‘Star Wars: Tales of the Empire’ evaluation: A stunning however in the end uneven set of tales

‘Star Wars: Tales of the Empire’ evaluation: A stunning however in the end uneven set of tales
a character in a dark robe walks away from a fire holding a laser sword

(Picture credit score: Disney+)

Lack of films apart (at least until 2026), Star Wars is in a reasonably good place proper now, opposite to what the noisiest a part of the fandom needs us to consider. 

The live-action aspect of issues, confined to Disney Plus for now, has been expanding the canvas with tales that really feel completely different from one another even if they don’t always excel, and animation’s hit fee has been notable, with The Bad Batch efficiently ending its three-season run plus Tales of the Jedi and Star Wars Visions opening up new, thrilling potentialities. Does the surprise-dropped, six-episode collection Tales of the Empire stay as much as that promise?

At first look, this second anthology collection feels as premium as they arrive, and the entire thing does ship on that entrance. After Star Wars Rebels‘ barely underbaked early seasons, Disney clearly allowed Lucasfilm to double down on animation like they’d performed previously with the pre-acquisition Clone Wars seasons. Each animated undertaking from the corporate ever since has been top-notch stuff in relation to seems to be and sounds, and the common storytelling has been satisfying as properly. Actually, some followers even argue that Star Wars ought to simply concentrate on animation now that the Skywalker Saga is finished (one thing that is undoubtedly not occurring).

For essentially the most half, “Tales of the Empire” highlights there’s lots of potential within the concept of bite-sized units of episodes that flesh out sure occasions that usually would not have been instructed on the display screen (large or small). Nevertheless, this additionally begets the query of whether or not each secondary character we will consider deserves this remedy, and “Tales of the Empire” does not do a fantastic job of promoting us on Morgan Elsbeth’s grim previous or correctly growing Barriss Offee admittedly fascinating journey into darkness and again from it.

Spoilers forward for “Tales of the Empire‘s” six episodes

a character in a dark robe walks away from a fire holding a laser sword

The Nightsisters make a final stand. (Picture credit score: Disney+)

Dave Filoni is, unsurprisingly, overlooking the entire undertaking regardless of his ongoing live-action commitments. Whereas reveals like The Unhealthy Batch have been left within the arms of veterans like Jennifer Corbett and Brad Rau, who’ve performed a mighty fantastic job, these two tales tie straight into three Star Wars eras and no less than the Ahsoka series that debuted final 12 months. An important character of the 2 explored by the shorts is clearly the conflicted Barriss Offee, a fallen Jedi whose murderous actions through the Clone Wars pushed Ahsoka Tano away from the Order (it is a tremendous story arc you need to watch).

Tales of the Empire neatly kick issues off with Morgan Elsbeth’s story of worry, anger, and hate. From the get-go, even essentially the most diehard followers will marvel why we’re spending extra time fleshing out a henchwoman who’s already come and gone. The looks of Grand Admiral Thrawn in one of many episodes solely makes the selection extra baffling; he appeared like a much more logical decide for considered one of these, given that the majority viewers have not truly learn the books that re-introduced him to the present canon and perhaps skipped Star Wars Rebels too. With the blue-skinned mastermind poised to be the massive unhealthy of Dave Filoni’s New Republic-era occasion film (set to reach in some unspecified time in the future after The Mandalorian & Grogu), any kind of funding in his character is effective proper now.

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a character in a military uniform with blue skin stares ominously at another character

Thrawn affords Morgan Elsbeth a brand new goal. (Picture credit score: Disney+)

Anyhow, we’re caught with Elsbeth’s fall to even darker depths (she was already a shady Nightsister of Dathomir) after her coven is slaughtered by Normal Grievous and his droid military through the Clone Wars. We might already seen this occasion play out within the first Star Wars collection that hit TV, however switching the factors of view is at all times an fascinating train. The primary episode additionally introduces the Mountain Clan, whose core tenets look like fairly completely different from the Nightsisters’ beliefs, letting followers know that Dathomir is much extra populated than we thought. Past that, there is not a lot happening till Morgan leaves the planet.

The time bounce to well-advanced Imperial occasions is a bit baffling, because the character is re-introduced as, one way or the other, an engineering mastermind that is already taken management of the planet Corvus and its folks. That is the place you stand to marvel if we may’ve skipped the Mountain Clan part altogether to as a substitute discover how she gained sufficient energy and affect to get tangled with the Imperials. 

With tensions rising on Corvus because of the lack of labor, Elsbeth turns into much more of a villain operating solely on hatred. If Barriss Offee’s journey is pure Star Wars by means of and thru, finally resulting in redemption, the Nightsister’s story is that of rejecting any kind of peace.

several characters in black robes stand in a line at attention

Barriss Offee joins the Inquisitorius. (Picture credit score: Disney+)

After her TIE Defender undertaking is rejected by main Imperial figures, Thrawn after all picks it up and enlists her assist to repair the “errors” that everybody within the Empire appears to be overlooking in accordance with the Chiss. You possibly can guess what comes subsequent, so the third chapter strikes the story to the post-Empire period, with the New Republic seeking to attain out to each world they will.

There is a good contact right here about Elsbeth’s quiet marketing campaign of suppressing data from outdoors the planet, with Corvus’ inhabitants barely conscious that Palpatine’s Empire isn’t any extra. In fact, the New Republic’s arrival is unwelcome and all hell breaks free when she’s instructed to show herself in. 

At this level, anybody who’s watched Mando season 2 and Ahsoka is aware of it is main proper into the beloved ‘The Jedi’ episode. The factor is, we do not extract extra priceless nuggets of knowledge out of this three-part story, and Morgan Elsbeth was by no means that large of a deal, regardless of how nice Diana Lee Inosanto’s efficiency is.

a character in a dark robe walks away from two soldiers in white armor

 Lyn Rakish recruits Barriss Offee.  (Picture credit score: Disney+)

Barriss Offee’s story, in the meantime, affords a much more engrossing look into how the evil Inquisitorius group got here to be and the way she navigated a galaxy in turmoil after Order 66 occurred. Various animation followers anticipated her to point out up within the Ahsoka collection, given her character arc hadn’t been completed but anyplace else, however that did not occur. Now, she’s acquired a much-needed push ahead with the three shorts that comply with her rise among the many Inquisitors and the inevitable redemption that comes after. 

Nonetheless, the mid-point transition comes throughout as too sudden, and the entire thing feels prefer it’s lacking no less than another chapter that reveals Barriss fully engulfed by the Inquisitorius’ brainwashing and ensuing crimes towards the Jedi survivors. The primary of her episodes is fascinating due to how a lot it reveals in regards to the early days of the group and their base of operations on the moon of Nur (within the Mustafar system), Darth Vader cameo included. 

Two highlights listed below are the Grand Inquisitor (as soon as once more voiced by Jason Isaacs) proven as an imposing determine after his weak live-action debut in Obi-Wan Kenobi and the merciless ultimate take a look at to change into an Inquisitor.

a character in a dark robe walks away from a fire holding a laser sword

The Grand Inquisitor checks Barriss Offee. (Picture credit score: Disney+)

It is Offee’s center episode that falters essentially the most because of the aforementioned causes. Her inner battle was undoubtedly key to realistically getting her to the vacation spot, however we barely get to expertise her life as a correct Inquisitor, and Lyn’s (aka the Fourth Sister) permissiveness of Barriss’ compassion is a little bit of a plot contrivance, given what’s been established in regards to the Inquisitors beforehand. 

This results in a scarcity of friction on the heart of the story that appears like a ‘sorry, we do not have the time for this’ sort of scenario. It is undoubtedly a story that makes up for Morgan Elsbeth’s inconsequential one, however it’s exhausting to shake the sensation this one wanted a wholly completely different format to correctly flourish.

Very similar to the sturdy visible storytelling on show, clearly influenced by Dave Filoni’s latest live-action efforts and evolution as George Lucas’ inheritor, the ultimate episode places the characters over the plot. The ultimate confrontation between Barriss, now a ‘healer’ hidden someplace within the huge galaxy whereas the Empire does its factor, and Lyn is not an epic conflict of lightsabers. As an alternative, the previous Jedi and Inquisitor turns Lyn’s worry (what the Sith and their Jedi hunters see as a energy) towards her, and calmly talks her out of a path of hatred she willingly selected and will additionally go away, Luky Skywalker fashion.

a character in a dark robe walks away from a fire holding a laser sword

Barriss and Lyn transfer ahead collectively. (Picture credit score: Disney+)

This hopeful notice to finish on (regardless of Barriss’ near-fatal wound), even through the darkest of occasions for Pressure customers, appears like basic Star Wars and underlines Filoni’s strengths as a storyteller when he doubles down on themes and the extra non secular aspect of the Star Wars universe. 

It’s, nevertheless, an open-ended conclusion that makes us marvel if we’re getting a Hidden Path animated present of kinds within the close to future after Asajj Ventress’ suspicious re-introduction in The Bad Batch season 3

On this franchise, every part occurs for a purpose. 

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Fran Ruiz is our resident Star Wars man. His starvation for motion pictures and TV collection is barely matched by his love for video video games. He bought a BA of English Research, specializing in English Literature, from the College of Malaga, in Spain, in addition to a Grasp’s Diploma in English Research, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On prime of writing options and different longform articles for Area.com since 2021, he’s a frequent collaborator of VG247 and different gaming websites. He additionally serves as affiliate editor over at Star Wars Information Internet and its sister website, Film Information Internet.

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