[Warning: Contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Acolyte.] By now I’d venture a guess that a good portion of the Star Wars fan base has seen the first two episodes of The Acolyte. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure about the show on my first viewing. Upon a second watch, however, I found a deeper appreciation for what the show is/can be and what it will represent in the greater SW lore. As I reflect on the series’ start, I’ve also realized the brilliance of its premiere’s big “bait-and-switch.”

The Acolyte; Star Wars
Carrie-Ann Moss as Jedi Master Indara in The Acolyte. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

For weeks leading up to the prequel Star Wars series’ debut, Disney and Lucasfilm inundated us with images of Carrie-Ann Moss (the Matrix series) fighting as Jedi Master Indara. Fans had hoped to see Moss throughout The Acolyte… only to have showrunner Leslye Headland kill Moss’s character off before the show’s first action sequence was even completed. So, the question is this: was featuring Moss in the promotional content disingenuous, or genius? Probably a little of both, but more the latter.

The Acolyte bait-and-switch is actually a good thing

The Acolyte; Indara; Carrie-Ann Moss
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Let’s be honest – Star Wars live-action television has been a bit of a rollercoaster. The Mandalorian was excellent for two seasons, but trailed off in Season 3. Ahsoka was a fan-service series. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that by any means.) Obi-Wan Kenobi? Again, on second watch, better than the credit some give it. Andor was arguably one of the best things to happen Star Wars in decades. The Book of Boba Fett? Well… Let’s just say The Acolyte needed to do something to really grab viewers attention. Using Carrie-Anne Moss to draw viewers in before the show even premiered was exactly what it needed.

Skeptics, especially Matrix fans, would tune in just to see “Trinity” in action again. And they got what they wanted, in very Matrix-esque style. The show needed a hook, and Moss was it. But here’s the thing: Once hooked, viewers didn’t turn away. Nearly five million views in the first day (4.8 million, to be exact) tell us that viewers truly came to watch The Acolyte. The truer test will be the view numbers for tomorrow night’s third episode…. Was the “Trinity Tease” enough to allow the series to sustain its exceptional start? I wouldn’t bet against it.

The Acolyte
Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jong-jae) in The Acolyte. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Were we deceived? Sure. Does it really matter? Based on the rest of what we saw, probably not much. Especially because of what we’ve seen from Lee Jong-jae’s Master Sol so far. If The Acolyte kills him off too, though….

Episodes 1 and 2 are now streaming on Disney+. New episodes drop every Tuesday at 9:00 pm Eastern.