Star Wars Behind the Scenes: Creating The Acolyte’s Unique Aesthetic

Enlarge / A mysterious assassin targets Jedi masters in The acolyte.


The Star Wars franchise is approaching 50 years since the original 1977 film that started it all, and Disney+ has successfully kept things fresh with its line of live-action Star Wars spinoff series. The Mandalorian and Andor were indisputably popular and critical hits, while The Boba Fett book In the end it was disappointing, focusing less on our favorite bounty hunter and more on setting up the third season of The Mandalorian. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka fell somewhere in the middle, bolstered by solid performances from its leads but often criticized for its slow pacing.

It’s unclear where the latest addition to the TV franchise is located. The acolyte, will eventually fall, but the first five episodes aired so far bode well for its place in the growing canon. The series eschews the usual Star Wars space battle for a quieter Western space detective story (who’s killing the galaxy’s greatest Jedi masters?) with highly choreographed fight scenes that rely heavily on martial arts. . And like his predecessors, The Acolyte Star Wars is recognizable. However, it also has its own unique aesthetic style.

(Spoilers below for episodes 1-5 of The acolyte.)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Galactic Republic and its Jedi masters symbolized the epitome of enlightenment and peace. Then came the inevitable fall and outbreak of war as the Sith, who embraced the Dark Side of the Force, rose to power. The acolyte explores those final days of the Republic when the seeds of its destruction were sown.

The eight-episode series was created by Leslye Headland. It is set at the end of the High Republic Era, approximately a century before the events of The Phantom Menace. Apparently, Headland launched quite brazenly The acolyte as “Frozen Satisfies kill bill“She was based on wuxia Martial arts films are a source of inspiration, just as George Lucas was originally inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s westerns and samurai films. In this period, the Jedi are not the helpless rebels fighting against the evil Galactic Empire. They are at the peak of their power and represent the dominant, presumably benevolent institution, but that could depend on one’s perspective. Headland particularly wanted to explore the question of how Darth Sidious managed to rise to power and infiltrate the Galactic Senate without the Jedi suspecting him.

The acolyte The film begins on the planet Ueda, where a mysterious masked woman wielding daggers attacks Jedi Master Indara (Carrie Ann Moss) and kills her. (This was a total waste of a talented “name” actor, but it certainly put her into play early.) The killer is quickly identified as Osha Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg), a former Padawan who now works as a Meknek, making repairs on starships.

Osha is arrested by her former classmate, Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett), but claims she is innocent. She has a vision about her twin sister, Mae, who died in a fire on their home planet, Brendok, when they were both very young. She concludes that Mae is still alive and is the one who killed Indara. Osha’s former Jedi Master, Sol (Lee Jung-jae), believes her. This is confirmed when we see Mae reunited with her mysterious Master, who wields a red lightsaber and orders her to kill a Jedi without using a weapon.

We finally learn that Mae’s goals are not random. She is determined to kill the four Jedi she blames for the fire at Brendok: Indara, Sol, Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman), and a Wookiee Jedi named Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo). The quartet had arrived at Brendok to demand that they be allowed to test the twins as potential Jedi. The twins had been raised by a coven of “Force witches” there, led by Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith), who believed that the Jedi were misusing the Force. While Mae was eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps, Osha wanted to train with the Jedi. When the fire broke out, both Mae and Osha believed that the other twin had been killed along with the rest of the coven. How the fire really started and the identity of Mae’s Master are the main mysteries that remain to be revealed.

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Enlarge / The acolyte It is set in the High Republic Era.


Star Wars has always had a distinctive style and visual language. The acolyte It sports some of the sleek advanced civilization look characteristic of the prequel trilogy, with just enough of an inhabited look to ensure it still feels like Star Wars, before the inevitable decline following the collapse of the Republic and the establishment of the Empire. . Production designer Kevin Jenkins and director of photography Chris Teague played key roles in ensuring The acolyte He stayed true to that spirit while also giving the series its own distinctive look.

Ars spoke with Teague and Jenkins to learn more.

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