The Acolyte Requires Zero Star Wars Homework

The Acolyte Requires Zero Star Wars Homework

One of the biggest problems with Star Wars of late is, oftentimes, it can feel like homework. You could watch Ahsoka without having seen Rebels, but it made a lot more sense if you had. Andor works without seeing Rogue One but is definitely bolstered by it. And all the other movies and shows are set immediately before, after, or during other stories we’ve seen in other places. Something additional is always required to fully understand and appreciate the next story.

It’s been a long time—heck, maybe even going back to 1977—since Star Wars had a clean, simple, accessible entry point. A place anyone could join in without any prior knowledge and just enjoy as a Star Wars story. But that’s exactly what we’re getting next week with The Acolyte.

On the surface, The Acolyte seems like more of the same. It’s set 100 years before the events of The Phantom Menace during the end of the High Republic, a time period that has primarily been explored in print media. There are dozens of books and probably a hundred characters that have been created for that era. It seems daunting. But, even though The Acolyte is set in and around the High Republic, zero knowledge of it is required to enjoy the show.

“This is a fresh entry point,” Acolyte creator Leslye Headland told a group of Star Wars fansites recently. “[A familiarity with The High Republic] would definitely elevate the show if you’ve had the experience of immersing yourself in that beautiful world. But you certainly don’t need to have read anything or know any references to it.”

Having seen the first two episodes of the show, that openness is immediately apparent and appreciated. The story drops us in with all new characters, all new worlds, all new stories, and we just go along for the ride. All you really need to know are the building blocks of Star Wars: Jedi, the Force, lightsabers, etc. If you know and like that stuff, you’ve done all the preparation you need.

“We’re taking place a bit out, a bit closer to the prequels than the High Republic,” Headland continued. “So hopefully we have enough referencing of the High Republic but we’re not leaning on it narratively to support our story. I would like to think our story stands on its own.”

And a Star Wars story that stands on its own for everyone to enjoy is a very good thing indeed. The Acolyte debuts with its first two episodes June 4 on Disney+.

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