Disney+ is gearing up for another Star Wars show and this one is different than any other series in the franchise. With Star Wars spanning over decades and more than 10 movies and multiple shows, it’s hard to believe there are people out there who haven’t seen at least one project. However, that’s the case with some writers on the newest Disney+ show, The Acolyte, and showrunner Leslye Headland explains why.
Having worked in this industry for over a decade now and having been in a couple of writers’ rooms, I felt like the demographic breakdown of rooms, it’s not something you actively take into consideration. For example, on Russian Doll, we ended up having an all-female writers’ room, but I don’t know if that was really something that we said at the front: ‘We were only going to hire women.’ I think when you have a dictate like that, you’re closing your mind to, again, people that are going to challenge your particular artistic POV. Mostly what I looked for were people that I felt could execute a great script, number one. And then in the job interview, just really talking to people who had different life experiences than I did, and had different connections to Star Wars than I did.
With the Star Wars franchise, not everyone will have the same connections to Star Wars or the same experience. Having someone on the writing staff with barely any knowledge of the franchise was basically like a breath of fresh air. Headland explained her reaction to the feedback she got from the writer:
What I also learned about hiring my room is that everyone’s fandom was very different. No one had the same experience with Star Wars. There were people like myself that were like later-in-life [Dave] Filoni acolytes. I literally had one writer that was like, ‘I have never seen any of them. I’ve never seen any Star Wars media.’ And she’s texting me before we started the room, she’s like, ‘Luke and Leia are brother and sister, what the…?’ [Laughs.] And it was so great, because I would really love to know from someone who is not fully immersed in this fandom, what do you think about the pitch we just made? So while she did her due diligence and did a lot of background work and research, at the same time, she was somebody that we would kind of talk to and say, ‘Okay, so if we take all the kind of signifiers out of it, and this is Star Wars version of X, what does it mean to you?’ She would be able to give some feedback: ‘Well, I’m kind of wondering what’s going on with this character. And in this scene, I’m wondering why so-and-so isn’t saying this.’
That type of feedback from a fresh set of eyes can mean wonders and really give a fresh perspective on the franchise and certain characters about what they’re doing, especially considering how passionate Star Wars fans are. With Leslye Headland’s experience with Star Wars and other filmography, she seems to know what she’s doing and it will be interesting to see what happens in Star Wars: The Acolyte.
Details about The Acolyte are few and far between at this point, and the next live-action Star Wars series on the horizon is The Book of Boba Fett. Other series in the works are Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi, Diego Luna's Andor, and Season 3 of The Mandalorian, among others. Be sure to check out Disney+ for all your Star Wars needs during the wait for The Acolyte!