Rebecca Henderson in The Acolyte

New Star Wars series ‘The Acolyte’ features a very green Toronto actor

The new Disney+ series The Acolyte—part of the multi-billion-dollar Star Wars franchise—premiered on Tuesday. While the series features a whole new set of characters, Toronto-born actress Rebecca Henderson is portraying one fan favourite from the Star Wars comics that will be heavily featured this season: Vernestra Rwoh, an elder Jedi Master who has ascended the ranks of the Jedi from a teenage prodigy to a leader in the Order.

The show takes place about a century before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace and focuses on the emergence of dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic Era.

Henderson, who is married to the series creator Leslye Headland, told Empire Online that she had a deep experience playing someone like Rwoh, as it was fun to play someone “still”, yet powerful. She added that listening to the Star Wards audio books featuring Rwoh’s character helped her get into character.

“But I did think it was helpful, when thinking about how a young person becomes their older self, and there are a couple [of] references in this series that people who know the young Vernestra will appreciate,” she told the outlet.

The Acolyte has another Canadian connection in Carrie Anne Moss, who plays Jedi master Indira.

Carrie-Anne Moss as Indira in 'The Acolyte'
Carrie-Anne Moss as Indira in ‘The Acolyte’

Henderson started acting during high school. In an interview with Quail Bell Magazine, she said she found a lot of comfort at school—primarily in theater class.

“I loved the community and the people, and I still do.”

She completed her MFA in Acting at the Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program and has found success in the entertainment industry, starring in Russian Doll as Lizzy, the best friend of Natasha Lyonne’s character, Nadia (2019), Werewolves Within, where she portrays an environmentalist academician (2021), and Westworld, where she plays a technician in the Delta Squad (2016). She married Headland— the Emmy-nominated creator of Russian Doll—in 2016. Henderson tells Empire that it is “difficult” to do what Headland does.

“Directing and writing – there’s so much more that goes into it. Also producing, showrunning, the music, the costumes – I just can’t believe the breadth of knowledge she has to have, not only about Star Wars, but about all parts of how the sausage gets made. I witnessed firsthand how hard she worked – she just lives and breathes this show.”

Still, if there’s a chance for Henderson to play Vernestra again, she says she’d love to do it.

“I had such a deep experience playing someone like this,” she told Empire. “I appreciate playing a lawyer, or the best friend over here. But [here] the imagination just goes and goes and goes. It was a really stimulating experience.”

The Acolyte is now streaming on Disney+.

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