The Acolyte’s Vernestra Rwoh Has ‘Been Through Some Shit’ After The High Republic Novels – Exclusive

The Acolyte – Exclusive

by Ben Travis |
Updated on

For the most part, The Acolyte is set to be an entirely new Star Wars experience. It’s set in an unexplored era, 100 years prior to The Phantom Menace; it has an entirely new cast of Jedi; its mystery plot is being kept tightly under wraps. But for fans of The High Republic novels – set 100 years before The Acolyte – there’ll be a familiar face. Rebecca Henderson is playing Vernestra Rwoh – a High Republic character who, in the books, is a prodigious young Jedi Knight who passed the trials at 15, and soon finds herself facing the threat of the marauding Nihil. In The Acolyte, the green-skinned Mirialan is now 116 years old – and a fully-fledged Jedi Master based in the temple on Coruscant.

The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland is thrilled to have Rwoh be part of her series. “I absolutely love Vernestra. You can tell, because I cast my wife,” she laughs while speaking to Empire. But, she says, much has changed in the time between the High Republic novels and where we find Vernestra now – she’s “been through some shit,” according to the showrunner. “That has resulted in her going from this fun-seeking adventurer character [in the books], to a little bit closer to the [type of] Jedi that we see in The Phantom Menace,” Headland teases. Most notably, in the High Republic books, Vernestra has converted her purple lightsaber so that its blade can also become a lightwhip – though Headland is keeping schtum on whether we’ll see some lightwhip action in The Acolyte.

While books like Out Of The Shadows see Rwoh figuring out her earliest years as a Jedi Knight, the significant time-jump in The Acolyte means she holds serious stature in the series. “Because she has been around for so long, she has basically met everyone that has come through the Temple, and seen them all die their natural deaths if they’re living a natural human life,” explains Henderson. “She’s known [Lee Jung-jae’s Jedi Master] Sol since he was a tiny child.”

Vernestra Rwoh is, Headland confirms, the only High Republic novel character set to appear in The Acolyte – for now. But should feature seasons be granted, there are thoughts of other characters from the books who could make the leap to the screen. “I’ve already talked to Pablo Hidalgo about it,” teases Headland. Start your guesses now for who could be next.

Empire – The Acolyte – June 2024 issue newsstand cover

Read Empire’s full The Acolyte cover feature – going deep on Star Wars’ boldest streaming series yet, speaking to creator Leslye Headland and stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joonas Suotamo, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Rebecca Henderson, Manny Jacinto and Jodie Turner-Smith – in the June 2024 issue, on sale Thursday 11 April. Order a copy online here. The Acolyte streams on Disney+ in the UK from 5 June.

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