The Acolyte Is About to Take Star Wars to an Exciting New Genre

Whodunit in space?


One of the joys of Star Wars is that it can take any form. The Mandalorian alone has adopted wildly different genres for different episodes, ranging from space Westerns to samurai stories to heists. It’s a great way to see how different styles fit into the Star Wars galaxy, and now The Acolyte appears to be taking Star Wars in yet another new direction by leaning into a classic genre.

We still don’t know much about The Acolyte. It appeared to focus on Mae, a Sith assassin targeting Jedi during the last days of the High Republic. But in the newest trailer, “Plan,” the reality seems far more complicated: Mae is a former Jedi being hunted by her former master. Despite the fact we’ve already seen Mae in hand-to-hand combat with Jedi Master Indara, she insists she isn’t the murderer.

If Mae is being framed, then The Acolyte isn’t just a game of cat and mouse between master and former padawan, but also a murder mystery where they’ll have to work together to hunt down the real assassin.

This isn’t the first time Star Wars has tackled a crime story. Episode 6 of The Mandalorian’s third season, “Guns For Hire,” followed Mando and Bo-Katan as they investigated a series of rogue droids on the leisure planet of Plazir-15. The episode was almost a beat-for-beat crime procedural, missing only the Law and Order “chung-chung” sound effect.

The Acolyte is borrowing the mystery aspects of “The Wrong Jedi.”


Notably, Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland has cited The Clone Wars episode “The Wrong Jedi” as a major inspiration, and now it’s easy to see why. It followed a young Ahsoka Tano as she attempted to solve the mystery of the Jedi Temple bombing before she was wrongly convicted herself, and it looks like The Acolyte has put Mae in a similar position.

Unlike The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian dabbling in crime and noir, though, The Acolyte appears to be all-in on its murder mystery story. There will probably be more lightsaber battles than there were in, say, Chinatown, but hopefully this genre shift proves Star Wars can still feel fresh.

The Acolyte premieres June 4, 2024 on Disney+.

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