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The Acolyte Cast Promises "Phantom Menace"-Level Lightsaber Battles

Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, and Charlie Barnett on what fans can expect lightsaber battles-wise from Disney+'s Star Wars series The Acolyte.

The Acolyte is expected to be unlike any other Star Wars project under the Disney era. The Disney+ series will star Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae, with Leslye Headland operating as showrunner. It is set et at the end of the High Republic era in a world of "shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers" preceding the events of 1999's The Phantom Menace by 100 years. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated. Stars Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, and Charlie Barnett opened up to Entertainment Weekly before the SAG-AFTRA strike about what to expect from the new series.

the acolyte
STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE (Image: Lucasfilm)

How The Acolyte Will Be Like Star Wars Prequels

"If you loved that sequence with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and Darth Maul," Jacinto said. "I think you're going to enjoy this show." "You'll love this," Keen agreed. "I will say too — not to shade,' but we have a lot more tangible physical moves than I saw in that fight," said Barnett, who, like Keen, is playing a Jedi. "As badass as it is, there's a lot more grounded work that goes into our stunt training and our stunt performances." Barnett compared the fights in The Acolyte to TPM.

Barnett dove deeper into practical and physical work. "We have an awesome stunt team. Doing so much without cables, without CGI, without a lot of effects — it makes the fight seem so much more visceral. Truly. I mean, I know I've been hit on the head a couple times," he said. Keen admitted to taking her share of lumps throughout production. "All of the fight training that we've gone through is so heavily influenced by samurai," which is about on the nose as it gets since creator George Lucas was influenced by the works of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and his samurai films.

The His Dark Materials star admitted one specific detail that's different from the other Star Wars projects. "I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I will just say it. There's a lack of guns, which personally, as someone who loves fighting and stunts and stuff, I love," she said. "Because it gives you that body-to-body choreography — that dance feeling. It actually looks like a real fight as opposed to just I point, and I shoot, which is kind of an easy cop-out in a way. We get a lot of that body-to-body." For more, you can check out the interview here. The Acolyte premieres in 2024 on Disney+.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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