Lee Jung Jae’s Star Wars Debut in ‘Acolyte’ Divides Fans: Excitement vs. Concerns

acolyte lee jung jae
acolyte lee jung jae
Credit: Disney Plus

Lee Jung Jae‘s appearance in the highly anticipated Disney Plus original series Acolyte has generated excitement among fans both domestically and internationally. The series confirmed its June release date and unveiled a teaser trailer on March 20th.

Set 100 years before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Acolyte delves into the late High Republic era, uncovering the dark secrets of the galaxy and the rise of the Dark Side. Lee Jung Jae, Amandla Stenberg, Manny Jacinto, Daphne Keen, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Charlie Barnett, Dean-Charles Chapman and Carrie Anne Moss star in the series.

Lee Jung Jae has garnered much attention as the first Korean actor to join the Star Wars universe. He takes on the role of the legendary Jedi Master Sol.

In the recently released trailer, Lee Jung Jae delivers a powerful line in English: “Close your eyes. The eyes can deceive you. We must not trust them.” We also see glimpses of Master Sol confronting a mysterious figure and engaging in a thrilling lightsaber duel. Jung Jae previously spoke about the experience, saying, “I was so overwhelmed when I first held the lightsaber.”

The excitement is palpable among fans. Korean viewers are expressing their anticipation with comments like, “His English acting is impressive” and “A Korean actor is playing a Jedi!” There are also many witty comments using Lee Jung Jae’s famous lines from his previous works such as Squid Game, The Face Reader, and New World.

It’s not all unanimous praise, however. Some fans have expressed concerns about the visibility of Lee Jung Jae in certain trailer scenes. The darkness makes it difficult to see the details of his performance. This has led to some online comments questioning the lighting choices and whether the production team has sufficient experience capturing actors of diverse ethnicities on screen.

Take a look at some of the comments:

“It seems like they’re either not interested, don’t have the skills, or both when it comes to making East Asians look good on film.”

“Lee Jung Jae actually looks pretty good in Acolyte. I grew up watching Rain in Speed Racer, Daniel Henney in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Lee Byung-hun in G.I. Joe. So even seeing a Korean actor in a major role is a treat.”

“Steven Yeun once said that when he first played the lead role in America, they didn’t know how to shoot an Asian face, so he looked the strangest even as the lead.”

“They say they still don’t know which lighting and reflector angle is good when shooting black actors… I doubt they care about those when shooting Asian actors.”

“Liam Neeson even said he was surprised to be cast as a Jedi, not an alien, being Irish himself.”

“Lee Jung Jae might not be conventionally handsome, but it’s clear that the team didn’t understand Lee Jung Jae’s face. Even full-body shots don’t showcase his great proportions.”

Despite these concerns, the overall mood is one of excitement. Overseas fans are equally enthusiastic, with reactions like: “Seong Gi Hun survived Squid Game to become a Jedi,” “He’s playing the Sith Game after Squid Game,” and “I’m looking forward to Lee Jung Jae’s Hollywood debut and his new acting.”

Acolyte will premiere episodes 1 and 2 on June 5th.

>> Lee Jung Jae Lights Up ELLE Korea March Edition: Reflecting on 30 Years in Film and the Love for K-Cinema

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