Star Wars: The Acolyte has a lot of fans as curious as they are excited. The new Star Wars Disney+ series we’ll take us into very murky period in the franchise timeline: the waning days of The High Republic Era, which preceded the period of the Skywalker Saga’s start. Waiting for us within that unexplored period is a story wrapped in mystery and murder.

As Star Wars: The Acolyte begins streaming on Disney+, we’ve prepared a quick and easy guide for mainstream Star Wars fans and viewers, to help them get all the finer details they need to know, to really get into the show.

The Setting: What Is Star Wars’ High Republic?

(Photo: Luasfilm)

Star Wars launched a multimedia line of content (novels, audiobooks, comic books) under the “The High Republic” banner starting in January of 2021. The earliest stories of The High Republic (Phase II) are set about 350 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, at a time when different groups of Force users split into opposing factions (like the Jedi and Path of the Open Hand). However, the main focus of the franchise is a story arc set 200 years before the Skywalker Saga. It’s a time following the Jedi-Sith War, when the Sith Empire has been eradicated, and the Jedi Order and Republic have united to usher in an era of peace and prosperity.

The overarching story of The High Republic (Phases I & III) is about how The Republic and Jedi Order expanded into the Outer Rim territory, after having to negotiate some difficult socio-political-spiritual minefields in the region. The Republic launches “Starlight Beacon” in the Outer Rim, only to have their presence stir dark, deadly threats long dormant in the galaxy. One of those threats is the Nihil, a gang of galactic raiders who have secret technology at their disposal (like the “Path” hyperdrive), as well as ancient species of Force-consuming monsters that are set loose, like the plant monsters the Drengir, or the Force-eating monsters known as the “The Nameless” (or “Shrii Ka Rai”).

In the current “Phase III” arc of Star Wars: The High Republic (still ongoing at the time of writing this), The Jedi are down bad: The Nihil blow up Starlight Beacon, and between their raids on Republic settlements and use of the Nameless, even some of the most powerful and prominent Jedi of the time are killed in battle. The Nihil go a step further, as their master, Marchion Ro, uses his unique tech to block off a section of the Outer Rim Territories behind a Nihil energy barrier, claiming it as “Nihil space.” The Jedi are still working on infiltrating that “Occlusion Zone,” hoping to free these civilians, Jedi, and allies trapped inside, while stopping the Nihil once and for all.

Star Wars: The Acolyte Story Explained

(Photo: Lucasfilm / Disney+)

Star Wars: The Acolyte is set approximately 100 years before The Skywalker Saga – meaning it takes place about 100 years after Phases II & III of The High Republic. The show is “a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.”

As stated, The Acolyte is set within a largely undefined space in the Star Wars timeline – which is also a pivotal span of Star Wars chronology for showrunner Leslye Headland to be working in.

Star Wars: The Acolyte’s Franchise Connections Explained

Star Wars: The Acolyte will have to walk a tightrope between setting the stage for the clandestine return of the Sith (who finally have their “Revenge” during the Skywalker Saga), while also having to apply brushstrokes of implication about the outcome of the Jedi-Nihil War a century before.

There are also early rumors that material in The High Republic Phase II’s flashback story arc (about the different factions of Force users and their ideological conflicts) could be inspiring The Acolyte’s mysterious “coven of Force witches” led by Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith). Those same witches could, in turn, inspire later groups like The Nightsisters (who are featured in Star Wars: Ahsoka).

Finally, there are many Star Wars fans looking at The Acolyte as having a possible surprise twist of revealing the infamous Sith Lord Darth Plagueis “The Wise” as the Sith Lord threat in the show. Plagueis was the Sith Lord who trained Palpatine to become Darth Sidious. Plagueis and Palpatine did extensive research on how use to Force to manipulate Midi-chlorians to cheat death, striving to achieve immortality. Plagueis was ultimately poisoned by Palpatine, ending his story; however, Darth Plagueis rise to power as a Sith Lord, and recruitment of an apprentice (or apprentices) – when the Jedi Order was so strong – is definitely a story worth telling onscreen.

The Characters of Star Wars: The Acolyte Explained

(Photo: Disney+ / Lucasfilm)

One of The Acolyte’s standout characters, Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson), first appeared in The High Republic books. Vernestra is a young prodigy during the Phase I and Phase III storyline, but will appear in The Acolyte TV series as an older, wiser, Jedi, still wielding her purple whip-like lightsaber. As a Mirialan, Vernestra does have a long lifespan.

Squid Game star Lee Jung-Jae will play “Sol” a respected Jedi Master and teacher who takes on the investigation of who is murdering the Jedi. Logan star Dafne Keen plays “Jecki Lon,” Sol’s Padawan who joins him on the mission.

Amandla Stenberg plays “Mae,” a former Jedi Padawan who has become a warrior of uncertain allegiances.

Jodie Turner-Smith plays “Mother Aniseya,” leader of a coven of Force witches – allegiances also unknown.

Additional roles include The Good Place’s Manny Jacinto as “Qimir,” a former smuggler; YouTuber Abigail Thorn as “Ensign Eurus”; Charlie Barnett (YOU, Chicago Fire) as “Yord Fandar,” a bookish and by-the-numbers Jedi Knight; and veteran Star Wars actor Joonas Suotamo taking on a new Wookie role as “Kelnacca,” a Jedi living in solitude. Margarita Levieva (The Deuce), Amy Tsang (Velvet Buzzsaw), and David Harewood (Supergirl) in undisclosed roles.

MORE: Full List of The Acolyte Characters Explained

Premiere Date & How To Watch The Acolyte

(Photo: Disney)

Star Wars: The Acolyte has a release date of June 4, 2024. The Acolyte will premier with a two-episode release on June 4th, before releasing an additional six episodes weekly.

The Acolyte can only be streamed on Disney+ if you have a full subscription to the service.

How Many Seasons of The Acolyte Will There Be?

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

While only one season is confirmed, there are already hints that Star Wars: The Acolyte Season 2 is already in the plans:

“I would say that when I pitched it, I definitely pitched it as a multi-season show. There are a lot of things at the end of this season that I think are narrative threads that are not tied up, for sure,” Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland confirmed with Collider. “However, I am the type of writer that is not interested in an emotional cliffhanger. I want you to feel like you’ve had a particular type of catharsis, and an emotional experience in watching those eight episodes because I like rewarding the audience with that.”

More recently, producer Rayne Roberts also hinted a multiple seasons of The Acolyte:

“We want to make sure this season has an ending — some catharsis — but you always want to leave the door open. We’ve talked about where the story could go, and [showrunner] Leslye [Headland] has so many ideas — and like anything, if something’s successful, you can bet you’ll find other stories within it.”

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


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