Brand new Star Wars has sci-fi fans totally divided over latest Disney+ series

Critics and fans can't agree on The Acolyte

The Acolyte
(Image credit: Disney)

The latest Star Wars show is finally here, and it's been a good amount of time coming. The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+, for those with a subscription, and it's the first live-action outing for a very new era of the saga's timeline – the old High Republic, when the Jedi Order was at its height. 

The show follows the trail of a killer hunting down Jedi at a time when such actions aren't the bread and butter of a rising evil empire, and stars Squid Game's Lee Jung-jae. Check out the trailer below if you've not already:

Jung-jae plays a Jedi Master enlisted to investigate these crimes, quickly uncovering a dark web that looks likely to lead to the ever-present Sith. Amandla Stenberg also stars in an intriguing double-role as Force-using twins separated for most of their lives. 

That's a fun premise, but the show has been greeted by a real spread of reviews (as is increasingly common for Disney's TV output). Checking Rotten Tomatoes for an immediate sense check, the show's two episodes so far have been greeted by a spectrum of responses.

From critics, there's an 88% score at the time of writing, which would represent a terrific result, but audiences are clearly much less impressed, with initially only 50% of them reviewing it positively (which since writing this has dropped further to 46%, so maybe the general fan opinion isn't done yet).

It's early days on that front, though – the public has only been able to watch two episodes so far, with more to come on a weekly basis, so these are arguably slightly knee-jerk reactions at this stage. Or maybe the criticism is granted and it'll only slide from here on out.

One common thread of criticism in these audience reviews seems to be that the murder-mystery element of the show is hard to really nail given that it can't get too dark due to the franchise's age-rating. One person wrote, to this point: "Despite attempts to blend a murder mystery with classic Star Wars elements, the execution feels disjointed and lacks the darker tone required." 

That's pushed back on by plenty of critics, though, including one pretty comprehensive viewpoint: "Exhibiting influences that blend martial-arts movies, young-adult fiction and the detective genre, it’s an intriguing if modest addition whose lack of connection to existing canon proves both an advantage and disadvantage."

So, the only way forward is really to find out for yourself – you can catch the first two episodes of The Acolyte now streaming on what's clearly the only and best streaming service for Star Wars fans, Disney+. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.