The Sith Master in The Acolyte

‘The Acolyte’ Showrunner Has the Right Take on All the Review-Bombing

The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland recently addressed the review-bombing of the show, pointing out that it’s rather inconsequential because no one is actually going to take such blatant trolling seriously.

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After creating the award-winning comedy series Russian Doll, Headland created the most recent Star Wars original series, The Acolyte. The series follows twin sisters Osha and Mae (Amandla Stenberg) as they become entangled with the Jedi and Sith after the destruction of their home. It has received stellar reviews from critics who enjoy the refreshing and unique premise of the show, its diversity, and its exciting incorporation of Legends and Star Wars lore. Episode five especially drew praise as some Star Wars fans hailed its brutal and epic Jedi battle as one of the best in the franchise.

Unfortunately, even before it premiered, The Acolyte got on the radar of the “anti-woke” mob. While it’s not uncommon for trolls to lose it over any show deemed “woke,” they’ve seemed even more unhinged than usual over this series. It has turned into an all-out obsession for many, who have been review-bombing the show, harassing and launching racist attacks on the cast and crew, writing death threats to Wookieepedia editors, and devoting hours every week to religiously watching new episodes and melting down over every little detail. Fortunately, Headland isn’t very concerned about their trolling.

The Acolyte showrunner responds to ridiculous review-bombing

In an interview with Collider, Headland responded to the review-bombing of her show and why she’s not overly bothered by it. For one, she and her team saw the review-bombing coming. Bigots are getting fairly predictable with their trolling, to the point that many viewers don’t even read or care about audience reviews anymore because fake, poor reviews are so common. Headland stated, “Oh, yes. Everybody knows what review-bombing is like. Truly, when the show first came out, my publicist was like, ‘OK, with the review …’ I was like, ‘Does anybody take that seriously anymore?'”

She went on to explain why she thinks review-bombing is especially pointless with a Star Wars show. Headland understands the “point” is supposedly to deter people from watching the series because potential users may be concerned about seeing a meager audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, anyone who is a part of the Star Wars fandom is going to be familiar with review-bombing. It has become customary for fake fans to start losing their minds anytime the franchise acknowledges women or shows hints of inclusivity. Since Star Wars fans are well aware of fake reviews, the review-bombing would only potentially work with complete newcomers to the franchise, who are hard to come by with a franchise as big and popular as this one.

Headland explained, “I understand the point of it, which is that the average viewer would look at the site and say, ‘Oh, the user review is really low.’ But I think that, if you’re in the Star Wars fandom, I think you already know what review-bombing is. So I guess if you’re totally new to the fandom and you’re considering watching the show, it could affect you.” Meanwhile, she also noticed that her previous works gained traction by “word-of-mouth,” so even new viewers would have other ways of learning the truth about her show.

The Acolyte showrunner concluded, “It’s not that it’s not concerning—but I think it’s pretty expected.” She makes a good point about the review-bombing. On the one hand, review-bombing will also be somewhat concerning because it’s such a disgusting display of hatred and harassment. However, it has become so common that people know what it is and do not pay it any mind. After all, the review-bombing of The Acolyte is so ridiculous it’s impossible not to know that it’s completely biased. The critics’ score is a solid 83%, while the trolls managed to get the audience score down to 14% with tens of thousands of nonsensical one-sentence or one-word half-star reviews.

It’s quite humorous how the trolls genuinely think they’re doing something with these reviews when, in reality, they’re just wasting their time. Even the person who created the show doesn’t really care about their “reviews.”

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.