10 Real Problems With The Acolyte (No, We're Not Talking About It Being "Woke") (2024)

The Acolyte

10 Real Problems With The Acolyte (No, We're Not Talking About It Being "Woke") (1)

By Liz Declan

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The Acolyte

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10 Real Problems With The Acolyte (No, We're Not Talking About It Being "Woke") (5)

Summary

  • The Acolyte has received mixed reviews since its release, much of it pertaining to supposed 'wokeness.'
  • The show's pacing is too fast, with characters being killed off before they have been properly developed.
  • The episodes are too short, leading to rushed plotlines.

The Acolyte has received significant backlash, much of it before the show even premiered, but, like many Disney Star Wars projects, true criticism of The Acolyte is being swallowed up in outcries about the show's supposed 'wokeness.' The Acolyte is the newest addition to Star Wars movies and TV shows, and it represents a thrilling new era in the Star Wars timeline to be depicted on screen. Set 100 years before Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, The Acolyte explores the High Republic Era, the golden age of the Jedi and the Republic.

Unfortunately, excitement about the new opportunities the show and this era make possible is being drowned out by review bombing and floods of trolling comments on social media. Even so (and while the show has plenty of merits, too), there are legitimate problems with the show that have nothing to do with the diversity of the cast. Here are 10 issues with The Acolyte that don't pertain to the show supposedly being 'too woke.'

Related

I Have One Massive Problem With The Acolyte Episode 6

While The Acolyte episode 6 improves on previous episodes in some ways, one major issue I have highlights a problem with the entire series.

10 It Should Be Set Further Back In The High Republic Era

The Acolyte Is Set Too Close To The Prequels

Although it's thrilling that The Acolyte is set in the High Republic Era because it's such an under-explored period in the Star Wars timeline, especially on screen, this show feels set too late in this era. For one, setting The Acolyte just 100 years before the prequels means that there is less room for the show to explore a greater stretch of time. The Acolyte's showrunner, Leslye Headland, has already confirmed she would be interested in additional seasons, but The Acolyte runs the risk of encroaching upon the prequel trilogy era too much.

Already, in fact, The Acolyte feels too close to the prequels for certain plot points to make sense. One key example is the appearance of prequel trilogy Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi in the show. While many viewers were outraged that this meant a retcon of Ki-Adi-Mundi's age (although that's not exactly true, as his previous age was confirmed only in Legends), the larger issue is that it makes little sense that the events of The Acolyte wouldn't have been mentioned in the prequels if one of the Jedi Council members had experienced these events himself.

9 The Show May Make The Jedi Irredeemable

The Acolyte's Jedi Seem Guilty Of Something Serious

One of the major mysteries of The Acolyte is what truly transpired on Brendok, the planet on which twins Osha and Mae were born. At first, it seemed as though Mae had killed the twins' entire family, which was the story both Osha and Master Sol told. However, The Acolyte episode 3 revealed that the truth was much more complicated; while Mae might have started a fire, the twins' family, the witches of Brendok, were not burned. They had clearly been killed in some other way.

That, combined with Mae's mission to kill the four Jedi who had been stationed on Brendok at the time—Indara, Kelnacca, Torbin, and Sol—suggests that the Jedi may have been involved in the deaths of the witches. In fact, The Acolyte episode 2 had already implied a significant level of guilt on the part of the Jedi, as Master Torbin chose death over confessing what he'd done to the Jedi Council. If the Jedi truly were involved in the murder of the witches, it would arguably make the Jedi irredeemable, which would be a grave move in the franchise.

8 Characters Are Dying Too Quickly

Killing Main Characters Is Thrilling, But It's Ruining Some Stories

The Acolyte has proven impressively willing to kill off main characters, breaking the mold not only for Star Wars but also for television more broadly. This is undoubtedly a brave move, and it makes each episode suspenseful, as it feels like truly anything can happen. However, there can be too much of a good thing, and The Acolyte may have hit that point with major character deaths.

The Acolyte has proven impressively willing to kill off main characters.

The Acolyte shocked audiences by beginning with the death of Jedi Master Indara, and that pattern continued in the second episode with the swift death of Jedi Master Torbin. While these were surprising (and disappointing specifically in Indara's case, as many had been excited to see Carrie-Anne Moss' role in the show), they didn't have as much emotional weight, as the characters had barely been developed on screen before their deaths. This changed in episode 5, though.

In The Acolyte episode 5, multiple unnamed Jedi fell to Qimir/the Stranger, but the episode also included the sudden and devastating deaths of Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon and Jedi Knight Yord Fandar. In addition to the brutality of their deaths and the sadness at losing two great characters, though, Jecki and Yord's deaths reinforced that The Acolyte might be moving a bit too quickly through characters. The episode also saw the death of Jedi Master Kelnacca, the first live-action Wookiee Jedi Master, who had barely any screen time.

7 The Episodes Are Too Short

Just As An Episode Gains Momentum, It Ends

The Acolyte is also suffering from a few issues pertaining not to content but to structure. In fact, the most recent episode, episode 6, made clear that The Acolyte's episodes are simply too short. Episode 6 included three separate plot lines: Osha being trapped on the Unknown Planet with Qimir, Mae deceiving Master Sol by pretending to be Osha, and Jedi Master Vernestra Rwoh leading a group of Jedi to Khofar to uncover what had happened on the planet.

While this braided narrative would be a lot to fit into an hour of television, The Acolyte episode 6 was just thirty minutes long. This meant that each unique plot felt rushed and, worse, just as the episode began to gain momentum, it ended. Unfortunately, each of The Acolyte's episodes is around the same length, meaning that this problem is not unique to this episode but rather applies to the show as a whole.

6 The Hot Sith Pattern Might Be A Bit Too Much At This Point

Star Wars Has Used The Hot Sith Twist A Few Too Many Times

The Acolyte episode 5 also included the major reveal that Mae's quirky sidekick, Qimir, was actually the deadly masked villain, the Stranger. In addition to that, though, was the reveal that the Stranger was shockingly attractive, something that the minds behind the show were clearly aware of and wanted to highlight based on how many shots of Qimir's muscles were shown. This then persisted in The Acolyte episode 6 when Qimir fully stripped down in front of Osha and then stood in front of her shirtless.

While an attractive villain is almost always going to win over audiences, and although Manny Jacinto's Qimir is one of the best parts of The Acolyte, Star Wars as a whole may have employed the hot Sith character one too many times. This began in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith when Hayden Christensen became Darth Vader, revealing that, prior to his Mustafar burns, Vader was a heartthrob. The sequel trilogy then took a page from Revenge of the Sith's book, with Kylo Ren (although not technically a Sith) serving as a shirtless love interest as well.

Star Wars as a whole may have employed the hot Sith character one too many times.

5 Some Parallels Are Too On The Nose

The Ahch-To Connection Is Just One Example

Showrunner Leslye Headland has acknowledged in interviews that some aspects of The Acolyte are a bit on the nose, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. George Lucas famously described Star Wars as being like poetry because the different stories 'rhyme' with one another, implying that there will be clear parallels throughout the franchise. However, at times, The Acolyte takes this too far.

While the rhymes of Star Wars can be lovely, some can feel too obvious. Unfortunately, The Acolyte has toed that line a few times, most recently in episode 6. Osha wakes up trapped on a remote island with Qimir, and it is immediately obvious that the planet shares a number of features with Ahch-To, the planet on which Luke Skywalker hid in the sequel trilogy and which was the location of the first Jedi Temple. This heavily implies that this location is key to the Sith, but the same message could have been conveyed (arguably better) with more subtlety.

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8 Ways The Acolyte Is Totally Copying The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Acolyte's character dynamics have taken an interesting turn in episode 6, mirroring important moments from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

4 Eight Episodes Aren't Enough

The Final Two Episodes Are Sure To Feel Rushed

Similar to the episodes being too short, The Acolyte's 8-episode arc simply isn't enough. Not only Star Wars shows but also streaming shows in general have begun to adopt the 8-episode season structure, and it is a far cry from the 22-episode seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Particularly in a show like The Acolyte, which has so much world-building and character development to accomplish, a season of only eight episodes is just too rushed.

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After The Acolyte, It's Official: There's One Big Problem With Star Wars TV

The Acolyte has certainly gained more popularity in recent episodes, but the show is still struggling with one pattern affecting most Star Wars shows.

In fact, even six episodes into The Acolyte, the show still feels predominantly like exposition, with background on Osha, Mae, Master Sol, and Qimir still being uncovered. While it is a mystery show, and therefore some background must remain shrouded in mystery, the amount of context still being provided seems to be preventing the plot of The Acolyte from moving forward. Moreover, it's difficult to imagine how everything that has been introduced in The Acolyte so far will be wrapped up in the two remaining episodes in a satisfying way.

3 Some Scenes Needed Better Effects

In Certain Scenes, The Effects Were Noticeable

In truth, some of the effects of The Acolyte have also been a bit disappointing, although that is not necessarily new to Star Wars. The franchise has long faced accusations that the effects are poorly done, but this criticism interestingly seems to have picked up since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars. While some of this may just be more hate directed at Disney, in The Acolyte, there have been a few scenes where the effects didn't seem believable.

In fact, this was most obvious in The Acolyte episode 3, set on Brendok. At one point, Mother Aniseya uses the Force (or, the Thread, as the witches of Brendok call it) to throw a piece of fruit to the twins. While the Thread seems to intentionally be more visible on screen than the Force is, this moment nevertheless looked less visually believable than is typical of the franchise.

2 The Dialogue Is A Bit Superficial At Times

Some Lines Have Fallen Flat

Although poor dialogue tends to be thrown out as a vague criticism of a show or movie, and while Star Wars has often been accused of bad dialogue, in The Acolyte, there have been some moments of weaker dialogue that were incongruent with the rest of the show. Unfortunately, this often came at the expense of Yord Fandar, who was otherwise a well-liked character. Because Yord was frequently meant as comedic relief in the show (particularly when he was the subject of a joke), his lines were the most fraught in terms of landing with the audience.

Sadly, that dialogue at times fell short, and this was especially true when the humor didn't quite work. In The Acolyte episode 4, for example, Yord at one point quips, "I swear, we need a tracker just to track our tracker." Although it was clearly meant as a laugh line, this dialogue didn't quite work; instead, it felt a bit out of place. Yord wasn't the only character with tough lines, though. In episode 5, Qimir's line "Not very Jedi of you" also didn't quite land.

1 Some Mysteries Are Dragging Out For Too Long

The Mystery Of Brendok Is Particularly Slow-Moving

Despite the episodes and the season both being too short, there are some plot lines in The Acolyte that are nevertheless moving too slowly. One key plot that has been going on for a bit too long is that of the mystery on Brendok. Yes, it is intriguing what really happened to the witches, but after six episodes, the mystery is beginning to lose its appeal. Hopefully, in The Acolyte episode 7, the secret will finally be revealed; however, this would mean that nearly the entire show explored this one mystery.

Despite these issues, however, The Acolyte has been an impressive show so far. In fact, the lightsaber duels in The Acolyte have been some of the best in all of Star Wars, and viewers are generally united in the opinion that Qimir is an excellent addition to Star Wars' villains. Even so, there are going to be flaws with any show, and these 10 reflect the problems in The Acolyte that have nothing to do with the show being 'woke.'

New episodes of The Acolyte release on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST on Disney+.

10 Real Problems With The Acolyte (No, We're Not Talking About It Being "Woke") (9)
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10 Real Problems With The Acolyte (No, We're Not Talking About It Being "Woke") (11)

The Acolyte is a television series set in the Star Wars universe at the end of the High Republic Era, where both the Jedi and the Galactic Empire were at the height of their influence. This sci-fi thriller sees a former Padawan reunite with her former Jedi Master as they investigate several crimes - all leading to darkness erupting from beneath the surface and preparing to bring about the end of the High Republic.

Cast
Amandla Stenberg , Lee Jung-jae , Joonas Suotamo , Charlie Barnett , Dafne Keen , Leah Brady , Manny Jacinto , Rebecca Henderson , Carrie-Anne Moss , Jodie Turner-Smith , Dean-Charles Chapman , Lauren Brady , Anthony J. Abraham , Thara Shöön , Danielle Xin Yao Waterman , Sienna Khiroya , Jeramiah Evans , Dan Milne , Thomas Coombes , Archie Singh Swali , Nick Court , Ed Kear , Jumayn Hunter , Scroobius Pip , Abigail Thorn , Margarita Levieva , Amy Tsang , Saskia Allen , Deborah Rosan , Tabitha Alege , Paul Bullion , Indra Ové , Derek Arnold , Lewis Young
Character(s)
Mae , Master Sol , Kelnacca , Yord Fandar , Jecki Lon , Little Mae , Qimir , Master Vernestra Rwoh , Master Indara , Mother Aniseya , Master Torbin , Padawan Torbin , Little Osha , Fillik , Tasi Lowa , Youngling , Restrained Convict , Convict , Olega Urchin , Olega Master , Olega Padawan , Scavenger , Ensign Eurus , Mother Koril , Ensign Rane , Scout Sarria , Ensign Shima , Elder Jaalyn , Master Lakshay , Master Holden , Master Ki-Adi-Mundi , Jedi Knight

Seasons
1

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+
Franchise(s)
Star Wars

Writers
Leslye Headland , Charmaine De Grate , Kor Adana

Directors
Leslye Headland , Alex Garcia Lopez

Showrunner
Leslye Headland
  • The Acolyte
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