New Star Wars original series 'The Acolyte' set 100 years in the past, streaming on Disney+

The two-episode premiere of "The Acolyte," a Star Wars Original series, is streaming on Disney+.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
New Star Wars series 'The Acolyte' streaming on Disney+
It's a brand new Star Wars story, with new characters and storylines and 'The Acolyte' takes us back - WAY back -- to the beginning.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Streaming on Disney+, it's a brand new Star Wars story, with new characters and storylines.

"The Acolyte" takes us back, way back, 100 years. It's being called a Star Wars crime thriller.

Here, a respected Jedi Master faces a dangerous warrior from his past.

"Squid Games" actor Lee Jung-jae plays Master Sol.

"It takes place on a timeline 100 years before any pre-existing Star Wars universes," says Lee Jung-jae, translated from his native Korean. "So, technically, I'm the first Jedi we get to know, even before all the Jedi that exist within the franchise."

Lee Jung-jae learned English for this role.

"When I was a kid watching Star Wars for the first time, it was such a sensational experience. I still remember it crystal clear," he says.

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Creator Leslye Headland, a lifelong Star Wars fan, is the first woman to create a series for the franchise. She created the lead role, or roles, with Amandla Stenberg in mind.

Stenberg plays his twins Mae and Osha.

"I was already in love with her," Headland says. "I had to introduce her to who I was."

Headland set "The Acolyte" a century before "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace." Both Headland and Stenberg are loyal, lifelong Star Wars superfans.

"I think I cried several times during our meeting," Stenberg says.

"I definitely did," Headland adds. "We cried, I think, because it means a lot to us. I do think it was a spiritual intellectual bonding over what we both love and what we thought would be fun to play around in if we got the chance, which we did!"

Stenberg is also a violinist. Disney asked her to play her version of the Star Wars theme song.

"It's also my favorite theme song," Stenberg says. They said, 'John Williams is going to arrange a solo violin arrangement of it for you.' I mean, that's one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me."

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On playing twins, Stenberg says there was a process.

"It felt like putting different parts of myself into two different people," she says. "And understanding how those parts of myself reflect each other and conflict with each other."

Jodie Turner-Smith plays Aniseya. She says watching the trailer was an emotional experience.

"Literally, when it finished, I screamed and punched the air," Turner-Smith says. "I'm just so excited and thrilled."

"The Acolyte" starts with a shocking crime spree.

"This takes place about 100 years before the first movie and it's a time of peace," says Rebecca Henderson, who plays Vernestra Rwoh. "There's this inciting incident where someone is killing Jedi and it accelerates."

These characters are new and the storyline is fresh, yet, familiar.

"I think we're incredibly proud to have produced something that's also somewhat taking a risk," says Manny Jacinto, who plays Qimir. "It's territory that's beyond, or outside of, the Skywalker saga. There are brand new characters, brand new communities. I think, if anything, this will, fingers crossed, add on to a greater legacy that is Star Wars already."

The two-episode premiere of "The Acolyte," a Star Wars Original series, premieres today on Disney+.