Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte Pitch Made Lucasfilm President Cry SuperNayr

During a recent interview with SFX Magazine, producers Rayne Roberts and Simon Emanuel recalled what it was like hearing Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte pitch, which she initially described as “Frozen meets Kill Bill in Star Wars.”

Roberts praised the showrunner’s powerful vision for The Acolyte, revealing that Headland’s amazing pitch resonated with everyone. It even made Lucasfilm executives, including president Kathleen Kennedy, emotional with her storytelling.

“It immediately communicated a kind of emotional entanglement and also high-octane action. It was like, ‘I think I understand what that is,’ and it started a conversation that led to me elevating her pitch, ultimately up to Kathy,” Roberts said. “Leslye is an amazing storyteller and when she finally pitched Kathy, everyone was crying. It was that kind of meeting.”

In addition, Emanuel also opened up about how action became a major component into the upcoming Disney+ series, revealing that they’ve enlisted action designer Chris Clark Cowan to help Headland bring her vision to life.

“The thing I picked up on and got very excited about was Kill Bill,” Emanuel added. “One of the things we talked about really early on was action, and I really believe that, in these kinds of shows, action has to be a character. It can’t just be, ‘Give me a punch, give me a lightsaber fight . . .’ So I introduced Leslye to a guy called Chris Clark Cowan, who was our action designer, and part of the team who worked on the Darth Vader sequence in Rogue One. Leslye and Chris completely fell in love, and action became such a component of this story. For me, it’s the best action the franchise has seen — and there’s so much of it.”

Who’s involved in The Acolyte?

Star Wars: The Acolyte is written and executive produced by Leslye Headland (Russian Doll), who will also be serving as the showrunner. Joining Stenberg are Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game), Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Rebecca Henderson (Inventing Anna), Dean-Charles Chapman (1917), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Jodie Turner-Smith (After Yang), Charlie Barnett (Russian Doll), and Star Wars sequel trilogy alum Joonas Suotama as a new character in the form of a Wookiee Jedi master.

The Acolyte is described as a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers that will be set within the final days of the High Republic era. In addition to The Acolyte, Lucasfilm is also working on other Star Wars projects, including shows like Skeleton Crew, Andor Season 2 and Ahsoka Season 2.

The series premieres on June 4 on Disney+ with the first two episodes.

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