the entire Star Wars story.

The Acolyte will begin its run on Disney+ on Tuesday, June 4 with a two-episode premiere at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Read more about The Acolyte below:

Lee Jung-jae’s The Acolyte Character Explained: Who Is Master Sol?

The Acolyte: Who Is Carrie-Anne Moss Playing? New Character Details Revealed

Will Darth Plagueis Appear In The Acolyte?

- In This Article: The Acolyte
Release Date
June 04, 2024
Amandla Stenberg
Dafne Keen
Jodie Turner-Smith
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.