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Animation Review: Star Wars – Tales of the Empire

Title: Star Wars – Tales of the Empire

Director(s): Nathaniel Villanueva and others

Screenwriter(s): Amanda Rose Muñoz, Matt Michnovetz and others

Studio: Lucasfilm

Released: 2024

Runtime: 6 episodes, ~15m each.

Star Wars – Tales of the Empire

Tales of the Empire is an anthology of 6 short animation films of comparable length to those in Tales of the Jedi. Three episodes are about the witch Morgan Elsbeth and three episodes are about former Jedi Barriss Offee.

The visual style is consistent to The Clone Wars and Rebels. If one likes it, then it won’t be a problem. The improvement relative to previous productions in every respect is noticeable. There is more detail, everything from the background to the terrain to the characters, that is very nicely rendered. The motion is a little more natural. These improvements may make it more palatable to those who are not fans of the style.

Like Tales of the Jedi, the progression in each episode is clumsy, as if it has a two-act structure. Obviously, the progression is treated as a whole across the three episodes for their respective character.

The three episodes about Morgan Elsbeth begin on Dathomir during the Separatist assault and the almost total annihilation of the Nightsisters, presumably what is shown in Clone Wars season 4. Morgan survives and is rescued by another clan but insists on going down the path of revenge.

The problem is that her revenge lacks focus and so does her story across all three episodes. She is sad and angry and… and… Granted, Grievous and the Separatist forces no longer exist but she doesn’t seem to have a plan against the Empire either. Maybe that is the point but the execution is lacking.

Morgan Elsbeth
Morgan Elsbeth

The three episodes about Barriss Offee begin with her in prison for framing Ahsoka in Clones Wars season 5. She is recruited by a sister of the Inquisitor, Lyn, herself a fallen Jedi. Barriss goes through the usual clichés: fighting as part of the recruitment process, trying to do her job properly and then regretting it.

In a way, the three-episode arc is also about Lyn. It is not a bad way to set up a more focused conflict but the way it is done perhaps takes a little too much away from Barriss. This balance is admittedly difficult to maintain and, however clichéd some of the elements may be, Bariss’s character arc is better written.

Overall, it is not a bad anthology but each episode can use a few more minutes not just to give each episode more movement but to give the story more depth.

Barriss Offee
Barriss Offee

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