Star Wars: The Acolyte is easily one of the most intriguing projects to debut in the modern Star Wars franchise. The show is set in a time period on the Star Wars timeline that’s never been explored before (100 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace); it’s also the first onscreen adaptation of the Star Wars High Republic era, which has been explored in the pages of novels and comics since 2021.

And yet, most fans coming to The Acolyte are curious about the Jedi murder mystery that drives the show’s narrative – as well as the martial arts action that showrunner Leslye Headland has infused into the series. Judging by those metrics, The Acolyte Episode 1 delivers everything fans wanted (and more) in its premiere.

Stars Wars: The Acolyte Episode 1 Recap (SPOILERS)

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Opening CrawlStar Wars series is starting to deviate from the traditional opening “crawl” that establishes the period and larger context of the story. The Acolyte forgoes the “continuous scroll” format of Skywalker Saga crawls, instead having a couple of contextual paragraphs fade into the screen, in a blue-colored font (instead of traditional yellow). The crawl reads: “A hundred years before the rise of the Empire, it is a time of peace. The Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic have prospered for centuries without war / But in the dark corners of the galaxy, a powerful few learn to use the Force in secret / One of them, a long assassin, risks discovery to seek revenge… “

Indara vs Mae – On planet Ueda, mysterious Force warrior Mae (Amandla Stenberg) tracks Jedi Master Indara (Carrie Anne-Moss) to a cantina in a rundown and remote village. After paying a snitch for Indara’s location, Mae enters the cantina and confronts the Jedi master directly. Mae is very dramatic, striking a fighting pose and challenging Indara to ‘attack her’ with “all your strength.” The table of drinkers that Indara is with all bust out laughing; Indara tries to de-escalate the situation by claiming that Jedi aren’t aggressors in fights – a comment Mae vehemently disagrees with, as she starts to attack. Indara’s bar buddies get thrashed, but the Jedi Master is not so easily beaten. After being bested in a first rough of fisticuffs, Mae trie to take a Cantina patron hostage and uses her to distract Indara. When Indara subdues Mae on the upper balcony of the cantina, she spots a circular mark on the young girl’s forehead, recognizing it, and Mae as someone from the past. Mae breaks free and the battle comes down to blades: Mae uses a set of throwing knives, while Indara pulls her lightsaber. Indara tries to talk Mae away from the dark path she’s embarking on, and even lowers her saber in a show of peace. Instead, Mae sets a deadly trap, Force-pushing a knife directly at the bartender. Indara has to redirect her power to Force-grab the knife before the bartender is killed, leaving just enough of an opening for Mae to Force-push a second knife into her heart. MAJOR SPOILER: Indara dies on the floor the Cantina; Mae goes to finish off the bartender (the only witness), but when she sees that his young child is clinging to him in terror, she has a slight moment of emotion, walking away and letting them live.


Blue-Collar Twin – A girl who looks just like Mae, Osha (also Amandla Stenberg) wakes up from a nightmare in her bed aboard a Trade Federation freighter ship. Osha gets herself calmed and centered again, before she’s greeted by her changeable mini-droid unit, “Pip.” Pip is a little excitable; a flashing red beacon in Osha’s quarters signals that she has a job to report to. In the halls of the ship, she runs into her co-worker “Phillip” who playfully chastises her for not joining the other repair crew workers on a drinking outing. Osha touts her privacy, and the two co-workers get to work walking on the hull of the ship to fix the shield. The Trade Federation delegates complain about employing organic repair crew (Mechnics) instead of droids – discrimination that Osha has clearly heard before, based on her witty comebacks. The point is slightly made, however, when a pressure valve blows out; the site of the fire that’s caused triggers Mae, and we hear some horrific screams echoing across her memory. Phillip gets Osha’s mind back on task, and she puts out the flames – just in time to see a Jedi Star Cruiser docking.

Classmates of Coruscant – Jedi Knight Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett) arrives with his padawan to question Osha. The Trade Federation delegate who meets them tries to lie that they wouldn’t be using illegal non-droid laborers as repair crew; Yord starts to get the truth via Jedi Mind Trick, but the female delegate reveals where Osha is. Osha finds Yord waiting in her quarters, and is happy to see him, clearly indicating that they were once padwans together studying at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant – that Osha left the order while Yord graduated to Jedi Knight two years ago. Osha is all about a friendly reunion, but when she reaches to plug Pip into his charging stand, Yord grabs for his lightsaber. Things get awkward and Osha requests to know what’s going on: Yord has his Padawan interrogate her about what she’s been doing since leaving the Jedi Order six years prior; Osha states that being an almost-Jedi paid no bills, so she’s been a mechanic ever since. Yord tries to apply “logic” to the case, locking into the idea that Osha is the killer; Osha, meanwhile, seems to have no idea what they’re talking about. The scene offers a lot of exposition on Osha’s time training as a Jedi; the troubles that made her leave (the death of her entire tribe and sister), and how leaving was her choice. None of the debate matters when Yord brings in the cantina owner from Ueda, who points out Osha as the killer. Yord arrests her and escorts her to a prison transport ship that will deliver her to the Jedi Council on Coruscant.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Bad Teacher – In the Jedi Temple on Coruscantwe meet Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) and his padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen). Sol is teaching a class of younglings how to meditate and achieve clairvoyance by reaching out through the Force. Sol is approached by Jedi Master Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson); Rwoh informs Sol that his friend Indara is dead and that Osha is in custody for her murder. Although stoic, Sol has conflicted feelings about his history with Osha, and Mae, and the tragic events between them. He doubts that Osha would murder Indara, but Rwoh can’t see any other logical suspect than a Jedi-in-training who defected. Sol references he and Indara’s bond with Osha over the tragic fire on her home planet and the Jedi saving her, raising his doubts about Osha’s guilt; Rwoh outright asks if Sol will support her (and the Jedi) and tracking down Osha, to wich Sol dutifully agrees.

Prison Breakers – While on the Repblic prison transport ship, Osha finds herself the unwitting accomplice to a prison break. One goons she’s locked up with, a cyborg, hijacks the droid pilots, while an alien with a long tendril on his head grabs a droid jailer and uses its hand to open the cells. The goons free everyone but Osha (and another poor convict who is being fed on by a parasite) and get away in the escape pods. As the ship starts to come apart in hyperspace, Pip falls out of a cargo hold, just out of Osha’s reach. The girl tries to focus and use a Force grab to retrieve Pip – only to fail miserably. Instead, fate intervenes: another bump of turbulence put Pip into Osha’s reach; she wakes the droid up and has him short out the cell doors; as Osha’s heading to the last escape pod she’s compelled to help the convict laid out with the parasite on his face. Pip zaps the creepy parasite (which scurries away into the ventilation system); however, when the man wakes up he flees in hysteria, taking the last escape pod for himself. Stranded, Osha straps herself into the cockpit’s passenger seat and braces for impact. The ship crash lands on the snowy terrain of the nearest planet (Carlac, an old Star Wars favorite) and skids to a halt on the ice, intact.

Past Lessons – Sol is looking at a holo image of Osha, which Jecki objects to, as it seems like sentimentality the Jedi are supposed to let go of. Sol counters that memories of the past keep one from repeating its mistakes. Master and padawan are summoned to the detention cells by Rwoh, where all the escaped convicts from Osha’s ship have been re-captured. Sol uses Jedi Mind abilities to read the prisoners and interview the one that Osha saved from the parasite. At first, the convict lies, screaming that Osha is the evil Jedi killer they’re searching for; after Sol uses a Jedi Mind Trick on him, the convict hypnotically admits to Osha saving his life, and him betraying her. Rwoh thinks Osha must be dead by Sol senses she’s alive. sol wants to take accountability for his wayward former student and Rwoh reluctantly says yes dispatching Sol with a small team to retrieve Osha from Carlac.

The Darker Half – Osha awakes in the snow-covered cockpit of the crashed ship, only to find a hooded figure there with her. Meanwhile, Sol and Jecki are recruiting Yord for the mission – even though he’s half-naked and in the middle of ironing his robes. Back on Carlac, Osha catches up to the small hooded figure leading her around and discovers it’s the child version of Mae. Mae’s avatar changes the scene from Carlac to their home planet of Brendok, where the forest begins burning. Child-Mae runs away with Osha chasing, reciting some nursery rhyme they shared, about two people being one. At the end, Osha finds she is able to converse with “Mae,” who confirms she’s still alive and that she killed Master Indara. Child-Made’s eyes turn black as she proclaims she will kill all the Jedi. Osha actually awakens to find she’s still in the cockpit of the ship and never left. She tells Pip with some level of disbelief.

Reunited by Force – Sol, Yord, and Lecki are en route to Carlac, and Sol takes the time to fill them in on key history: how Osha was a twin, and how her twin sister burned down their home on Brendok, killing their people. Sol claims he “saw” Mae die, making her seeming return even more of a mystery. The ship reaches Carlac and they three Jedi take a drop ship to the surface. Osha sees them coming and goes into hiding. Yord thinks Osha’s dead, but Lecki notices the details of her survival. Sol senses her presence and they give pursuit. The chase goes on until Osha nearly falls from a cliff – Sol saves her with a Force grab, pulling her back on and convinces Osha to come with them – without the handcuffs Yord and Jecki want to slap on her.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

The Dark Master – Mae is seen arriving on a new planet ready to kill her next target. She meets with her master, who is standing on an ocean cliffside in a black helmet and cape. The master recites a sermon about how Jedi’s time of power and peace was a dream, and an “acolyte kills the dream.” The master ignites a red lightsaber.


Star Wars: The Acolyte streams new episodes Tuesday nights on Disney+.


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