Star Wars: The Acolyte transports viewers to the era of The High Republic, 100 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. While the series starts by immediately getting into the murder mystery surrounding a group of Jedi and a Force-user assassin, there was a certain amount of world-building that showrunner Leslye Headland had to include in the first two episodes. After all, The High Republic is a time that most Star Wars fans are unfamiliar with – an era where the Republic and Jedi Order were at the height of their collective power.

However, with power comes some darker realities – and the Jedi are no exception. The Acolyte quickly establishes that at this point in the Star Wars timeline, the Jedi are keeping tight control of the Force and who can use it.

The Acolyte Reveals The Jedi’s Force Registration System

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

(SPOILERS) In the opening sequence of The Acolyte’s first episode, Jedi Master Indara (Carrie Anne-Moss) is attacked and ultimately killed by Force-user assassin Mae (Amandla Stenberg). However, when their duel begins, Indara is quick to report the attack over comms, informing the Jedi Order that she’s encountered “an unregistered Force user.”

That small bit of dialogue speaks volumes. Star Wars’ High Republic series of novels and comics have established that in the early days of that era (350 years before Phantom Menace) the Jedi Order was part of an entire “Convocation” of Force religions. To get to a point where, 250 years later, the Jedi are seemingly monitoring the galaxy and keeping a registry of everyone using the Force is… a massive jump.

Why does it matter? Well, The Acolyte seems to be challenging the idea that the Jedi are the benevolent peacekeeping Force users they tout themselves as being. Trailers for the show have teased in monologue that the show will question the politics of who is allowed to use power like the Force and why. It will also be showing fans, for the first time, where the pendulum started before it swung all the way over to the dark side and a Sith resurgence (Palpatine) that put the galaxy under the boot of the Empire and/or First Order, over a century later.

In that sense, The Acolyte seems to be fulfilling its obligation to show cracks in the Jedi Order that eventually results in its collapse. The idea that the Jedi controlled the Force to this degree looks disturbingly familiar to what the Empire and Sith would do later, with their Inquisitors and such – a detail Headland clearly wants fans to think about. Other details – like Sol and Yord both invading people’s minds on a whim – only echo the level of privilege and authority the Jedi use the Force with in this time. And we the audience know just how much it will cost them…

Star Wars: The Acolyte is now streaming on Disney+.


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