‘Star Wars’: ‘The Acolyte’ Showrunner Talks George Lucas’ Influence & Political Themes

"George Lucas made it political."

The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland talked about George Lucas’ influence on the upcoming Star Wars series.

Lucasfilm has many projects in the works for Disney Plus, and The Acolyte from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland is a series shrouded in more mystery than the others. All we know about The Acolyte so far is that the Star Wars series will be a mystery-thriller set near the end of the High Republic era that is currently being explored in publishing. In a recent interview with The A.V. Club, Headland spoke on honoring what George Lucas did with the franchise on her series:

“We’re all just following in George’s footsteps. He is such a deep worshiper of film, and not just the medium of film, but the history of film and the way film has been used, and all the different genres that he infused the original trilogy with is something that only he can do. He was such a believer of “film as tone poem,” that it only makes sense that people who are doing their own side stories or their own series or their own standalones. It makes sense that they’re kind of taking one aspect that he may have been interested in, or are taking inspiration from and infusing it into their particular content.

When you watch his original trilogy, you can kind of pick out all the different references, all the different things that he pulled from. And then there’s the kind of gestalt of how everything comes together and is so much greater than just the reference, which is what kind of ended up happening in the ’90s. There were all these references being made and recognized. It’s the same with being online—we’ve either seen a clip of it or we’ve seen the movie. Whereas, someone like George, he had to be a dogged admirer and ardent devotee to the art of cinema, in order to be cherry-picking the way that he did.”

Leslye Headland also dived more into the different genres and political themes of George Lucas’ Star Wars and teases The Acolyte will follow suit:

“In a way, that’s why that ends up happening. I don’t know for sure, but if I had to take a guess as to why the standalones and the series ended up feeling like we’re going to move just into this particular space or we’re going to lean into this particular genre, which we know inspired George. And that goes for ideology as well. I mean, it’s funny, because a lot of the feedback that I’ll get—and I use the term feedback very lightly—but when I do go on social media, the feedback is “Don’t make Star Wars political.” I’m like, “George Lucas made it political. Those are political films.” War is, by nature, political. That’s just what’s up. It’s truly what he was interested in talking about and looking at and digging into. So it’s kind of impossible to tell a story within his universe that doesn’t have to do with something that has to be that the characters see externally reflected in whatever’s happening in the galaxy at that particular time period of when it takes place. You know? That’s another thing that we all kind of inherited from him as well, and hope to kind of keep reflecting in the work, hopefully.”

What are your thoughts on Leslye Headland’s comments? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Here is the synopsis for the first book in the High Republic era, Star Wars: Light of the Jedi:

It is a golden age. Intrepid hyperspace scouts expand the reach of the Republic to the furthest stars, worlds flourish under the benevolent leadership of the Senate, and peace reigns, enforced by the wisdom and strength of the renowned order of Force users known as the Jedi. With the Jedi at the height of their power, the free citizens of the galaxy are confident in their ability to weather any storm But the even brightest light can cast a shadow, and some storms defy any preparation.

When a shocking catastrophe in hyperspace tears a ship to pieces, the flurry of shrapnel emerging from the disaster threatens an entire system. No sooner does the call for help go out than the Jedi race to the scene. The scope of the emergence, however, is enough to push even Jedi to their limit. As the sky breaks open and destruction rains down upon the peaceful alliance they helped to build, the Jedi must trust in the Force to see them through a day in which a single mistake could cost billions of lives.

Even as the Jedi battle valiantly against calamity, something truly deadly grows beyond the boundary of the Republic. The hyperspace disaster is far more sinister than the Jedi could ever suspect. A threat hides in the darkness, far from the light of the age, and harbors a secret that could strike fear into even a Jedi’s heart.

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Source: A.V. Club

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden's affection for all things DC, Marvel, and Star Wars has led him to entertainment journalism at Heroic Hollywood as a News Editor.