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'The Acolyte': Amandla Stenberg could be warping to Star Wars spinoff series

Disney+ goes for Dark Side mystery in the waning days of the High Republic.

By Benjamin Bullard
Amandla Stenberg

Somewhere in the distant future at Disney+, there’s a Star Wars series on the far horizon that takes a deep dive into the galactic past — all the way back to the High Republic, before Anakin ever came along to disturb the balance in the Force.

That series is Star Wars: The Acolyte, a story that warps hundreds of years back in the Star Wars timeline to the waning days of the High Republic, laying the groundwork for the events of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. The series was first announced during Disney Investor Day last year, but beyond its creative team, there’s been little new information to kick the hype into serious hyperdrive.

Things may be changing on that front, though: Variety reports that The Hunger Games alum Amandla Stenberg is in talks to join the series as an early casting addition, though there’s no early word on what role she might play. In Star Wars lore, an Acolyte is a relative Force newbie: a Jedi-in-training under the guidance of a Sith Lord, a Force-wielding member of the older Sith Order whose high point predates even the time of the High Republic.

At the time of the show’s announcement, Lucasfilm teased The Acolyte as “a mystery thriller that will take us into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging Dark Side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.”

The show is among the next wave of Star Wars projects planned to land at Disney+ after upcoming series like The Book of Boba Fett, plus in-development spinoffs Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor (both in current development with returning stars Ewan McGregor and Diego Luna, respectively). With the latter two projects slated to debut sometime in 2022, it’s probably safe to assume that The Acolyte won’t arrive for at least another year.

The Acolyte will be helmed by Emmy-nominated Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland, whom Variety reports will serve as a writer, executive producer, and showrunner. Stenberg’s string of post-Hunger Games film credits includes Rio 2 (as the voice of Bia), The Darkest Minds (as main character Ruby), and this year’s Dear Evan Hansen (as Alana Beck).

In the near term, the Star Wars slate remains full at Disney+, with The Book of Boba Fett arriving next in the rotation. Starring original Jango Fett actor Temuera Morrison, who’s reprising his recent turn as Boba Fett in The Mandalorian, the spinoff series is swooping in fast with a premiere date set for Dec. 29.

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