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Why Do Star Wars Fans HATE Disney’s New Series ‘The Acolyte?’

Why Do Star Wars Fans HATE Disney’s New Series ‘The Acolyte?’

Along with the Bad Batch Season 3, The Acolyte was a highly anticipated Disney+ program scheduled for this year.

This live-action series takes place during the High Republic when the Jedi were at their height and promised to draw fans in with its intrigue and tension with the dark side of the Force.

Instead, the show has attracted the criticism of Star Wars fans.

Why do fans hate the new series The Acolyte? Much of it has to do with apparent political choices in casting and the development of the storyline.

The Promise of The Acolyte

Season 1 of this new show brings viewers into a time of the Jedi about 100 to 200 years before A New Hope. The Galactic Republic is at the “zenith of its power” with the Jedi Order stationed across the galaxy.

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That premise gives the show an alluring appeal because it predates the time of Anakin Skywalker and the prequel movies. 

As a mystery thriller, The Acolyte likewise appeals to audiences interested in the “shadowy secrets” of the Star Wars galaxy.

We encounter this angle and plotline in the opening episodes when audiences learn about an assassin who has come back for revenge against four Jedi.

The show reveals that a twin sister, Mae Aniseya, of a former Padawan, Osha Aniseya, is responsible for the first two deaths that have occurred by Episode 2.

In Episode 1, viewers saw an intriguing fight between Mae and Jedi Master Indara that likewise set up action and drama for the series. That Indara died in the duel provided even more promise of originality and surprise.

The Jedi were at their height in power but not invincible. Having a show that explores the highs and lows of the Jedi has an immediate appeal for Star Wars fans.

Star Wars: The Acolyte Clip - Mae vs. Master Indara Fight (2024)

On top of those elements, the series is led by Leslye Headland, an Emmy-nominated creator anticipated to breathe new life into the franchise.

Last year, the head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, was “blown away” after seeing the first four episodes, which aired this month on Disney+.

The creative energy behind the project set the show up for success. 

So much promise then. So what went wrong?

Why Do Star Wars Fans Hate The Acolyte?

Although critics have approved of the show, most fans have given it a thumbs down. The chief reason is the decision to pursue a “‘woke’” agenda with this series.”

Fans have posted on social media that they dislike the emphasis on only non-White actors and portraying “all women as expert warriors better than men.”

In essence, fans have drawn back from a seeming agenda of “forced inclusion” and political choices driving the program.

This reaction appears to have intensified after the release of the third episode, “Destiny,” which provided a backstory to the twins Mae and Osha.

The episode centers on a coven of witches, Mother Anesaya (leader of the coven), and her partner Mother Koril.

The plot moves to an Ascension ceremony for the twin sisters, with the Jedi lurking in the background, then intervening in the ceremony. 

The episode drew negative fan responses for focusing on “LGBTQ+ representation” and having two mothers for the twins.

Others disagreed with devaluing Anakin’s unique birth without a father as the “Chosen One.”

In addition, the episode contained almost only women and veered on becoming a musical, as in this scene from the Ascension ceremony. Perhaps, the creators are planning for Broadway.

The Acolyte Ep 3 | The Witch Ascension Ceremony Scene

As this article conveys, some reactions have gone so far as to express that The Acolyte is so “horrible” “that it kills Star Wars.”

This reaction is especially targeted at pre-Disney fans who have not agreed with the turn of the franchise since Lucas sold it. 

In all, the negative reactions cluster around challenging a diversity agenda that appears to be driving the choice of actors and the storyline.

Other Opinions About The Acolyte

While the voices of dissent have been clear, fan reactions have not been unanimous. As we may expect, some fans have praised the show for its “novelty” and defended “the show’s casting” and creative vision. This approach seems to be getting approval from new viewers too.

Some articles like this one point out that Star Wars fans are usually divided over new releases and this is another round of that division.

From this perspective, The Acolyte represents another round of debate following the Disney acquisition of Star Wars.

The sequel movies left fans similarly divided, with some detesting the creative choices and others supporting them. 

Some long-time fans express that the Star Wars franchise just needs to keep pushing ahead, even when movies and shows do not fully pull in audiences.

As The Acolyte is set in the High Republic, the characters will be off the radar from even the prequel movies and the plotline will likewise be “disconnected from anything we’ve seen before.” Hence, fans also defend new creative choices in a new setting.

Episode 4 features a squad of Jedi in pursuit of Mae on the planet Khofar, providing an adventure theme that unfolds the plot. The episode includes the Jedi Wookie Kelnacca and concludes with a cliffhanger appearance of a mysterious red lightsaber villain, which could be a Sith or a new kind of Force user, that is behind the killing of the Jedi. 

While some view this episode as “garbage,” including the injection of pronoun usage, others think the episode “holds up thanks to strong performances and new mysteries revealed.”

In this case, some viewers are engaged with the mystery and intrigue of the show and the characters. 

Coming on the heels of Ahsoka Season 1 may have also fed into the negative reaction to The Acolyte. Although Ahsoka garnered more positive fan reviews, or at least ones in the medium range, this show had a female-driven cast that also included witches.

Whereas longtime fans appreciated focusing on the Jedi Ahsoka and could look past these possible directions, following up with a similar formula may have derailed The Acolyte.

Criticism of The Acolyte

Fans who hate The Acolyte mainly do so for the political agenda that seems to be at the forefront of the show. Those fans that like the show appreciate the diversity of characters that move the plot outside accustomed boundaries. As with other Disney Star Wars shows and movies, we can expect more of this divide with new releases coming this year and next. 

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