Leslye Headland Explains How She Staffed Star Wars: The Acolyte’s Writers Room

Lucasfilm is rolling out a ton of new Star Wars content over the next few years. But one of the most intriguing projects in the works is The Acolyte, a new series from Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland. Naturally, getting involved with a franchise this big comes with its own formidable set of expectations. But when it came to assembling her team of writers, Headland opted for a strategy that might cause several longtime fans to raise an eyebrow.

Headland teased her approach to The Acolyte in a new interview with The AV Club. According to Headland, she’s been a Star Wars fan since childhood. She cited not just the original trilogy, but also several role-playing video games and Expanded Universe novels by Timothy Zahn as influences. However, it was important for Headland to find writers that didn’t think along similar lines.

“First of all, I really wanted people that were different than me,” said Headland. “I certainly didn’t want a room full of people that were just agreeing with me vehemently. Not ideologically, but artistically—people that kind of had different writing styles or were interested in different things, all that kind of stuff. […] 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.”

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So far, all we know about The Acolyte is that it’s a female-led mystery-thriller set during the High Republic era. And perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that Headland’s co-writers don’t have the same breadth of knowledge.

“What I also learned about hiring my room is that everyone’s fandom was very different,” added Headland. “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?”

Disney+ hasn’t announced a release date for Star Wars: The Acolyte.

Do you think Headland made the right choice by hiring non-fans to work on the series? Give us your impressions in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi

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