The Acolyte Showrunner Responds to the Review-Bombing Campaign Against the Star Wars Series
Star Wars Fantasy & Sci-Fi

The Acolyte Showrunner Responds to the Review-Bombing Campaign Against the Star Wars Series

Leslye Headland can't help but question the reliability of audience scores and reviews today amid the review-bombing campaign against Star Wars: The Acolyte.

Star Wars: The Acolyte Credit: Lucasfilm / Disney+

Star Wars: The Acolyte has already been the subject of serious review-bombing on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic even before its premiere. Though the show has received positive reviews from critics, the same can’t be said of the audience’s reactions. In fact, many have been trashing the series for different reasons: i.e., for being helmed by a female showrunner, Leslye Headland, having a diverse cast, the prominence of women and people of color, ruining the canon, and more. Hence, with these reactions, Headland admits to expecting the review-bombing and questions the credibility of audience scores and reviews nowadays.

In an interview with Collider, Headland responded to the review-bombing campaign against The Acolyte. As of this writing, there’s a massive gap between the Disney+ series’ critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, with the latter only sitting at 14%, though critics give it a whopping 83%. But despite the poor reviews, the show’s creator isn’t surprised at all.

“I think that because behind the scenes, we all know what it is — it's not that it's not concerning — but I think it's pretty expected. I would say,” she explained.

Headland continued that being part of the Star Wars fandom made her understand what “review bombing is.” In fact, this isn’t the first time that it has happened to a Star Wars project. It dates back to the prequel era with Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, in which the audience score dramatically dropped to 66% in 2011—six years after its original release—after getting a satisfactory 85%. And it doesn’t even end there, with other series and movies receiving negative reactions, like Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. That said, Headland can’t help but question the reliability of audience reviews today.

“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 asked. “Perhaps the average… 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.’”

Headland understands that the user review may affect viewers new to the fandom and considering watching The Acolyte. However, she’s confident in her past work, being “word-of-mouth,” like Netflix’s Russian Doll.


Star Wars: The Acolyte Becomes the 2nd Most Successful Star Wars Series Despite the Backlash

Amid the backlash and hate, The Acolyte has become the second most successful Star Wars series, surpassing Star Wars: Ahsoka and even the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Andor. The third-party analytic Reelgood revealed, via ScreenRant, that the series has been performing well since its premiere on June 4 on Disney+.

The site examined the viewing trends across all the US streaming platforms and analyzed its data to see how the show performed compared to other live-action series from the franchise 14 days after its release. Though it received a lower viewership than Ahsoka during its first week of airing, it has outperformed it and the average top 100 TV shows by a factor of six, including The Mandalorian Seasons 1 to 3, The Book of Boba Fett, and Andor. The only show that it didn’t manage to beat was Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, which outdid the average top 100 shows by a factor of eight and came out as the most successful Star Wars live-action series.


Star Wars: The Acolyte Episode 6's Unknown Planet Seemingly Hints at Sequel Trilogy Connection & Sith's Origins

Evidently, the hate and criticisms The Acolyte receives are not new for the franchise. Despite all the negative reviews Star Wars has received, there’s no denying that it has remained one of the most successful franchises today.

The Acolyte Episodes 1 to 6 are available on Disney+, and new episodes are scheduled to be released every Tuesday.

About the author

Jonnalyn Cortez (1239 Articles Published)

Jonnalyn is a book lover who discovers Netflix and gets stuck on the couch watching all day. If she’s not busy writing about her favorite fandoms, she plays with her Star Wars-inspired-named dogs, Chewie and Wookie.