The Force is with The Acolyte, cricket on Amazon & trailblazing Matildas

Josh Leeson
June 7 2024 - 7:00am
The Acolyte is set 100 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire when the Jedi Council was at its zenith. Picture Disney+
The Acolyte is set 100 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire when the Jedi Council was at its zenith. Picture Disney+



Depending on your point of view (to paraphrase Obi-wan Kenobi in Return Of The Jedi) Disney's ownership of Star Wars has either been an enjoyable expansion of its beloved universe, or a bastardisation of its legacy.

For every Rogue One, there's a The Rise Of Skywalker or Book Of Boba Fett. There's no question that Star Wars lost its magic dust long ago, but interesting stories can still be told and at least the latest series The Acolyte treads unfamiliar territory.

Star Wars famously always happened "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away", and The Acolyte places itself even further in the past by setting the scene 100 years before the rise of the Galactic Empire.

So there's no stormtroopers, no Skywalkers and seemingly no war with the Jedi Council at the height of its power and influence.

But that peace is shattered when a Jedi is murdered by a Force-wielding assassin and a former padawan (an apprentice Jedi) is the prime suspect.

The casting, like much of Disney's recent Star Wars productions, reeks of box-ticking and feels overly aimed at a teen or young adult audience.

The various fight scenes also feel more like a marital arts film than Star Wars.

However, the first two episodes and the unfolding murder mystery means The Acolyte possesses enough intrigue to potentially be Disney's best Star Wars series since Andor.


Amazon Prime

For the first time cricket fans are being forced to pay subscription fees to watch Australian matches at a World Cup. It's just not cricket, is it?

The outrage has been fairly muted, possibly due to the fact cricket beyond the Ashes struggles to excite most of us during winter when the footy codes are in full flight.

You suspect if Australia's World Cup campaign continues through to the semi-finals, criticism of Amazon Prime's exclusive rights deal will be amplified.

Regardless, Amazon's power play into the world of sports TV rights could have major ramifications moving forward. The global streaming giant owns the rights to the 50-over World Cup, the Champions Trophy and the World Test Championship Final until 2027.

Cricket Australia's decision to place all of its home One Day Internationals behind a paywall with Foxtel and Kayo Sport has seen a further drop in interest for the 50-over format.

With cricket no longer holding the mantle of Australia's No.1 sport unchallenged, the Amazon deal might leave the sport stumped.

Matildas star Mary Fowler. Picture by Adam McLean
Matildas star Mary Fowler. Picture by Adam McLean



If anyone has usurped Patrick Cummins' boys as Australia's favourite sporting team, then it's the Matildas. Last year's FIFA Women's World Cup was a ground-breaking moment as 11 million people tuned into to watch the Matildas semi-final against England.

New documentary Trailblazers explores the women who fought sexism, for equal pay and for respect to lay the platform for Sam Kerr, Mary Fowler and Hayley Raso to become international soccer stars.

At just 37 minutes Trailblazers is disappointingly brief and the complex story of women's soccer in Australia is truncated into a stream of talking head interviews. An opportunity lost.

Reviews by Josh Leeson

Josh Leeson

Josh Leeson


Josh Leeson is an entertainment and features journalist, specialising in music, at the Newcastle Herald. He first joined the masthead in 2008 after stints at the Namoi Valley Independent and Port Stephens Examiner and has previously covered sport including the Asian Cup, A-League, Surfest, cricket and rugby league.