‘The Acolyte’ Showrunner Talks ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ Influence

The Acolyte comes from Russian Doll scribe Leslye Headland.

Rayne Roberts Leslye Headland The Acolyte Star Wars The High Republic Disney Plus Amandla Stenberg

The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland discussed the impact Star Wars: The Phantom Menace had on her career.

Leslye Headland is currently developing The Acolyte for Disney Plus, a Star Wars series in the final days of the High Republic. Details are relatively slim on the series, but it’s set to be one of many Star Wars live-action series that Disney has commissioned following the success of The Mandalorian.

Best known for creating the Netflix sci-fi comedy series Russian Doll, Headland revealed in an interview with The Wrap that she’s always been a Star Wars fan. In fact, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace appears to have had a profound impact on the trajectory of her career.

“The reason it did appeal to me personally is that I was 18 when ‘Phantom Menace’ came out, and I was a very, very big ‘Star Wars’ fan. I remain a big ‘Star Wars’ fan, but at that particular time, right after the re-releases and the fact that I was in high school, it just kind of all coincided at a time where I was discovering who I was sexually, I was discovering who I was artistically, I was kind of realizing what I wanted to do with my life. And then this big, huge movie event, cultural event happened that was ‘The Phantom Menace.'”

Despite the less than ideal reception that Star Wars: The Phantom Menace had, Headland discussed how interesting it was that George Lucas technically started the series at that point, with Anakin being so young and the Jedi thriving but still facing conflict.

“I know there were varying reactions to it. And certainly there were a lot of people that had grown up with the original trilogy who were disappointed by it. But I actually was very intrigued by why George Lucas had started us at that particular point.”

Headland’s The Acolyte is set around 200 years before The Phantom Menace, in a time that was notably peaceful. And while she doesn’t explicitly mention it, she does discuss how interesting it would be to explore what happened in the universe before Lucas started The Phantom Menace. It is entirely possible that The Acolyte could directly lead (or tease) into The Phantom Menace.

“I kind of wondered, but what happened to lead up to this? That’s kind of where my ‘Star Wars’ fan brain went was like, ‘How did we get here?’ And why are the Jedi like this? When they are in power, why are they acting this way and how is it that they’re not having the reaction that you would think they would to Anakin’s presence and what Qui-Gon Jinn is saying about how passionately he feels about training him and bringing him into the fold. It’s like, even the discovery of Darth Maul is kind of met with this like, ‘Hm, interesting’ kind of feeling. So I just think for me, my brain has always buzzed around that area and wondered what’s going on here — or what has been going on here.”

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The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito, and Carl Weathers with Rosario Dawson rumored to be playing Ahsoka Tano and Timothy Olyphant as Cobb Vanth. The upcoming series is set to be directed by series creator Jon Favreau, executive producer Dave Filoni, alongside fellow season one directors Rick Famuyiwa and Bryce Dallas Howard. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed will also helm at least one episode as will star Carl Weathers and Sin City director Robert Rodriguez.

The Mandalorian season two episodes premiere every Friday on Disney Plus. Stay tuned for all the latest news on Star Wars: The Acolyte and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.

Source: The Wrap