The original Star Wars movies are ingrained so deeply into pop culture that it’s impossible to avoid them. Even if you haven't seen the movies, you'll likely know about Lightsabers, Jedi and The Force. For the upcoming Star Wars spin-off The Acolyte, Lucasfilm is banking on a writer just like that.
Lucasfilm hired someone who’d never seen Star Wars
In an interview with AV Club, The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland explained Lucasfilm wanted to find fresh eyes. Instead of hiring life-long fans, Lucasfilm wanted a different perspective. For an alternative look, the company looked for a writer that wouldn't just be “agreeing" with the team.
"First of all, I really wanted people that were different than me. I certainly didn’t want a room full 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. But there was a certain intention, in terms of putting together a room that I felt like were people that I hadn’t been in a room with before, if that makes sense. I don’t think I can go much further into that, but like, “Oh, I haven’t had this experience yet, and because I think it’s weird that I haven’t had this experience yet.”
Headland wanted to diversify the team
Showrunner Leslye Headland continued to explain that the writing process on The Acolyte is different from past productions. For a previous project, Headland had an all-female writing team. For The Acolyte, she wanted to diversify.
“Having worked in this industry for over a decade now and having been in a couple of writers’ rooms, I felt like the demographic breakdown of rooms, it’s not something you actively take into consideration. For example, on Russian Doll, we ended up having an all-female writers’ room, but I don’t know if that was really something that we said at the front: ‘We were only going to hire women.’”
“I think when you have a dictate like that, you’re closing your mind to, again, people that are going to challenge your particular artistic POV. 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"
The Acolyte writer didn't see this coming
Since Lucasfilm hired a writer with no prior Star Wars knowledge for The Acolyte, they were surprised by a classic Star Wars moment. Separated from the long-running fandom, the writer was surprised to discover that Luke and Leia were siblings.
“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…?” 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?"
There's currently no release date for The Acolyte.