‘The Acolyte’ Proves To Be More ‘Star Wars’ Just For The Sake Of It

Set in a different era with all-new characters, The Acolyte is the latest Star Wars show on Disney+ – but it’s all too familiar for its own good.

*Knock, knock*

Who’s there?

Star Wars.”

*Checks to make sure the door is locked*

What in the world is going on at Lucasfilm right now? After the less-than-stellar reception to the past few live-action Star Wars shows on Disney+ (bar Andor), the expectation was that The Acolyte would be something fresh – a new frontier in the galaxy far, far away, so to speak. For all intents and purposes, it had all the right ingredients to do right by the Force. Free from the shackles of the Skywalker Saga and set in the untapped High Republic era, The Acolyte had a blank page to write a new chapter in the Star Wars legacy. Instead, it plays out like a compilation album of all the old club bangers that feel like a screwdriver to the head after the age of 30.

Somehow, the twin returned

“Lost / Found,” the first episode of The Acolyte, kicks off on a shocking note as Amandla Stenberg’s Osha Aniseya seemingly kills the Jedi Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss). It doesn’t take too long for Osha to be hauled in by the Jedi and interrogated for her despicable actions, which she denies any knowledge of. Then, the truth comes out: Osha has an evil twin named Mae, who is still alive but everyone presumed dead. How so 1992 soap opera of this story!


Duality has always been a part of the Star Wars legend. Good versus bad. Jedi versus Sith. However, the evil twin angle is about as on the nose as it gets. It’s beyond predictable as the concept flows through a typical yin-yang storytelling model where both Osha and Mae discover their own abilities to hold light and darkness within themselves. Plus, didn’t we already have twins in the Skywalker Saga? Just saying…

In classic Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker fashion, no one questions how Mae survived in “Lost / Found.” In one breath, Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) tells Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett) that there’s no way Mae survived. By the end of the episode, somehow Palpatine Mae returned and everyone accepts it… In this galaxy, death appears to be about as permanent as Kenny’s tangos with the grim reaper in South Park.

The vanilla-flavored Acolyte with no sprinkles

Forbes senior contributor Erik Kain called The Acolyte mediocre and criticized the show for not committing more to its new era since no one can really tell if it takes place earlier in the timeline or not. And Kain proves to be correct in this assessment. Much like other recent Star Wars series, The Acolyte takes zero risks, driving 10 miles under the speed limit just in case. 


That’s the most frustrating part about the show since it’s clear there’s the potential for so much more here and to expand the world further, but Disney and Lucasfilm choose to stick to fan service and similar story beats in order to not rattle the cages of the Twitter warriors. Yes, there’s a familiarity in the look, feel, and sound of the show (hey, look, a shiny lightsaber!), but there’s also a manufactured – perhaps soulless – quality to it. For a series that’s meant to be all about exploring the franchise’s rich history and the rise of the dark side of the Force, it has only recycled ideas from previous films and shows. Ultimately, it’s just content.

Hate Star Wars: The Last Jedi by all means, but at least Rian Johnson took some creative risks and pushed the franchise in a different direction. Nothing about the film felt predictable or by the numbers, as the story walked the path of originality and committed to its controversial decisions.

Star Wars fans are noticing the lack of originality too

That’s the million-dollar question, though: Does the Star Wars fan base actually want originality or has the franchise become like comfort food? It’s well known that Disney and Lucasfilm famously course-corrected after the fan backlash toward The Last Jedi and ensured that The Rise of Skywalker was the cinematic equivalent of a chastity belt. But when is safe too safe?

It’s a question that might need to be answered sooner than expected. While The Acolyte scored the biggest premiere of 2024 for Disney+ with 11.1 million viewers in its first five days on the platform, it still fell around three million viewers short of what Ahsoka did in the same time, as per Variety. This paints a worrisome picture that Disney and Lucasfilm must be taking note of: The interest in Star Wars is waning on the streaming service. No longer is the brand name enough to ensure there are eyeballs on the shows.

Yes, executives can blame yada-yada fatigue and complain about too many shows for the audience to watch, but the truth is this: The programs are bang-average and the viewers notice. Until this changes, the faith in the franchise diminishes with each passing series or movie. It’s about time that everyone stops having a bad feeling whenever a new Star Wars show is announced and for someone to try something new. Do – or do not. There is no try.

Sergio is an entertainment journalist who has written about movies, television, video games, and comic books for over a decade and a half. Outside of journalism, he is an award-winning copywriter, screenwriter, and novelist. He holds a degree in media studies and psychology.