Why The Acolyte Got 'Cancelled' by Star Wars Fans, Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Amandla Steinberg in The Acolyte

Star Wars' latest Disney+ series The Acolyte has been "cancelled" by some for its "woke" decisions and impact on the franchise's canon.

Despite strong critic reviews with 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Acolyte debuted to harsh reactions from fans and a record-low audience score of just 14%.

Star Wars Fans' 4 Biggest Issues with The Acolyte

Star Wars Goes "Woke"

The Acolyte, Woke
Star Wars

The term "woke" has been increasingly thrown around with modern media, with many using it to criticize anything with a diverse cast of genders, races, sexualities, and disabilities, which The Acolyte does so happen to boast.

Some have made "woke" critiques of black actress Amandla Stenberg's leading role as force-wielding twins Mae and Osha. Meanwhile, others have taken issue with her parentage, as she was born from the Force due to the magic of two women, who The Acolyte does imply to be lesbians.

Series creator Leslye Headland explained to The Hollywood Reporter how while it may seem these characters are queer, their closeness "would be natural" due to the all-female nature of their community:

"They’re in a matriarchal society. As a gay woman, I knew it would read that their sexuality is queer, but there also aren’t any men in their community. So a closeness between the two of them would be natural. It seemed plot-driven. I would say it’s really reductive to call them lesbians. I think it means you’re not really paying attention to this story."

Anakin Skywalker's Significance Is Ruined

Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker
Star Wars

As the Chosen One who brought balance to the Force, Anakin Skywalker is undeniably one of the most important players in Star Wars, especially as he took a leading role through much of the Skywalker Saga.

In The Phantom Menace, Anakin's mother Shmi told Qui-Gon Jinn, "There was no father," and it was heavily implied he was born as a creation of the force to destroy the Sith and bring about balance.

After The Acolyte debuted a society of women who birthed children through the Force, many said this ruined the significance of Anakin. But these two situations, while may initially appear similar, are rather different, with one coming through use of the force and magic, and the other being the natural will of the force.

Ki-Adi Mundi's Age Contradiction

Ki Adi Mundi, The Acolyte
Star Wars

As Star Wars dives into the High Republic - an era never seen before in live-action - Lucasfilm and Disney have been accused of breaking the canon of the galaxy far, far away with several plot points in The Acolyte.

Perhaps the most prominent came with the presence of Jedi Master Ki-Adi Mundi, who was present on the Jedi Council in the prequel trilogy. While Legends tales indicated the Cereans (his species) only live 50-100 years, his role in The Acolyte which takes place 100 years before The Phantom Menace, leaves him far older.

Despite many fans calling this a canon contradiction, the expanded universe Legends tales were decreed non-canon after Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, meaning Ki-Adi Mundi has never been given an official age in Star Wars.

[ The Acolyte's Ki Adi Mundi Age Controversy Explained ]

The Acolyte 'Breaks' Sith Canon

The Acolyte, Sith, Qimir, The Stranger
Star Wars

Speaking of Ki-Adi Mundi, after Qui-Gon Jinn's first meeting with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, the Jedi Master was the one to announce to the council that "the Sith have been extinct for a millennium."

This line indicated the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise and all the other Sith events leading up to the prequel trilogy that occurred behind the backs of the Jedi. And yet, a whole group of Jedi have now just encountered Manny Jacinto's Qimir (aka the Stranger) who is suggested to be a Sith Lord on the planet Khofar.

But with several episodes of The Acolyte still to unfold, the Disney+ series still has time to avoid this becoming an issue. If none of the show's heroes were to live to report their Sith encounter to the council, then his existence could remain a secret that Ki-Adi Mundi and the other modern Jedi would discover.

[ The Acolyte’s Qimir Explained: Sith, Kylo Ren & More Connections Revealed ]

Will The Acolyte Season 2 Still Happen?

There were once rumors The Acolyte had been cancelled at Lucasfilm ahead of its release, but these never held any weight. Past reporting indicated the studio was eyeing "multiple seasons" of the High Republic show.

A rumor from insider DanielRPK posted in March 2024, three months before the series premiere, stated a writers' room had already been opened to begin development on The Acolyte Season 2.

But with The Acolyte receiving massive backlash from the fandom, one has to wonder if Season 2 may be halted. A major factor in that will likely be the strength of the show's Disney+ viewership, which is unclear at the time of writing.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Leslye Headland suggested Season 1 will leave one "a nice resolution that feels satisfying" while simultaneously dropping "enough nods to mysteries" to leave fans wanting a second season:

"I think you should put everything you can into the first season and give the audience a nice resolution that feels satisfying, but enough nods to mysteries that you would want to see a second season."

So, it appears The Acolyte will resolve its ongoing Sith mystery in Season 1, while perhaps leaving questions and clues for the future. This will allow Lucasfilm to either cancel or renew the Star Wars epic going forward, depending on how the criticisms and backlash have impacted viewership.

UPDATE: The Acolyte season 1 has concluded! This is everything we know so far about if The Acolyte got renewed for season 2 or canceled.


Read more about The Acolyte on The Direct:

The Acolyte DP Reveals Why the New Sith Debut Was 'Extremely Difficult' (Exclusive)

The Acolyte Just Teased Sol's Dark Secret

Star Wars: The Acolyte Release Date Schedule of Episodes (Confirmed)

- In This Article: The Acolyte
Release Date
June 04, 2024
Platform
Actors
Amandla Stenberg
Dafne Keen
Jodie Turner-Smith
Genres
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.