Always two, there are: master and apprentice. In The Acolyte — the newest live-action Star Wars spinoff set in the final days of the High Republic era — Jedi Master Sol (Squid Game‘s Lee Jung-jae) is dispatched to capture the suspect of a shocking crime spree: his old padawan, Mae (Bodies Bodies BodiesAmandla Stenberg).

“Let me be the one to bring her in,” Sol says to the Mirialan Jedi Master Vernestra Rwoh (Westworld‘s Rebecca Henderson) in a new featurette, below. When Sol comes face-to-face with a black-clad figure wielding a red lightsaber, it becomes clear to Sol that this is an encounter with the Dark Side of the Force. “You carry a Jedi weapon,” he says, illuminated by the blue beam of his lightsaber, “but you are no Jedi.”

“I was writing the character of Sol when Squid Game came out,” series creator and writer Leslye Headland says of the South Korean Netflix series that won Lee an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. “I said, ‘That’s Sol.’ Lee Jung-jae just ran the gamut of every single emotion.”

That made Lee a perfect fit for the wise and highly respected Jedi Master who is going through an emotional conflict: the return of a dangerous warrior from his past who happens to be his former student. Lee “has been a legendary actor for years,” adds episodic director Kogonada (After Yang). “He has real ownership of his character.”

Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix films), who plays skilled Jedi Master Indara, also heaped praise on her co-star. “He has so much heart that he brings to it, and so genuine,” Moss says, with Headland noting that Lee “knows how to switch from being formidable and then switch to being heartbreaking. I don’t know many actors that can do that.”

The 51-year-old actor “shines so beautifully in this role,” adds his on-screen apprentice Stenberg over behind-the-scenes footage of Lee’s lightsaber training, “and looks fantastic when he’s fighting. It’s really like dancing. JJ’s just a cool Jedi.”

Also starring Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Joonas Suotamo, Star Wars: The Acolyte is streaming in primetime when it premieres with its first two episodes June 4 on Disney+.


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