The Acolyte’s Leslye Headland Explains Her Show’s Influences

Anakin Skywalker looking at a departing Ahsoka Tano the Star Wars: Clone Wars episode

Image: Lucasfilm/Cartoon Network

During last week’s Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm provided a brief look at its upcoming series The Acolyte. The new show bucks the trend of other recent shows in the franchise by focusing on the Sith during the time of the High Republic. And one of the big quotes going around at the time came from showrunner Leslye Headland, who revealed how she pitched the show to Lucasfilm: “It’s Frozen meets Kill Bill.

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That’s an interesting comparison to use, and when speaking to IGN at the event, she went a little further into what exactly that meant. To her, the show is about “the villainous—actually being a powerful, misunderstood woman,” hence the Disney comparison. As for Kill Bill, she said it would be a good reference for the action scenes, some of which was shown during the show’s panel. In the same way that director Quentin Tarantino was influenced by the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa and wuxia movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the same holds true for The Acolyte.

Beyond that, Headland drew influence from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, and more specifically the episode “The Wrong Jedi.” It wasthe show’s final episode during its original tenure on Cartoon Network and saw Ahsoka Tano put on trial by the Jedi Council as Anakin Skywalker worked to prove her innocence. That particular episode struck her hard, said Headland, as did the dynamic between Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) at the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story. “It’ll make sense sense when you see the show,” she assured.

Every piece of Star Wars media has drawn influence from things outside its own source material, and often to some interesting results. The Acolyte has an eclectic blend of things it’s inspired by, and we noted that it seems to partially feel like a blend of samurai and heist movies. We’ll find out more when Disney reveals more about The Acolyte ahead of its premiere on Disney+ in 2024.

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