“She Was A Child”: The Acolyte Showrunner Confirms That Jedi Death Broke All The Disney Rules


The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland confirms how the death of Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) in episode 5, “Night”, challenges the expectations of modern Star Wars. The Jedi Padawan is killed by Qimir (Manny Jacinto), a Sith Lord also known as the Stranger, in the devastating episode. With a cast of almost entirely new characters, and at least one prominent character being killed in every The Acolyte episode, the live-action series has quickly proven that no one is safe in this story.

While speaking with Inverse, Headland addresses the creative and narrative decisions behind Jecki’s death and why it is important to break some of the expectations surrounding Disney’s Star Wars. She discusses how Jecki’s fate feels distinct from previous stories told in the franchise, particularly since the Disney acquisition, and the impact it has on The Acolyte’s story moving forward. Read her comments below:

I do think it’s kind of cool that there’s a lot of, for lack of a better term, self-awareness among the Star Wars franchise. There are certain Disney rules like “Oh, yeah, you’re not going to kill that character. How could you?” And not only did we kill that character, but we killed the character in such a shocking and frankly upsetting way — and then didn’t even really give her a hero death either. I mean, she has the hero’s death because she gets Qimir’s helmet off before she dies.

“She Was A Child” Was A More Important Comment Than You Think

It Calls Out A Bold Story Decision

On numerous levels, Jecki’s death proves that no character is safe in this story, regardless of their age, training, or how developed they are.

After Jecki is killed in The Acolyte episode 5, the heartbroken Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) states “She was a child,” a line that takes on greater meaning when considering the out-of-universe context. In the past, Star Wars has often been reluctant to kill its major characters, and killing children rarely happens. When it does occur, including in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin Skywalker kills Jedi younglings, this atrocity understandably happens offscreen, with the film only showing the dark side-consumed Anakin approaching the frightened children.

Sol’s “She was a child” line calls out The Acolyte’s audacity to not only kill a young and prominent character but specifically calls out showing the child’s death to the audience as Qimir’s red lightsabers plunge through Jecki three times, and the light fades from her eyes. Expectations are further defied by having the noble, wise, and likable Jecki die without a traditional hero’s death. Headland acknowledges that Jecki is the one to unmask Qimir, but this doesn’t undo the suffering Qimir has inflicted and doesn’t stop him from soon after killing another Jedi, Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett).

In only five episodes, The Acolyte has raised the stakes and made bolder narrative decisions than many of Star Wars’ other live-action stories in the past decade. On numerous levels, Jecki’s death proves that no character is safe in this story, regardless of their age, training, or how developed they are. As The Acolyte enters its final three episodes of season 1, even Osha, Mae (Amandla Stenberg), and Sol are not guaranteed to make it out alive.