First impressions for Star Wars: The Acolyte are (mostly) very positive

The latest live-action Star Wars series takes us back to a time before even the prequel series. Is this one a winner or a dud?
(L-R, front row): Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett), Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) and Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R, front row): Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett), Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) and Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Early next month, Disney will debut yet another new Star Wars TV show: The Acolyte, set hundreds of years before even the prequel trilogy, back when the Jedi were at the height of their power and all was well in the galaxy.

Except that someone is murdering Jedi and making everyone uncomfortable. The Acolyte will be part murder mystery, part character drama, part action show, and all Star Wars myth-building. Will this please fans like Andor, or will it just sort of lie there like The Book of Boba Fett? First impressions are rolling in online, both from people who watched the first two episodes at a premiere event and from those who got to preview the first four episodes online. Let's take a look!

The raves

Whenever people post their first impressions of a new movie or show on X, word tends to be positive, whether becaues the thing is actually good, because of recency bias, because the reviewers want to keep getting screeners from Disney in the future, or whatever. I'm not saying that we shouldn't believe these great impressions; I'm just saying that they tend to be overwhelming positive at the start. With that in mind, here are the notices for The Acolyte:

  • Star Wars Holocron: "THE ACOLYTE Eps 1-4 are superb. A captivating murder mystery that evokes the detective tales of Twin Peaks & Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Mature like Andor while fully embracing & thematically connecting to the prequels. Seeing the High Republic in live-action does not disappoint."
  • Peter Sciretta: "Saw the first two episodes of The Acolyte — I loved that it felt so much like classic Star Wars while at the same time feeling new, fresh and different from anything we’ve seen before. The action felt movie-level. So excited to see more!"
  • Perri Nemiroff: "I’ve seen four episodes of The Acolyte and, thus far, it’s a *very* big winner. The cast of characters, the heavy emphasis on practical effects, the stunts, how they’re exploring what it means to be a Force-user and how the Jedi Order operates — it’s all working quite well for me."
  • Germain Lussier: "Beholden to nothing except being “Star Wars,” The Acolyte soars. It’s an interesting, fun, character driven mystery with real stakes that you care about bolstered by all the fixings that make it Star Wars. Saw the first two episodes and LOVED THEM."


Other reviews are still positive, but focus less on superlatives and more on what The Acolyte brings to the Star Wars universe. Some of them talk about how the show has a lot of promise or takes its time setting things up, which could be code for "it moves slowly":

  • Justin Lawrence: "The Acolyte is a blend of murder mystery with Star Wars charm. 4 episodes in, and it’s clear that this new timeline will add to the lore of the galaxy in BIG ways. The Kung Fu force fighting is MAGICAL! JJ as Sol is the COOLEST Jedi since QUI GON! Can’t wait to see where it goes"
  • Joseph Deckelmeier: "The Acolyte gives me Kill Bill vibes. Every episode left me wanting more, in a good way. We’ve seen so much about the fall of the Jedi but this show explores what the Jedi we’re like during peace time, which is quite fascinating. The Acolyte is outstanding!"
  • "The Acolyte is a blast. A gripping noir-style murder mystery in A Galaxy Far, Far away with the Jedi as space detectives. So much world-building and fleshing out of the mythology already in the first two episodes, punctuated by some pretty kick-butt fight sequences."
  • nateplaysgames - Geekcentric: "Star Wars: The Acolyte is a DREAM for fans of The High Republic era and a fresh experience for everyone else. 4 eps in and it’s taking its time layering in the dark mystery. RIVETING fight choreography and SUPERB performances from Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae. I’m diggin it."
  • F.J. DeSanto: "Then first two episodes of are a homage to classic Shaw Brothers movies while also opening new doors to the larger universe. The characters are fun and the action is great. This show has a lot of promise. Super excited to see where it goes."
  • Ben Wasserman: "Yeah, I think is going to do well with fans. Especially those who want an easy entry point into new Star Wars stories. Ironic, given the massive volume of High Republic books/comics released in the last three years."

The bad review

The only outright critical take I saw from from Anthony Gagliardi:

"Four episodes into Star Wars: & it’s a mixed experience. The lore hints at KOTOR potential, yet the pacing occasionally lags. While the fight scenes are engaging, they often feel misplaced. Hoping to see stronger performances and a clearer narrative direction soon."

We'll find out what the public at large thinks of The Acolyte when the first episodes drop on Disney+ on Tuesday, June 4. Personally, I think Disney's live-action TV shows have been a mixed bag, with The Mandalorian starting very strong but flagging a bit as it goes on, and Andor being the only show to really blow us away. I thought Ahsoka was alright but not spectacular, The Book of Boba Fett a drag and Obi-Wan Kenobi an answer to a question no one asked. Where will The Acolyte fall? We'll find out soon.

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