Embracing the Unknown: A ROGUE Approach to Redefining Star Wars Design

When Star Wars veteran Kevin Jenkins, who has worked on everything from Rogue One to The Rise of Skywalker, set out to craft the Disney Plus series The Acolyte, he stepped into an entirely new creative realm. This was not just a departure from the cinematic properties; it was a retreat from the signature imagery that defined the franchise.

The ROGUE Challenge: Reinventing Star Wars for "The Acolyte"

One of the central paradoxes of The Acolyte’s production design is how to stay unquestionably Star Wars yet radically deviate from its aesthetic lexicon. ‘This was not a Star Wars one could look up in a book,’ Jenkins said. ‘You can’t go to the Lego Star Wars box and just do that.’ For a franchise built on its visual lexicon as much as its character tropes and story arcs (Stormtroopers, Star Destroyers, Sith versus Jedi), that’s a rogue move par excellence.

The Path Untraveled: A ROGUE Design Philosophy

Jenkins’s basic philosophy for ‘The Acolyte’, to lift a line from his own show – ‘Rogue One’ (2016) – ‘is to cut it off’. By deconstructing 75 per cent of the Star Wars form, he is trying to make it feel new for both veteran and novice fans. And a rogue is not just a regressive scofflaw, sassing the boss and makin’ trouble under the table. A true rogue philosophy must mean breaking off – adding on.

ROGUE Elements: Innovating Within a Legacy

But how do you go rogue in a universe as codified as Star Wars? For Jenkins and his team, it meant digging into the franchise’s under-documented eras, looking to the spirit and not the literal source material. Their rogue mission led to a new, if recognisable, visual language, honouring Star Wars while leaving some creative space for itself.

Meeting the ROGUE Challenge: The Visual Symphony of "The Acolyte"

The spirit of the rogue animates ‘The Acolyte’, Jenkins’s contribution to a series that has, for now, abandoned the crutch of iconography that Stormtroopers represented – for a new, lush, colourful, enveloping symphony of visuals that feels simultaneously fresh and long overdue. It is visible not just in what is absent, but in the freshness of the things that have been newly created.

The ROGUE Effect: Reshaping Fan Expectations

In going rogue, ‘The Acolyte’ does more than reimagine Star Wars for a new generation; it reimagines the possibilities of its audience. This rogue story, on a rogue set, underlines Star Wars’s promise to provoke and to expand: it welcomes fans not merely to the shifting lineages and geographics of Star Wars stories, but to the use of them as a launching pad for endlessly reimagined worlds: a place where the uncharted is revealed not as a void, but as an Apprentice.

Understanding "ROGUE" in The Creative Galaxy of Star Wars

The term ‘rogue’ is loaded because it’s a word associated with rebels and mavericks, and the other definition of rogue, funnily enough, is a scoundrel or a rascal. It challenges the status quo, which I think is a very appropriate way to describe how Star Wars has grown and evolved since that time, and all of us working on The Acolyte are just so happy that we can claim to belong to it. It’s a connection that gives us the confidence to be creative and try to do things differently because Star Wars has always shown its willingness to reinvent what a Star Wars story can be. This rogue approach, this willingness to be original, has brought us deep into the world of what this story was going to be and how we wanted to tell it. We’ve set out on a path to not just expand one universe – but to expand a legacy that has been a source of joy for people around the world for more than four decades.

Put another way, when it comes to the creative endeavour that is Star Wars, celebrating the rogue means embracing change. It means that new instalments will respect their legacy even as they blaze across the galaxy’s horizon.

Jun 09, 2024
<< Go Back