Star Wars: The Acolyte is going to be bringing back some pretty controversial aliens from the franchise lore: none other than the Neimoidians!

(Photo: Disney+)

If you don’t recognize the species from the Star Wars: The Acolyte promo image above, The Neimoidians were the race of aliens that ran the Trade Federation in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and were featured throughout the Star Wars Prequels era, as some of Count Dooku’s primary partners in the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

Like so many of the alien species introduced in the Star Wars Prequels, the Neimoidians received backlash for seemingly being thinly veiled metaphors for real-life racial groups. The Neimoidans were speculated to be a metaphor for Asian groups – primarily Chinese people – with their wardrobe and speaking cadence making it hard to completely write off the theory. Either way, Star Wars fans haven’t been too concerned with getting more of the Neimoidians in the franchise – and the powers that be at Lucasfilm haven’t been too eager to push more of them into the franchise – at least in live-action.

The Neimiodians appeared in the animated series Star Wars Resistance, and have been more prominent in The High Republic line of Star Wars stories, which have unfolded in novels and comic books. It tracks, then, that they would be featured in The Acolyte, as the show will be set in the latter part of the High Republic era, and will serve as a bridge between that series of Star Wars content and the Skywalker Saga that began in The Phantom Menace.

The Acolyte showrunner Leslie Headland has gone a step further, by outright stating that she intends for The Acolyte to touch upon every era of the Star Wars franchise.

“It’s a show packed with everything I wanted to explore: I wanted EU [Expanded Universe] stuff in there, references to the original trilogy, The Phantom Menace, the Disney sequels… it’s absolutely packed,” Headland told Total Film. Because you never know, you may not get the chance again.”

She also added that “I would say the original trilogy became our touchpoint for how to craft the world, while the Episode I-ness of the show is a bit more thematic.”

That sounds like a mix of more grounded and practical effects (like the animatronic masks of the Neimiodians), as well as a thematic arc about how evil can rise within a world where stability, order, and light are all supposedly infallible. Indeed, that’s been a major topic of debate with the entire High Republic Era: whether Star Wars will address the fact that this era of prosperity and strength for the Republic and Jedi led to the downfall of both, the return of the Sith, and one of the darkest periods in the history of the galaxy.

Star Wars: The Acolyte will begin streaming on Disney+ on June 4th.



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