The Acolyte’s Amandla Stenberg Reflects on Carrie Fisher’s Legacy

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The Acolyte star Amandla Stenberg knows she’s the latest in a long line of powerful female characters who have wielded the Force in the Star Wars universe — and Carrie Fisher was the woman who started it all.

“[Carrie] was one of the most wry, coy, high-spirited, beautiful, powerful women, I think, in the entertainment industry,” Stenberg, 25, exclusively told Us Weekly while on the red carpet for a New York City screening of her new Disney+ show on Monday, June 3.

“Being in Star Wars, I always think about the women that have preceded me in this universe and the legacies that they’ve had,” Stenberg continued. “There’s a pretty astounding track record, so I just feel really blessed to be able to follow in that lineage.”

Fisher died in 2016 at age 60, but her legacy as Princess Leia lives on, whether inspiring ferocity and fearlessness or fabulous fashion. When asked if Fisher’s iconic prisoner look from 1983’s Return of the Jedi inspired her U.K. premiere outfit last month, Stenberg gushed, “Yes, girl!”

Stenberg wore a brown halter gown from Oude Waag with cutouts at the waist and chest with gold Misho jewelry, Jimmy Choo shoes and a long braid with gold accents to the London screening on May 28. Before honoring Princess Leia, she gave Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman’s character) a nod with two looks at the Los Angeles premiere on May 23, first rocking a black Oude Waag gown that showed off her stomach and then donning a custom Acne Studios crop top and trouser set. Both brought to mind Portman’s iconic torn up Attack of the Clones outfit from 2002.

The Acolyte s Amandla Stenberg Reflects on Carrie Fisher s Legacy Astounding Women of Star Wars

Amandla Stenberg
Mike Marsland/WireImage ; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic ; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The Acolyte takes place nearly 100 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, so Stenberg’s Mae won’t run into Padmé or Leia. She will, however, find herself faced with plenty of other Jedi Masters as they become targets of a vengeful crime spree. Among those Force users is Carrie-Anne Moss‘ Indara. In real life, Stenberg was open to all of the Matrix star’s words of wisdom.

“She really gave me the advice to just lean into my intuition when it came to what I believe the character would do, because I would get very hung up on technicalities and small details and wanting my form to be perfect,” Stenberg told Us. “She was like, ‘Girl, you’re here to act so you know who the character is. Just let the character be the character.’ But now you have all this foundation you just have to let go and utilize.”

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This isn’t Stenberg’s first time in a sci-fi franchise. Audiences first got to know her when she played Rue in The Hunger Games at 12 years old, an experience that she told Us was helpful when it came to starring in The Acolyte.

“It felt like I had this experience in the franchise world before that prepared me when I was a kid,” she explained. “Of course, now I’m an adult and things are so different, but I still felt like I got to tap into all those elements of play and fantasy and joy while also feeling this weight and responsibility of being in this position now that I’m older.”

 

Stenberg continued, “Sometimes I feel like there’s this funny trajectory of my life where everything I’ve done since I was 3 or 4 when I started working has prepared me for what’s next, and I just think I try to just have faith and trust that I’m always on the path I’m supposed to be on.”

The first two episodes of The Acolyte premiere on Disney+ Tuesday, June 4, at 9 p.m. ET. New episodes debut Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Reporting by Nikaline McCarley

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