Even before it premiered, The Acolyte received a strong negative reaction from a decent percentage of Star Wars fans, but is the extreme criticism really warranted?

Amandla Stenberg stars in the series, which takes place over a hundred years before Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and criticism of the show inspired Stenberg to respond via music video titled “Discourse,” which was, not unexpectedly, also met with disdain by critics of The Acolyte.

There are many Star Wars fans who enjoy the show, however. So, for the purposes of this article, I’ll refer to the group of Star Wars fans who rather hate The Acolyte as “the traditionalists.” They make some good points, most of which have to do with not disrupting the Star Wars timeline, and they believe certain things should be sacred. The traditionalists have the greatest single point of all, actually, which is that Disney should never have decided to wipe away the original canon. Now, all of those stories — sans the feature films and whatever else Disney claims — are a part of “legends,” which is sort of an alternative timeline, and was the single worst idea Disney ever had, in regards to Star Wars.

Now, what about The Acolyte? Are the traditionalists right in their frustration, or is it a bridge too far? Let’s address the most popular criticisms, one by one.

Critique: The Acolyte is “too woke”

The “too woke” claims are born from a few different things. Is Amandla Stenberg’s skin color causing some to lose their minds? Perhaps it is, but only to a few “silly racists,” as Amandla would say in her song.

So what’s the real problem? First of all, traditionalists admit to being bothered by multiple Acolyte characters being anything but heterosexual. This is rather a foolish point, for obvious reasons, but it’s also strange when you consider that none of the characters are making out, anyway, so why do so many care? Some Star Wars traditionalists probably aren’t even watching it, as a misguided protest.

Secondly, the “too woke” crowd was triggered by some early reviews claiming that pronouns are changed in the series, referring to a person as “they” etc. What the traditionalists have missed is that this has only happened once, and it was inserted as a joke when Osha wasn’t sure which pronoun to use to refer to the tracking animal, so she referred to it as “they.” That is all.

Critique: The force creates two characters who ruin Anakin’s story

Anakin has no father, which is somewhat ironic, because his most famous line is talking about being someone’s daddy. “I am your father!” Yet, who’s your daddy, Darth? No one, that’s who.

Anakin was created by midichlorians, and Palpatine made it happen. In The Acolyte, it’s implied that both Osha and Mae are created this way by the woman who is their “mother.” The traditionalists were annoyed, because in their minds, this means that Anakin is not unique. However, in a vast galaxy where some people have significant force-wielding powers, someone else might achieve it at some point, with no one else finding out. That’s not unrealistic, when you consider that Anakin is basically created by the force.

Critique: Presence of Ki-Adi-Mundi ruins timeline

It’s indisputably true that Ki-Adi-Mundi’s presence makes no sense. He is not born yet, according to the legends timeline, but for the purposes of this show, they decided to change his birth date in canon. Yes, they can do that and, yes, Disney changed the original canon, as explained earlier, but that doesn’t mean they should start changing when characters exist. There is a point where shifting timelines, especially just to add a minor character to a show, is only going to frustrate fans, and this is an extremely good example.

That being stated, it doesn’t change any element of the story but, then again, that’s more the reason to be annoyed that Ki-Adi Mundi is being used when it could be someone else.

Critique: The present of Sith here ruins Phantom Menace

This is difficult to conclude….so far. Once season 1 wraps up, then we will have a better idea of what’s going on. Is Qmir really a Sith? Is he an early version/inspiration of the Knights of Ren? Does he even survive, and is his existence revealed to the Jedi Council? If the Council does become fully aware of him, do they choose to hide his existence and cover it up out the desire to not spark fear in the hearts of others?

Too many questions need to be answered yet to tackle this very reasonable critique.

Critique: The show sucks

Everyone has a right to their opinion, but the issue with some of the traditionalists is that they criticized it before even seeing it. Relying on some negative reviews, they decided to hate The Acolyte before it ever premiered, and some admitted to not seeing it, even after claiming it’s horrible.

Such critiques are dishonest. Even worse, when some of those particular traditionalists do decide to watch it, they do so with the intent to find something that justifies their hatred of it. So, they aren’t even watching it with the goal to enjoy it.

My personal critique is that it’s a shame that so many choose to hate The Acolyte without giving it a real chance. I find it disappointing because I truly believe that many of the traditionalists would really like the series if they watched it without desperately trying to find something to complain about. Just watch it. Enjoy it. It’s actually a very rewarding show to watch because, in my opinion, it delivers and it offers some unique elements to a Star Wars story which is very much needed.

I get that some people might genuinely dislike it, but most Star Wars fans seem to agree that it’s a solid show. The traditionalists are missing out and, sadly, they seem pretty happy about it.


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