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‘Star Wars: The Acolyte’: Murder Mysteries & Martial Arts

The shining star of “Star Wars: The Acolyte” so far is Amandla Stenberg.

One hundred years before “Star Wars: Episode One,” a Jedi was murdered…

“Star Wars: The Acolyte” is a prequel series to the movies, starring Amandla Stenberg as Mae, a dark side acolyte, Lee Jung-Jae as Jedi Sol, Charlie Barnett as Jedi Yord Fandar, Manny Jacinto as Qimir, and Rebecca Henderson as Jedi Vernestra Rwoh.

Sol leads a small team of Jedi as they investigate a series of mysterious Jedi murders, done by a determined Acolyte trained by someone with a red lightsaber. Disney Plus dropped the first two episodes of the show, and it’s filled with intrigue, thrills, and awesome martial art fights.

The shining star of the show so far is Amandla Stenberg. Not only does she excel at the complicated fight scenes that she has to do as Mae, but she also has to play a second character (Because of spoilers, I won’t say who it is!). Stenberg’s ability to switch back and forth in her performance is outstanding, especially since they’re such polar opposites.

In an interview with The Gamer, Stenberg is asked about her experience playing the two characters. They grapple with inner conflict, like “Who am I?” and “Where do I fit in this world?”. Stenberg responded, “When it came to the heritage of the characters, I thought a lot about the concept of cultural dysphoria, and how that can shape how people relate to the world,” Stenberg says. “I thought about my own experiences being in environments where I was around a lot of people who didn’t look like me when I was younger, and how that shaped my sense of self when I was that age. And then I thought about me when I was older, when I had found my community in an environment where I felt comfortable, that made me feel empowered and comfortable in my skin.”

Charlie Barnett as Yord was compelling, too. He plays a more uptight Jedi. Someone who always follows the rules, even if it’s not always best for the current situation. His dynamic with Stenberg is especially captivating, since the two characters clash so much. It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship develops over the course of the show.

“The Acolyte” takes gold for having the most amount of POC characters of any “Star Wars” project so far. Each actor plays their heart out, delivering a theater-level experience to your own living room.

“The Acolyte” is a dark mystery-thriller, filled with clues to decipher and threads to unravel. It starts off strong in the first episode with an elaborate fight scene, something which the movies are kind of lacking, even “Episode One”.

In a piece with Entertainment Weekly, Manny Jacinto stated, “If you loved that sequence with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Darth Maul, I think you’re going to enjoy this show.”

The episodes keep that quick pacing going, almost to a fault. At times, it seemed like things developed too quickly, and the show should’ve slowed down to take a breather. The dialogue is a little exposition-y, but overall “The Acolyte” is off to a strong start. With weekly episodes dropping on Tuesdays at 8PM CT, the sci-fi murder mystery will continue to unravel. Stay tuned.

 

By Inti Navia, Freshman, Columbia College Chicago

All Platforms: @intinavia

 

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Written by Inti Navia

I love nerding out over Star Wars, Gravity Falls, and Lord of the Rings. I'm an introvert with a never ending appreciation for all things Sci-Fi and fantasy media.

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