‘Russian Doll’ Creator’s Twisted Take on Star Wars Could Finally Shake Up the Series

·3 min read
Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios
Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Studios

The creator of Russian Doll is heading into the expanded Star Wars universe on Disney+, but she’s not ready to become a Jedi Master quite yet. Leslye Headland shared a bit about her upcoming show The Acolyte with Vanity Fair in a new interview, teasing what’s next for our beloved galaxy far, far away.

Though most of the plot, casting, and other details have been left under wraps, the most fascinating aspect of The Acolyte by far is that, for once, our protagonist won’t be on the Light Side. We’re heading over to the Dark Side this time. As the power on the Light Side continues to proliferate, Headland said her goal was to unpack how the Jedi were unable to notice any of the sneaky grifters in the Dark Side taking control.

"Well, how did things get to this point?” Headland asks. “How did we get to where a Sith lord can infiltrate the Senate and none of the Jedi pick up on it? What went wrong? What are the scenarios that led us to this moment?”

The One Secret ‘Star Wars’ Project No One Knows About

Enter: The Acolyte. Who or what the title refers to remains ambiguous, though VF speculates that it may have something to do with the Sith pairing of a master and an apprentice. The series will take place a whole century before The Phantom Menace and will unpack the Force, as it’s picked up by the Dark Side and practiced in unnoticed corners of the galaxy.

The Acolyte is set to take place during the Renaissance of the Star Wars universe—meaning we shouldn’t expect any uprisings or rebels looking to rewrite history. On the flip side of that coin, the big twist is that the Dark Side is rising up without anyone noticing. How ominous!

“For what I'm exploring, another good analogy might be post-World War I in the United States, where we very much got into this isolationist concept of: we're not helping anybody,” Headland said. “We want to protect this particular vibe that we have going.”

Even though the show will take place decades before other Star Wars films, Headland says she wants the technology to look shiny and new. This mindset follows suit with the original Star Wars trilogy as opposed to the prequels: While the latter films look more “lived-in,” the former have glossy new space tech.

“That's what's kind of weird about Star Wars. The further you go back, the better things are. ‘A long time ago’ actually becomes more futuristic,” Headland said. “So while we are creating this type of world, we're trying to carry George [Lucas]'s concept that the further you go back, the more exciting and new and sleek and interesting things look.”

Inspired by westerns and Akira Kurosawa’s famed samurai films, The Acolyte will be helmed by Headland, whose most popular work includes Russian Doll, Sleeping With Other People, and Bachelorette. We don’t know much about casting, but Amandla Stenberg has reportedly been tapped for a big role. Hey—we’ve seen her in dystopias past!

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