How THE ACOLYTE Ties Into The High Republic Era

Disney revealed their first look at the cast of The Acolyte today, a new Disney+ original series headed by Leslye Headland which reportedly takes place roughly 100 years before The Phantom Menace. The Acolyte has long been toted as the first live action series to explore the High Republic, and the announcement came stacked with a new description of the series, one that I find particularly exciting.

“The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. 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.”

We’ve previously known that this series will roughly occur a century before the prequels, and now this official description pieces together that this era, the High Republic’s final days are roughly 100 years prior to The Phantom Menace. Headland has previously stated in a Vanity Fair interview that this time period is “an age of wealth and innovation for the galaxy, with white-clad Jedi inspiring awe and the Dark Side of the Force seemingly erased from existence”.

Initially, The Acolyte didn’t much interest me. The first Phase of High Republic books occurred about a hundred years prior to the Disney+ series, at around 232 BBY, as opposed to The Acolyte which reportedly occurs circa 132 BBY. I grew to love the time period of the Phase I High Republic books, and realized we really wouldn’t know many of the main players in the galaxy by the time The Acolyte rolled around, as they’ll all have lived their life course through to the end by that point (save for some older Jedi Masters like Yoda, Rancisis, Yaddle, etc.). But then Phase II of the High Republic began last month and something strange happened. It wasn’t told linearly. Instead of Phase II following the events of the first Phase, they turned the clocks back another 150 years into the past.

This assumes that they’re doing the classic Star Wars storytelling thing by playing the middle of the saga first, then creating prequel content, and finally introducing sequel content. The long 150 year time jump between Phases I and II lean towards the idea that the third Phase, Trials of the Jedi, may be closer to 100 years after Phase I. And wouldn’t you know it? The High Republic’s Phase III release cycle is roughly scheduled around the same release window that The Acolyte is set in, late 2023.

I suspect this was a nifty way for the High Republic publishing side of things to tie the currently releasing books into the currently releasing tv series. The previous two Phases, Light of the Jedi (c. 232 BBY) and Quest of the Jedi (c. 382 BBY) help heartily flesh out the history of this era of the Republic, while Phase III is the true tie-in. If this is true, this also potentially allowed publishing to hold off on creating content around The Acolyte’s time period that could very easily be overwritten, until the script was more narrowed down.

Michael Siglain, Creative Director of Lucasfilm Publishing, retweeted the news and teased the shows High Republic time period.

Overall, I’m very excited to see what becomes of this series now that I have an inkling towards what they’re trying to pull off. If you’re interested in learning more about The High Republic time period, please visit our Star Wars section of the Timeline Journal.

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