Lee Jung-jae, the first Asian actor to win Outstanding Lead Actor at the Emmy Awards, is set to star as a Jedi master in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off series, The Acolyte, on Disney+. According to his management agency, Artist Company, Lee attended Star Wars Celebration in London on Friday and shared his experience of working on The Acolyte. Lee is excited to join the Star Wars franchise and take on this iconic role.
"As English is not my first language, I would have declined the role if The Acolyte were not a Star Wars series. But who could refuse the chance to be a part of Star Wars?" Lee stated. "I was overwhelmed with emotion the first time I held a 'light saber' during an action scene." Lee also expressed his confidence in the upcoming series, saying, "I guarantee that The Acolyte will be the most captivating story in the Star Wars universe." In the show, Lee's character is a Jedi Master who wields a lightsaber and has expertise in mechanical engineering.
"The Acolyte" is an eight-episode series that takes place 100 years before the events of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999). The show is set at the end of the Republic era and focuses on the emergence of a new evil force and the dark secrets of the galaxy. "I wanted to explore the Star Wars universe and tell the story from the villains' perspective. My pitch was “Frozen” meets “Kill Bill," creator Leslye Headland explained.
Including an Asian actor in the role of a Jedi Master is significant for the Star Wars franchise, as it reflects a commitment to expanding diversity on screen. Amandla Stenberg, a black actress, will play the former padawan of Lee Jung-jae's Jedi master. According to Collider, the series will "break with Star Wars tradition by featuring the most ethnically diverse cast yet." Deadline has also reported that the show will be a rarity in featuring both an Asian actor and a black woman in leading roles.