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“The Acolyte” Falls Short Where It Matters.

The Acolyte had its two-hour premier last night to much anticipation. After a long wait, Star Wars fans witnessed well-choreographed fight sequences and above average acting. The world building showed great potential, with new characters entering the lore that have the potential to be welcome additions.

Unfortunately, despite all of those fine qualities, The Acolyte falls short of its potential. We were left with something that is on the cusp of being a good addition to the Star Wars Universe but lacks the necessary components to be taken seriously.

Without further ado, join me as I break down The Acolyte and explain why I feel like it fell short.

What Worked

I will begrudgingly say that despite my personal feelings toward Leslye Headland, she has done a good job world building. Visually,¬†The Acolyte¬†captures the¬†Star Wars look and feel. The characters and creatures you see walking around are worthy of George Lucas’ brainchild.

Despite the horrific dialogue, Amandla Stenberg does a phenomenal job acting. Playing dual roles is no easy task, but Stenberg makes it look easy. She shifts gears between the good-natured Osha and her vengeful twin sister Mae with ease.

Amandla Stenberg Does A Great Job With The Material She is Given, playing Dual Roles.

Lee Jung-jae does a solid job as Osha’s former Jedi master, Sol. He comes off as wise and sympathetic and brings shades of Obi-Wan Kenobi to the table. The chemistry between Stenberg and Jung-jae is there, they just need a better script to work with.

What Didn’t Work

Overall, the storytelling for The Acolyte is abysmal. While it is a great concept and yearns to be a film noir entry into the Star Wars library, The Acolyte fails at doing so. If Leslye Headland had tweaked the show just a little bit, we could have had a mysterious tale of suspense in the style of The Third Man. 

Instead, nothing is left to the imagination. Every single thing is spelled out and spoon-fed to the audience. We are not allowed to put anything together or come to our own conclusions. At times, I felt like Ms. Headland didn’t think we were smart enough to put the story together for ourselves. This really took away from the experience.

Charlie Barnett And Dafne Keen Turned In Uninspired Performances In The First Two Episodes Of “The Acolyte”

The dialogue is clunky and wooden. There is no natural flow between the characters. Everything is just matter of fact and emotionless.

Charlie Barnett, who plays Jedi Knight Yord Fandar; has the charisma of an ironing board. He recites his lines like a fourth grader trying to read Huckleberry Finn in front of the class. Dafne Keen, who plays Sol’s current Padawan doesn’t offer much more. Her character comes off as unnecessary, and she looks less like she belongs in a¬†Star Wars project and more like she wandered onto the set while cosplaying as Ziggy Stardust.

This Isn’t Fan Fiction Anymore

I know Leslye Headland was an enthusiastic¬†Star Wars fan fiction writer in her youth.¬†The Acolyte¬†draws heavily from a lot of those stories she created and I find nothing wrong with that. That being said, Ms. Headland has been called up to the majors. She’s in the big leagues now and she has failed to shift out of the fan fiction style of storytelling.

As a result, despite the efforts of Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae, the show comes off in the style and quality of a High School Theater production. I could not take it seriously.

Final Takeaway

I don’t want to be too hard on¬†The Acolyte because we are only two episodes in. There is plenty of time for the show to course correct and there is a lot of potential here. With the pushback that the show has received before it even aired, I don’t want to jump on the dogpile. I would rather give it a chance. If it doesn’t improve, then it wasn’t meant to be.

If I was to offer one piece of advice to Ms. Headland, it would be to not be afraid to ask for help. Get people on board with you to help with dialogue and storytelling. The problems that I cited are easily fixable and with the proper guidance, you can have your own special place in the Star Wars Pantheon.

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What do you think, GNN Fans? Sound off in the comments below and let your voices be heard!

Thank You for reading! When I am not writing I enjoy skiing, video games, spending time with my four year old daughter Frances, and my loyal hound Marbles.  For more hot takes, follow me here.  You can also check out more of my content on my author’s page.

Stay Geeky Everybody

 

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