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‘The Acolyte:’ Another Disappointment for Star Wars Fans

“The Acolyte” received an incredibly poor audience score of 37% with complaints about incompetent characters, slow and clunky action scenes, unrealistic character interactions and second-rate writing.
Key+Art+from+the+Star+Wars+Media+Team.
Key Art from the Star Wars Media Team.

 

On June 4, 2024, a two-episode premiere of “The Acolyte” dropped on the popular streaming service Disney+. With teaser trailers exciting fans at the possibility of seeing a darker side to Star Wars, many were excited to see what a story from the Sith could give fans.

In the first episode we meet a mysterious figure in a purple cloak walking into a small town. The figure begins to ask residents if they’ve seen a certain Jedi. After gaining information from the townsfolk, our mysterious stranger walks into a saloon and spots the Jedi. She reveals herself and challenges the Jedi. The Jedi, named Indara, portrayed by Carrie-Anne Moss, refuses to fight the individual until she begins to hurt people. The Jedi joins the fight to try and stop her from injuring others.  After a short fight between the two, our stranger wins, leaving Indara for dead. From here, the other Jedi hears of Indara’s death and begins a search for the killer. Without providing spoilers in episode two, we see the hunt for the killer begin as other lives of Jedi are on the line.

The Dark-Side of Storytelling

The title “Acolyte” leads us to believe we will be seeing the point of view of someone from the dark side. With a title such as that, expectations were set to see a darker and grittier side of the Star Wars universe. However, expectations were not met. Within the first two episodes we mainly follow the point-of-view of the Jedi. The dark and gritty implied by the title is thrown out by poorly written dialogue, emotionless characters, excessive exposition and cliches.

Expectations have been set high since the release and success of “Andor,” which received a 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 96% from the critics. Famously, Star Wars fans are critical of the series, and while “Andor” received criticism, it is the highest rated Star Wars show to date by fans and critics.

This is important because the title credits boasts that “The Acolyte” was brought to us by the same studio that created “Andor.” While both shows are Disney+ originals, this is misleading as not a single director from “Andor” made it onto the set of “The Acolyte.” In comparison, “Andor” blows “The Acolyte” out of the water in terms of writing, story and acting.

Audience Complaints

“The Acolyte” received an incredibly poor audience score of 23% with complaints about incompetent characters, slow and clunky action scenes, unrealistic character interactions and second-rate writing. Disney+ originals have suffered from similar issues in the past. Disney does not excel in “show don’t tell.” Instead, they “tell, and don’t show.” Extensive exposition from characters, unrealistic interactions and characters who unnecessarily explain their actions while doing them inhibit the viewer from any sort of deduction.

This treats the audience as if they are incapable of picking up on context clues and putting pieces together. It leaves no room for the imagination and puts everything onto the table creating absolutely no suspense. Scenes were predictable and bland, which left no appetite for more.

Unmet Expectations

With a budget of $22.5 million per episode compared to Andor’s $20.8 million per episode, the most expensive Star Wars series to date, the expectation was that “The Acolyte” would have incredible writing, acting and action. However, we were met with a cookie-cutter series that lacked any character.

What Disney excels in is set design and locational CGI. “The Acolyte” has its faults, but we get to see locations that expand our knowledge of the Star Wars universe. We see old and new planets with beautiful scenery and get a deeper look into the life of the characters of Star Wars.

Overall, expectations for the rest of the series are low. After “Andor,” things felt like they could finally get better for the Star Wars series. There was a possibility that new series could be treated with the care and attention to detail that director Tony Gilroy gave “Andor.” Yet the premier of “The Acolyte” feels like another colossal let down for fans new and old.

 

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@udy_ethan1

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About the Contributor
Ethan Udy
Ethan Udy, Arts Writer
(he/they) Ethan Udy is pursuing journalism as a career and for a degree. He seeks to spread information through objective writing and emotional photography work that will touch his audience. Outside of writing, he enjoys Utah’s unique scenery, writing music, landscape photography, and enjoying the company of good friends.

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