Star Wars: The Acolyte Episode 3 “Destiny” (predictably) set off a major bomb within the Star Wars fandom, but some of the wrong content is getting hit with the shrapnel.

The Acolyte has been one of the biggest targets for “review bombing” campaigns – wherein angry fans purposefully swarm aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, and leave enough bad reviews to push the overall average score down. The only problem with the current review bombing campaign is that some of the angry types doing the bombing are picking the wrong targets!

The 2008 film Acolytes has had its Rotten Tomatoes score lowered over the last week to 33% (at the time of writing this); ironically enough, that film stars Joel Edgerton, who is one of the stars of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, as well as the Obi-Wan TV series. Acolytes is about “Three teens (Sebastian Gregory, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Joshua Payne)” who “blackmail a serial killer (Joel Edgerton) into helping them get rid of a violent bully (Michael Dorman).” That’s a long way from what Star Wars: The Acolyte is doing with its story – as well as some pretty compelling evidence that reading comprehension levels are down.

It’s a more understandable error that the 2022 fan film The Acolyte: A Star Wars Fan Film is taking hits on IMDB (down to 1.7 out of 10 stars, at the time of writing this); at least that has both “Acolyte” and “Star Wars” in the title. That said, it’s more unfortunate that a film made by passionate Star Wars fans is being unfairly marked as “bad” by people trying to splash their anger all over the franchise they supposedly love.

(SPOILERS) The Acolyte has inarguably sparked one of the biggest waves of criticism and backlash for a Star Wars project – and that’s saying something. The Disney era of Star Wars (The Sequel Trilogy, the Disney+ series) has generally been hounded by criticism for everything from nostalgia-baiting to a pronounced focus on increasing diversity. Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Acolyte has become the two biggest lightning rods, as they both have challenged the foundations of Star Wars lore, by expanding the concept of what the “Force” even is, and who can access it.

The Acolyte and The Last Jedi are also the two works that challenge the idea that the Jedi are hero archetypes, as well as the idea that the Jedi and Sith are the only two poles of good and evil that define the Force. It’s pretty clear now that there is an entire section of the Star Wars fandom that only wants that version of the story.

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


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