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Star Wars: The Acolyte Review Roundup

Here's what the critics are saying about Star Wars: The Acolyte.

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The first two episodes of The Acolyte have arrived to give Star Wars fans a new chapter in an era previously unexplored by the other shows or movies. Now that the reviews are out for the show, we're combing through review excerpts below to help you get an idea if The Acolyte is worth your time.

GameSpot gave the series a 8/10 in our review of The Acolyte. Reviewer Phil Owen wrote that he is "really digging the direction the show is taking through the first four episodes." He also notes that the show "enthusiastically [makes] use of Star Wars as a setting to create something fresh."

The Acolyte was created and written by Leslye Headland, with Headland directing the first two episodes. The series stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Charlie Barnett, Dafne Keen, Rebecca Henderson, Jodie Turner-Smith, Carrie-Anne Moss, Manny Jacinto, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Joonas Suotamo.

You can see a sampling of review scores and excerpts below and more critical consensus at GameSpot's sister site Metacritic.

The Acolyte

  • Directed by: Leslye Headland
  • Written by: Leslye Headland, Jason Micallef and Charmaine DeGrate
  • Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Charlie Barnett, Dafne Keen
  • Release Date: June 4

GameSpot -- 8/10

"Much more striking to me, though, is how neutral the tone of this series is, something that was likely made possible because of how far removed it is from the main franchise. This is a show that has a lot of familiar iconography but isn't reverent about it. The Jedi are just magic cops, and not treated as inherently good--you may bring that presupposition with you when you watch The Acolyte, but the series itself is not reinforcing that idea." -- Phil Owen [Full review]

The Hollywood Reporter -- No Score

"The Acolyte does not throw out the Star Wars playbook entirely. It's faithful to the charms that have carried this series for so many decades: strange planets, weird creatures, lightsaber battles with a fresh wuxia flair. Mae's murderous quest is backed by a mysterious figure whose helmet, weapon and mechanical voice recall Darth Vader, suggesting this narrative could yet come down to another Sith-versus-Jedi battle... But in its willingness to challenge our assumptions, The Acolyte finds its own place. It's one deep in the gray, between the poles of light and dark that have defined so much of its galaxy." -- Angie Han [Full review]

Variety -- No Score

"The Acolyte combines the classical elements that give Star Wars an evergreen appeal with new additions to the canon, a strong core cast and a brisk pace. The show also underscores a lesson Star Wars has taught itself in the past, though hasn't quite taken to heart: you don't need to recycle elements from the master narrative to make its offshoots compelling. In fact, the opposite approach is often more rewarding." -- Alison Herman [Full review]

Paste Magazine -- 8.7/10

"Fans have never experienced a significant secret the audience was blind to since the Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker reveal. The Acolyte provides just that. Seeing the Jedi at the height of their powers is impressive. But seeing them, at their apex, utterly confused and at times powerless is even better. Jedi are being hunted but they have no idea who’s behind it or what the motivation is. Neither does the audience. The mystery of this series is what will keep you riveted to your screen." -- Terry Terrones [Full review]

Rolling Stone -- No Score

"In other words, this feels like a narrative dead end. That doesn't automatically preclude a good series: The fact that no one learns anything here could be the whole tragic point of the story Headland and company are telling. It's good to see another Star Wars project that, like Andor, interrogates some of the franchise's fundamental assumptions. Entertainment-wise, though, the first half of The Acolyte is unfortunately a lot closer to The Book of Boba Fett." -- Alan Sepinwall [Full review]

USA Today -- 5/10

All the sci-fi/fantasy jargon, dramatic costumes, brightly colored lightsabers, fancy hairdos and ominous villains Headland can stuff into Acolyte can't make a good story on their own. There has to be some emotion and depth to the characters and their woes. There has to be more than perfunctory plot points. There has to be a sense of adventure and wonder. And there has to be something that captures the feeling of Star Wars, not just the aesthetics. Acolyte doesn't have it, no matter how hard it tries." -- Kelly Lawler [Full review]

IGN -- 6/10

"Outside of its exciting Jedi fight scenes its execution sometimes feels off, with frequent cheesy moments and a lack of visual flair that contributes to the ongoing concern that all these Star Wars streaming series have diminished the epic nature of the franchise and what makes it special. Taken on its own terms, The Acolyte does offer some enjoyable character dynamics and an enticing mystery, but its first four episodes fail to coalesce into something that truly shines. But look, it does have a Wookiee Jedi, and that's always a plus." -- Eric Goldman [Full review]

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