Leslye Headland Reveals Her Influences on Star Wars: The Acolyte

Since its launch last year, Lucasfilm’s line of High Republic books has introduced readers to a vast assortment of new Star Wars characters, from Jedi Knights to politicians and everything in between. This period of Star Wars history will make the jump to live-action in The Acolyte on Disney+. Showrunner Leslye Headland has been developing the new show for over two years. And while speaking with Vanity Fair, she offered hints about the series’ tone by naming some of the films she watched for inspiration. Leslye Headland reveals.

The High Republic takes place roughly 200 years before the Skywalker Saga. In other words, it’s largely unconnected to any Star Wars story we’ve seen before. But that doesn’t mean Headland can’t be influenced by other movies. George Lucas famously based several aspects of Star Wars lore on his favorite Westerns and samurai films. However, Headland decided to look elsewhere.

“So I actually went more toward martial arts films, and storylines that are a little bit more personal and less global and galactic,” said Headland. “Those warriors were on missions that were deeply personal, with people feeling wronged and having to make it right. Wuxia films and martial arts films from King Hu and the Shaw Brothers, like Come Drink With Me and [A] Touch Of Zen. They’re monks that are also martial arts heroes.”

RELATED: Next Star Wars TV Series Revealed, Plus More Details on Existing Ones

Headland also discussed another key component of the series. In the books, the High Republic is routinely described as a time of peace and prosperity throughout the known galaxy. This optimism also informs the technology of the time, and it sounds like viewers can expect to see lots of impressive tech when the show eventually premieres.

“I love the fact that George Lucas, when he originally made Episodes 4-6, you can see that he wants everything to feel like it has this particular type of decay,” observed Headland. “This is a lived-in sci-fi fantasy world, not a sleek, well-put-together aesthetic. He was really going for something that I think was a bit revolutionary at the time.”

“When he tasked himself with making the prequels, the way that he decided to address technology and all of those types of things was to make it a much sleeker, better-looking, almost more advanced time,” continued Headland. “That’s what’s kind of weird about Star Wars. The further you go back, the better things are. ‘A long time ago’ actually becomes more futuristic. So while we are creating this type of world, we’re trying to carry George’s concept that the further you go back, the more exciting and new and sleek and interesting things look.”

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

What do you make of Headland’s plans for the show so far? Let us know in the comments down below!

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

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising program also provides a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.