The newest live-action Star Wars TV series on Disney+ may be set in the High Republic Era, but it’s easy to tell just how much the show was influenced by George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. The fight scenes and transitions throughout the first two episodes of Star Wars: The Acolyte will remind fans of the prequels, but there is also a much more direct, on-screen connection to that era tucked into the series premiere. We’re talking about none other than the Trade Federation.

The Trade Federation played a massive role in 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, when the group was at the height of its power. The massive conglomerate was an instrumental tool in Palpatine’s plan to bring down the Galactic Republic, and the aliens have been the subject of criticism over the years for their portrayal of various stereotypes.

We haven’t seen the Trade Federation in live-action Star Wars projects in quite a while, but that changes with the first episode of The Acolyte. They don’t seem to be playing a major role, but main character Osha is initially found working as a mechanic on a ship run by a couple members of the Trade Federation.

They get a little screen time, and it’s clear that positive changes were made to these characters to remove some of the overt stereotypes that plagued the original versions in Phantom Menace. In addition to their appearance, their voices are a bit different as well.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

If you’ve been reading the books or comics set in the High Republic Era, you probably know that the Trade Federation had roots in the time period. It was during this era that the Trade Federation actually began, though they initially operated predominately on the Outer Rim.

Set during The High Republic, Star Wars: The Acolyte delivers an investigation into a mysterious string of crimes, which pits a Jedi master against his former apprentice in a race to uncover the truth. The more that the pair learn about the situation, the darker their journey becomes, as they confront things that darker than either of them could have imagined.

The series stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss. The first two episodes of Star Wars: The Acolyte are now streaming on Disney+.


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