The Boldest New Star Wars Show Is Inspired by Tarantino — and a Disney Princess

Star Wars has never been original. The first movie borrowed liberally from the samurai cinema of Akira Kurosawa, the science fiction novel Dune, and anything else George Lucas thought was cool. In the decades since, Star Wars continued to take inspiration from wherever its writers and directors saw fit. But one upcoming show could borrow ideas from some very unexpected places.

In a recent interview with Empire (via Reddit), Leslye Headland, showrunner on the upcoming Star Wars series The Acolyte, offered new insight into their show, which remains one of the most mysterious pieces of Lucasfilm’s roadmap. The Acolyte takes place during the twilight of the High Republic, an era set roughly a hundred years before the prequel trilogy, and one we’ve never seen in live-action.

Star Wars’ surprising new inspiration

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

A Band Apart

If that’s not much to go on, then perhaps Headland’s original pitch to Lucasfilm will help: “Kill Bill Meets Frozen.”

Yes, The Acolyte is inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked revenge thriller… and a Disney musical about a pair of princess sisters.

“It is sort of a joke, but it was my elevator pitch,” Headland said. “I want to take that revisionist version of female villains that you see in fairy-tale media and tell it through that lens.”

If you’re still not sold, then you need to revisit Frozen. The Disney mega-hit took the archetypal Snow Queen, the villain from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, and turned her on her head. With The Acolyte, Star Wars hopes to do the same for the Sith, portraying the infamous villains in a new light; and maybe a better one. Combine that with the action-focused antics of Kill Bill, and you might just have a new Star Wars classic.

“Here’s the thing,” Headland says. “What is an action sequence, if not a musical number?”

The Acolyte and Star Wars canon

The Acolyte will solve a Palpatine mystery.

Lucasfilm

But if you’re wondering what this all means for Star Wars canon, Leslye Headland has you covered. The Acolyte promises to answer a question that’s plagued Star Wars fans for years: how did the Sith manage to secretly return, build their strength, and conquer the Republic from the inside out?

The obvious answer has always been that the Jedi were simply too confident to notice the threat right under their noses, but The Acolyte could dig into the specifics. By setting the action 100 years before The Phantom Menace, Star Wars can explore the earliest steps in the Sith plot to get their revenge. Palpatine’s plot to seize power was elaborate, but it had to begin with a single step.

The Acolyte is expected to debut on Disney+ in early 2024.

Star Wars has never been original. The first movie borrowed liberally from the samurai cinema of Akira Kurosawa, the science fiction novel Dune, and anything else George Lucas thought was cool. In the decades since, Star Wars continued to take inspiration from wherever its writers and directors saw fit. But one upcoming show could borrow…

Star Wars has never been original. The first movie borrowed liberally from the samurai cinema of Akira Kurosawa, the science fiction novel Dune, and anything else George Lucas thought was cool. In the decades since, Star Wars continued to take inspiration from wherever its writers and directors saw fit. But one upcoming show could borrow…