The Acolyte is the most intriguing of the upcoming slate of Star Wars shows coming to Disney+ in the near future. The live-action series helmed by Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland takes place 100 years before The Phantom Menace and is described as a “mystery-thriller” that will follow a Jedi Master and their former padawan as they “investigate a series of crimes.” But it also brings the Sith into focus, according to cast member Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials).
“It’s kind of an explanation of how the Sith infiltrated the Jedi,” Keen revealed to Tech Radar. “It’s a Sith-led story, which has never been done before.”
The show, which stars Amandla Stenberg (Bodies Bodies Bodies) and Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game), is poised to introduce the Jedi and Sith who lived in the final days of the High Republic era, the so-called galactic “golden age” that preceded the fall of the Republic in the Prequel Trilogy. And while we’ve yet to learn concrete details about all these new heroes and villains, photos snapped from the show’s UK set and posted on Twitter finally give us our first look at some of these characters.
The most notable of the bunch are a pair of set photos of Lee Jung-jae dressed in traditional Jedi garb. Is he the Jedi Master that the series’ official synopsis is referring to? In the pictures, we see him walking through a forest area with his hood over his head, suggesting he’s sneaking around. Is he in the middle of investigating a lead here?
Dean-Charles Chapman, who played King Tommen Baratheon in Game of Thrones, was also spotted on the set. He appears to be playing a Jedi padawan, as evidenced by his long braid. While the show’s synopsis alludes to a “former Padawan reuniting with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes,” Chapman’s character obviously isn’t the central padawan in question.
The set photos also reveal that series will feature a few non-human Jedi characters. Below, you can see what looks like a Zabrak dressed in Jedi robes, as well as a Wookiee in slightly modified knight garb. Really digging the sleeveless look, if we’re being honest.
While we’ve seen Zabraks wielding lightsabers in live-action before, thanks to Darth Maul, this does seem to be the very first time we get a Wookiee Jedi in one of the live-action movies or TV shows. The High Republic books and comics set a century before The Acolyte also feature a Wookiee Jedi named Burryaga Agaburry, so it’s nice to see that throughline here, even if it’s likely to be a different Wookiee character on the show.
Last but not least is another mystery character who doesn’t appear to be a Jedi at all. Armed with a rifle and a really questionable hairdo, this female character might be a bounty hunter or some kind of law enforcement official on whatever planet they’re supposed to be on. The above tweet also suggests that this is Dafne Keen’s character, but it doesn’t really look like her, so take that with a grain of salt. Either way, we really like their outfit.
Not pictured in any of these set photos is Stenberg. It remains unclear whether they’re meant to play the padawan or a Sith character. Or maybe the padawan is an undercover Sith acolyte? We have lots of questions. But when we asked Stenberg about being cast in The Acolyte at SDCC 2022, they were careful not to spoil anything, instead talking about how they were preparing for the role.
“My whole life is Star Wars,” Stenberg told Den of Geek. “I wake up and I think about Star Wars. I watch Star Wars before I go to sleep. I read Star Wars. I listen to Star Wars podcasts. My life has been transformed to be dedicated to this one universe, which is actually really fun and liberating. To finally be able to share it with people who love the universe so much, especially because they contribute so much to it…I’m just so excited!”
The Acolyte is coming to Disney+, but no release date has been set. In the meantime, you can check out the full schedule of upcoming Star Wars movies and TV series here.