‘Star Wars’ show ‘Acolyte’ merges murder mystery with family drama

June 10, 2024 - 2:53 PM
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Manny Jacinto attends the special launch event of the new Star Wars series "The Acolyte" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 23, 2024. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

For Amandla Stenberg, the “Star Wars” franchise is about how trauma affects everyone and how the inability to accept and process it makes people more vulnerable to corruption.

The “Hunger Games” actor stars in the new eight-episode Star Wars series “The Acolyte” on Disney+ DIS.N as Mae, a character with complicated family problems and a strong connection to the Force.

There is “a lot of family drama,” Stenberg said in an interview.

“The Acolyte” takes place at the end of the fictional High Republic era, about 100 years before the events of the 1999 film “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.”

Things take a turn when Mae is accused of murder and a Jedi master named Sol, played by Lee Jung-jae, is sent to investigate – but finds out there are greater powers at work.

Mae becomes allies with the former smuggler Qimir, played by Manny Jacinto, and together they embark on a journey.

“Well, the show is anchored in a murder mystery, for one, and you layer that with the action of the lightsaber fights, you layer that with the practicality of the sets, I think all of these elements combine to just offer something different for the fans,” Jacinto said in an interview at the show’s premiere.

“The Acolyte” begins streaming on Disney+ on Wednesday.

Series creator Leslye Headland praised George Lucas for doing a brilliant job of telling the story of the fall of the Jedi, which set the groundwork for this science-fiction series.

The show reveals a different iteration of the Force than that which the Jedi use, a form used by a coven of witches from the planet Brendock, who raised Mae.

“As far as the witches of Brendock are concerned, the Jedi don’t necessarily feel that they should be using The Force, right?” said Jodie Turner-Smith, who plays Mae’s mother, Aniseya, who is known for the movie “Queen & Slim.”

“So, they represent people that exist outside what is supposed to be allowed or OK, right? And so that presents its own conversations, so then what does that mean and what does that say about the world? And what does that say about the Jedi?” she added.

—Reporting by Rollo Ross and Danielle Broadway; editing by Jonathan Oatis