We have learned that the directing team for Star Wars: The Acolyte has expanded with After Yang director Kogonada and The Witcher director Alex Garcia Lopez. The two are joining the directing team alongside showrunner Leslye Headland who is also currently helming episodes of the Lucasfilm series in the United Kingdom.
Both Kogonada and Alex Garcia Lopez have very storied resumes in the television industry. Alex Garcia Lopez was heavily involved in the Marvel Netflix franchise, having directed episodes of Daredevil Season 3, The Punisher Season 2, and Luke Cage Season 2. Dedicated Daredevil fans should recognize Alex Garcia Lopez’s name since he directed two of season 3’s most wild sequences: the 11-minute one-take jailbreak/prison riot set piece and the church battle between Daredevil himself and Bullseye. Since that franchise came to an end, the Argentine filmmaker has continued his relationship with Netflix by directing episodes of The Witcher, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and 2021’s Cowboy Bebop.
Kogonada may boast a shorter resume in both film and TV, but it is filled with beloved gems. The South Korean filmmaker burst onto the scene with his 2017 feature directorial debut Columbus, starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson. His second feature After Yang, starring Colin Farrell, Justin H. Min, and Jodie Turner-Smith, was one of the most critically acclaimed independent features of last year.
After Yang was a major hit for indie distributor A24. Kogonada’s film racked up various accolades and nominations following its win of the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Furthermore, Colin Farrell’s turnout in After Yang resulted in the star winning Best Actor at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, and the National Society of Film Critics Awards.
Kogonada was also credited as director and executive producer for 4 episodes of the critical hit Apple TV+ series Pachinko, which has won various major accolades including Best Foreign Language Series at the Critics Choice Awards, Best Ensemble Cast in a New Scripted Series at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Breakthrough Series at the Gotham Awards, and TV Program of the Year at the AFI Awards. Pachinko received a Primetime Emmy nomination for its main title design as well.
Star Wars: The Acolyte will reunite Kogonada with After Yang star Jodie Turner-Smith, who is part of the supporting cast of the series. Led by Amandla Stenberg, the cast of Star Wars: The Acolyte is confirmed to so far feature Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game), Manny Jacinto (Nine Perfect Strangers), Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Rebecca Henderson (Inventing Anna), Charlie Barnett (Russian Doll), Dean-Charles Chapman (1917), and Carrie-Ann Moss (The Matrix).
Star Wars: The Acolyte is said to be a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era (which is roughly 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace). A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated. Just how far back this show will dive into the history of the Sith and the dark side remains to be seen.
From creator, showrunner, and executive producer Leslye Headland (Russian Doll), Star Wars: The Acolyte has already started production in the U.K. The executive producers are Kathleen Kennedy, Simon Emanuel, Jeff F. King, and Jason Micallef. Rayne Roberts and Damian Anderson are producing. Headland will direct the pilot episode of Star Wars: The Acolyte, however, it is currently unknown if she is helming other episodes of the series or how those directing duties will be split between Kogonada and Alex Garcia Lopez.
With Star Wars: The Acolyte currently in the midst of production, it can be expected that this series will debut on Disney+ sometime in 2024, depending on when production does wrap. As for what can be expected from Star Wars in 2023, fans can already look forward to the Season 3 premiere of The Mandalorian airing March 1 on Disney+ and continuing for 8 weeks until the series finale. After that, Star Wars: Visions will premiere its second season in its entirety on May 4, with new shorts from famed animation studios from across the globe, including Aardman and Cartoon Saloon.
At this moment, there are a few undated titles from the Star Wars universe that are expected to release on Disney+ in 2023. Ahsoka, starring Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eman Esfandi, Hayden Christensen, and Ivanna Sakhno, is perhaps more well-known and highly-anticipated by audiences. Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, a new original series inspired by The Goonies and led by Jude Law from the director of Marvel Studios and Sony’s recent Spider-Man trilogy Jon Watts, is arriving in the latter half of 2023 too.
More information on these upcoming Disney+ original shows from Lucasfilm, as well as Kogonada and Alex Garcia Lopez’s directing duties on Star Wars: The Acolyte, is expected to be revealed at this year’s Star Wars Celebration Europe, taking place on April 7-10 at ExCeL London.