The Acolyte Creator Reveals Why New Star Wars Series Is Set in High Republic Era

Star Wars: The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland explains why she chose to set the show in The High Republic era.

Star Wars: The Acolyte brings viewers to a whole new era of the Star Wars timeline: The High Republic Era, which ran from 350 years to 200 years before the start of the Skywalker Saga. However, The Acolyte will be the first Star Wars property to bring the story of the High Republic into its waning days, roughly 100 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. 

There's been a lot of buzz in the Star Wars fandom about why The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland chose to set the story of the series in that largely undefined period in the Star Wars canon. And during the press day for Star Wars: The Acolyte, we had to ask Headland for more explanation on that topic: 

"If I want to tell my own story, what am I the most interested in? And it was the rise of the Sith," Headland explained. "How did the 'Rule of Two' continue for all of this time until Sidious and Maul reveal themselves in The Phantom Menace? So that just sparked, for me, the most interesting place for it [the show] to take place. 

Why Is Star Wars: The Acolyte Set In The High Republic Era? 

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

The big selling point of The High Republic has been its depiction of The Jedi during a time when their power and ranks are at their respective strongest, after the Jedi-Sith War. Even as the dark side of the Force has appeared to threaten the Jedi and Republic at times, it's been relegated to groups of non-Force users employing using dark side as an anti-Jedi weapon, or ancient Force-sensitive creatures running amok. No Sith appear in that High Republic span of 350-200 years before The Phantom Menace; as Leslye Headland tells it, The Acolyte will track how the Sith threat secretly rebuilt itself in the final part of that era: 

"I think The High Republic is just a place where the Jedi find themselves almost a little too safe," Headland explained. "They're almost in this place where they can't imagine a threat coming at them. So I think what Mae starts with them is something that really ruffles their feathers. They definitely were not expecting someone to come at them straight-on."

With that kind of thematic arc, The Acolyte could end up echoing what life has been for many Millennial generation Star Wars fans: a sense of safety and stability that gets utterly shattered by tragedy: 

"We're taking place in a part of the timeline where the Jedi have no reason to think that anybody would mess with them," Headland said. "And therefore I think you see the characters sinking into different versions of their own comfort." 

How these characters react to the role of Jedi suddenly being thrown into question – and the offer of a different path with the Sith – is why we'll be tuning into The Acolyte when it starts streaming on June 4th on Disney+