The Acolyte creator on ‘gayest Star Wars’ yet and ‘lesbian’ R2-D2

Amandla Stenberg in Star Wars The Acolyte and robot R2-D2.

The creator of The Acolyte, Leslye Headland, and non-binary star Amandla Stenberg have agreed that the new series is the “gayest” yet in the long-running Star Wars saga – and suggested that R2-D2 is in fact a lesbian.

The new sci-fi thriller is set roughly 100 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and a number of characters are queer, according to lesbian director Headland. Well, sort of.

Speaking to The Wrap as The Acolyte dropped on Disney+, Stenberg, who plays twin sisters Osha and Mae, said Star Wars was “so gay already”, because “nerds are gay”.

The new series also features lesbian star Rebecca Henderson, Headland’s wife, and gay Chicago Fire and Arrow actor Charlie Barnett.

Amandla Stenberg in Star Wars: The Acolyte.
Amandla Stenberg plays twin sisters Osha and Mae in Star Wars: The Acolyte. (YouTube/Star Wars/Disney+)

And Ladhood‘s Abigail Thorn made history by becoming the first trans actress in the Star Wars universe. She plays ensign Eurus.

While Headland said she didn’t necessarily boost LGBTQ+ representation in the series on purpose, she added: “And yet, people have told me that it’s the gayest Star Wars and I’m frankly… into it.”

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And Stenberg said: “We’d be like, ‘Look how gay this is’, and send each other reference photos.”

R2-D2 ‘is a lesbian

Headland even hinted that some of the sci-fi’s most-famous characters are actually part of the LGBTQ+ family – including a certain beloved little droid.

“Are you telling me, with a straight face, that C-3PO is straight?” Headland asked before joking that R2-D2 is actually a “canon” lesbian. Someone get some Space Birkenstocks, stat.

Meanwhile, earlier fan-favourite animated characters, Sana Starros, Doctor Aphra and Varko Gray, as well as stormtrooper TK-421, are all seen as part of the rainbow alphabet.

Film still of Star Wars characters C-3P0 and R2D2
Queer fan-favourites C-3P0 (L) and “lesbian” R2-D2. (Lucasfilm)

Ahead of The Acolyte’s launch, both Headland and Stenberg were quick to shut down a backlash from fans who dubbed the new series too “woke”.

“There’s a vast array of Star Wars fans. There is a specific kind of Star Wars fan [who’s] very vocal on the internet,” Stenberg told British GQ. “They’ve called our show The Woke-alyte… OK, what about it?”

Then, in conversation with The New York Times, Headland said: “I stand by my empathy for Star Wars fans, but I want to be clear: anyone who engages in bigotry, racism or hate speech… I don’t consider a fan.”

Star Wars: The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+ now.

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