The Ultimate Guide to Star Wars: The Acolyte

Sol, Mae, and Indara

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Lucasfilm is finally making good on the “a long time ago” part of a galaxy far, far away. The upcoming Star Wars series, The Acolyte, will take viewers on a journey into the past to a period known as The High Republic Era. The High Republic is uncharted territory for many Star Wars fans, especially those who are only familiar with the franchise through the movies and shows. As a result, it might feel intimidating to jump into The Acolyte completely blind. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide detailing the world and the cast of The Acolyte, so even the most casual Star Wars fan can confidently enjoy the series when it’s released later this year.

The Acolyte Premise

Star Wars: The Acolyte
Image: Disney

In the final days of the High Republic, a dark mystery unfolds. Someone is hunting down and murdering Jedi, and it’s up to respected Jedi Master Sol to investigate. While trying to solve this sinister mystery plaguing the Jedi Order, Sol comes into conflict with his ex-Padawan Mae, whom he fears might be connected to the malevolent forces at play.

The Acolyte plays off the premise introduced in The Phantom Menace that “The Sith have been extinct for a millennium” and attempts to shed some light on a mystery plaguing Star Wars fans for decades: How did the Jedi Order not sense the evil Dark Side presence gaining power right under their noses?

The Acolyte Cast and Characters

Star Wars: The Acolyte cast
Image: Disney

Showrunner Leslye Headland has put together a diverse mix of actors from television and film to fill out the cast of The Acolyte. From Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss to Star Wars veteran Joonas Suotamo—who took over the role of Chewbacca from the late Peter Mayhew—Headland has brought an eclectic group of talent together for what looks to be the most action-packed Star Wars series to date.

Lee Jung-jae as Sol

Sol from Star Wars: The Acolyte
Image: Disney

Sol is a highly respected and powerful Jedi Master in the waning years of the High Republic era, considered by many as the Order’s golden age. When his fellow Jedi start turning up dead, it’s up to Master Sol to investigate. Actor Lee Jung-jae is the perfect choice to portray Sol, as he’s no stranger to dark mysteries. The South Korean native starred in the Netflix hit series Squid Game, where he tried to solve a different but equally disturbing plot.

Jedi RankAbout the Actor
Jedi MasterLee learned English for the role.

Amandla Stenberg as Mae

Mae from Star Wars: The Acolyte
Image: Disney

Fans didn’t know much about Mae before The Acolyte trailer dropped, and when they did get a glimpse of the enigmatic character in action, it only raised more questions. Disney and Lucasfilm have released very little info on Mae. So far, they’ve revealed that she’s the former Padawan of Master Sol, who gets dragged into his investigation against her will, and that’s about it. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Headland was quoted as saying that the character was “unknowable in her goodness or badness,” further cementing Mae’s status as an ambiguous puzzle.

Luckily, actress Amanda Stenberg is less of a mystery than her Star Wars counterpart. Stenberg got her big break in Hollywood as Rue in The Hunger Games (2012). After that, she starred in several other prominent films, such as Dear Evan Hansen (2021) and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023).

Jedi RankAbout the Actor
Former PadawanStenberg is a long-time Star Wars fan.

Rebecca Henderson as Vernestra Rwoh

Vernestra Rwoh
Image: Disney

Vernestra Rwoh is the only character in The Acolyte adapted from the High Republic series of novels. When the series takes place, Rwoh is considered an elder Jedi Master and one of the Order’s venerated members. Vernestra was granted the rank of Jedi Knight at only 15 and was such a prodigy that she took her own apprentice the following year.

Before The Acolyte‘s events, Rwoh had somewhat withdrawn from the Order after losing a Padawan during the destruction of the Starlight Beacon. It’s fair to assume that whatever evil is attacking the Jedi has drawn her back into active duty. One thing that separates Rwoh from most of her peers is her choice of weapon—a purple-bladed lightsaber that doubles as a whip. While the lightwhip has existed in various ancillary Star Wars materials such as comics and novels for decades, The Acolyte will mark the first time the weapon appears in live-action.

Master Rwoh will be brought to life by actress Rebecca Henderson. Henderson’s previous credits include Russian Doll (2019) and the horror-comedy Werewolves Within (2021).

Jedi RankAbout the Actor
Jedi MasterHenderson used be a synchronized swimmer.

Dafne Keen as Jecki Lon

Jecki Lon
Image: Disney

Jecki Lon is Master Sol’s current Padawan at the start of The Acolyte. She is half-human and half-Theelin, a race originally from the Star Wars Legends continuity that has now become canon thanks to The Acolyte. Despite her youth, Jecki Lon is known to project calmness and maturity—traits that will surely be tested when her master’s former protege Mae suddenly shows up.

Leslye Headland created the role of Jecki Lon specifically for Dafne Keen based on her performance as Wolverine’s daughter Laura in Logan (2017). According to Headland, she wanted to see what would happen if X-23 (Laura) was given a lightsaber, and from that, Jecki was born.

Jedi RankAbout the Actor
PadawanKeen is rumored to appear in Deadpool 3.

Charlie Barnett as Yord Fandar

Yord Fandar
Image: Disney

Charlie Barnett plays Yord Fandar, a Jedi guardian tasked with watching over the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Guardians are another aspect of Star Wars that originated in the pre-Disney Legends continuity. Specializing in combat skills such as lightsabers and martial arts, They were the Jedi Order’s first line of defense, protectors of the weak, and chief upholders of the laws of the Republic.

Jedi Guardians operate as a sort of space cop, making Fandar’s involvement in the mystery at the center of The Acolyte a logical step for the character.

Barnett is another Russian Doll alum, which makes sense, considering Leslye Headland created that series in addition to The Acolyte.

Jedi RankAbout the Actor
Jedi KnightBarnett is a 2010 graduate of the Juilliard School.

Joonas Suotamo as Kelnacca

Wookiee Jedi Kelnacca
Image: Disney

Star Wars creator George Lucas once made the odd ruling that Wookiees could not be Jedi. Lucky for The Acolyte, Lucas eventually reversed his rule because Kelnacca could end up being a fan favorite once they’ve gotten a chance to see the character in action. Wookiees have long been one of the most beloved species in Star Wars, thanks to Chewbacca’s prominent role in the franchise. Love for the big hairy giants and the novelty of seeing one wield a lightsaber could prove to be a winning combination for The Acolyte.

Joonas Suotamo, who portrayed Chewbacca in the sequel trilogy and Solo: A Star Wars Story, is once again dressing in head-to-toe fur as the Wookiee Jedi Kelnacca. When The Acolyte opens, Kelnacca is a hermit, living a “solitary life,” most likely on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk.

AffiliationAbout the Actor
Wookiee JediSuotamo played basketball in his native Finland.

Carrie-Anne Moss as Indara

Indara from Star Wars: The Acolyte
Image: Disney

Indara is a Jedi Master who is strong in both physical and mental use of the Force, making Carie-Anne Moss the perfect actress for the role. As Trinity in all four Matrix films, Moss routinely displayed formidable fighting skills while coming across as a cold, calculating warrior—two qualities that should serve her well as Indara.

Jedi RankAbout the Actor
Jedi MasterMoss appeared in Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough film Memento.

Jodie Turner-Smith as Mother Aniseya

Mother Aniseya from Star Wars: The Acolyte
Image: Disney

Of all the characters introduced in The Acolyte, Mother Aniseya might be the most mysterious. Described as a “Witch” and the leader of a coven, Aniseya resembles one of the Nightsisters of Dathomir—a Dark Side cult that worships the force in their own way, separate from the Jedi and the Sith. Much like the Nightsisters, Aniseya’s cult of Force users appears to operate in their own space, separate from the Jedi of the High Republic.

Aniseya is played by Jodie Turner-Smith of Anne Boleyn (2021) and White Noise (2022) fame. The initial teaser for The Acolyte doesn’t give reveal much, but from the brief time she’s on screen, it’s clear that Mother Aniseya is a charismatic leader. It will be interesting to see if she and her disciples remain neutral in the Jedi/Sith conflict or if they choose a side by the end of the season.

AffiliationAbout the Actor
Force WitchTurner-Smith will appear in another Disney project, Tron: Ares.

Where is The Acolyte on the Star Wars Timeline?

Star Wars: The Acolyte timeline

The Star Wars timeline is divided into two halves: events occurring before the Battle of Yavin (BBY) and events occurring after the Battle of Yavin (ABY). The Acolyte takes place 132 years BBY, or before the climax of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. That also places the series 100 years before Darth Maul revealed himself in The Phantom Menace, alerting the Jedi Order to the Sith’s return after almost 1,000 years.

The Acolyte takes place near the end of The High Republic Era, a period of relative peace in the Star Wars galaxy that began 500 BBY and ended 100 BBY. The High Republic’s twilight years represent the end of a golden age for the Jedi Order before Palpatine and the era known as the Fall of the Jedi.

The Acolyte Trailer

Trailer Breakdown

Disney and Lucasfilm have not released many concrete details about The Acolyte, but the trailer gives us some clues about what to expect. In the trailer, Mae and Mother Aniseya wear purple, which many fans speculate symbolizes a third option between the Jedi and the Sith. Blue often represents the Jedi, and red is the signature hue of the Sith, leaving purple—a mixture of the two—to symbolize a grey middle ground between the light side and the dark side of the Force.

Mae battles Indara.
Image: Disney

Meanwhile, the trailer shows us a glimpse of two duels between Mae and a Jedi Master. Against both Master Sol and Master Indara, Mae does two things: she attacks with only a simple dagger, and she refrains from using the Force. While it could be that Mae lost her lightsaber around the same time she left the Jedi Order, it’s harder to justify not using the Force when fighting a Jedi… unless she can’t. It’s entirely possible that, like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Mae has closed herself off from the Force.

Star Wars
Image: Disney

Another point of interest from the trailer is the introduction of Kelnacca. When the Wookiee Jedi appears, it’s on a planet filled with trees, leading many fans to speculate that the series will visit Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld. The forest planet has previously appeared in the Star Wars Holiday Special and Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith but The Acolyte would be the first time Kashyyyk has shown up in a Disney+ series.

The most exciting reveal in The Acolyte trailer has to be the red lightsaber at the end. Perhaps the Sith weren’t as “extinct” during this time as the Jedi Order thought they were.

The Acolyte Theories and Analysis

Image: Disney

From the trailer’s heavy emphasis on martial arts to the bloody lightsaber in the promotional artwork, The Acolyte represents a new direction for Star Wars. Showrunner Leslye Headland was inspired by wuxia martial arts and samurai films when making the series, and that influence is apparent in the first trailer. Based on the snippets of fights we’ve already seen, The Acolyte is sure to have some of the best hand-to-hand fight choreography in all of Star Wars.

In addition to emphasizing kung-fu movies over Westerns—the go-to genre for new Star Wars content, it seems—The Acolyte will also take viewers in a new direction regarding galactic politics, one where the bad guys are the underdog.

The Acolyte season 1 poster.
Image: Disney

From its inception, Star Wars has always been about a small band of rebels coming together to face a giant evil Empire. The Acolyte subverts this trope for the first time in the Star Wars franchise. The prosperity of the peaceful High Republic has left the Jedi Order at its most powerful, making the Sith—or any other evil force—the de facto rebels. It’s clear from the end of the trailer that while these Jedi are prosperous, they’re also untested, having never faced their equals in combat. It could very well be that many of the characters introduced in the trailer get taken out quite swiftly when facing down an actual Dark Side Force user. The lightsaber with the blood streaks on the promotional artwork also indicates that the Jedi are in for a violent reckoning.

On a more positive note, this will be the first time viewers will see the Star Wars galaxy during a time of peace. Fans can expect to see a cleaner and shinier galaxy than the one they’re used to seeing. 

Image: Disney

The biggest question, of course, is who the titular acolyte is and who they serve. The trailer wants viewers to think it’s Mae, but that’s probably a red herring. Sol begins the trailer by telling a class of Younglings not to trust their eyes because appearances can be deceiving, so it’s more likely that the acolyte is someone who appears less outwardly “evil” than Mae.

 The acolyte may even be a member of the Jedi Order itself, which would explain why the Order doesn’t know anything is wrong until it’s too late. As for the bigger evil, it could be Darth Plagueis, the Sith Lord who trained Palpatine, or an entirely new nemesis that has never appeared in any prior Star Wars material.

Fans will discover the answers to these and other questions when The Acolyte premiers on June 4.

Where to Watch The Acolyte

Title card
Image: Disney

The Acolyte will be available to stream exclusively on Disney+, with the first and second episodes set to drop on the same date, June 4, 2024. The following six episodes will be released weekly starting June 11.

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