There are many things in this world that are a given, and you would think after more than forty years, ten movies and multiple TV shows there would be no-one who hasn't seen at least one of many Star Wars projects out there. It seems though that there are those out there who have never frequented the Death Star or Tatooine, and some of them are currently working on the newest Disney+ show, Star Wars: The Acolyte. While it may seem strange to want people writing for a franchise they have never seen, that was a purposeful decision by showrunner Leslye Headland, who revealed in an interview with The AV Club that she wanted writers who were not the Star Wars lover that she is herself.
"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," she explained. "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."
Broadening the field of writers and including those who have never touched on the franchise before was like breathing new life into the project, and Headland went on to talk about her reaction to the writer's feedback.
"What I also learned about hiring my room is that everyone's fandom was very different. 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...?' [Laughs.] 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? So while she did her due diligence and did a lot of background work and research, at the same time, she was somebody that we would kind of talk to and say, 'Okay, so if we take all the kind of signifiers out of it, and this is Star Wars version of X, what does it mean to you?' She would be able to give some feedback: 'Well, I'm kind of wondering what's going on with this character. And in this scene, I'm wondering why so-and-so isn't saying this.'"
While details on The Acolyte are pretty much non-existent at this point, it looks like the Star Wars series is going to be both familiar and new thanks to the enigmatic mix of writers, some knowing the lore of Star Wars and others willing to question it. In the meantime, we have a number of other upcoming series to look forward to in the near future such as The Book of Boba Fett, Andor, The Mandlorian Season 3 and Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi. What a time to be a fan of Star Wars, or if you haven't dabbled before, what a time to start.