Star Wars: Tales of the Empire – Disney+ Animated Series Review

Star Wars - Tales of the Empire is flawed but visually powerful!

Image Credit: Disney+

Dave Filoni, renowned for his works such as Clone Wars and Rebels, surprises once again with his brand new Star Wars: Tales of the Empire. This animated anthology series, released on Disney+ on Star Wars Day, May 4, transports fans to the darkest recesses of the distant galaxy, exploring the intricate and often murky stories of two central figures: Morgan Elsbeth and Barriss Offee. Like the works to which Filoni has accustomed his vast audience, made up of true followers of the cult of Star Wars, Tales of The Empire is also a successful and perfect title to complete the mythology of one of the longest-running and iconic franchises of all time.

A memorable and successful addition to the canon (but with some flaws)

The series is divided into six short films, three dedicated to Morgan Elsbeth and three to Barriss Offee, set during the tumultuous period of the collapse of the Republic and the rise of the Empire. From the first moment, the series captures viewers' attention with breathtaking graphic quality, which transports viewers to evocative and detailed settings. Alongside this, the pressing soundtrack by Kevin Kiner, a legend in the world of Star Wars, helps to create an enveloping atmosphere that underlines the epic nature of the events narrated.

However, despite the high-level technical aspects, some short films suffer from fragmented narratives and an excessive reliance on genre clichés. In particular, the rewrites of canonical elements, as in the case of the character of Thrawn, are annoying for fans who are more attentive to narrative coherence. These changes, although they may be justified by narrative needs, risk compromising the integrity of previous works and generating frustration among the most loyal fans.

Image Credit: Disney+

The short films dedicated to Morgan Elsbeth offer an in-depth look at her growth as a dark figure, with moments of great tension and emotional impact. However, the presence of rewrites also risks compromising coherence with previous works, defining a possible distancing on the part of the spectators. Nonetheless, the series offers an intriguing insight into Morgan Elsbeth's evolution, from her participation in the Clone Wars to her rise as a figure of power in the Galactic Empire.

The short films dedicated to Barriss Offee also offer interesting ideas, but the narrative loses intensity as the series progresses. The hasty resolution of conflicts and the failure to explore potential narrative opportunities leave a sense of dissatisfaction in viewers. However, the defects of the narrative process and its evolution throughout the episodes are eclipsed by the moments of confrontation between Barriss Offee and her dark destiny. These moments offer an insightful look at the complexity of his internal struggle and his search for redemption.

Despite its critical issues, therefore, Star Wars: Tales of the Empire stands out for its courageous approach to the theme of the dark side and for its attempt to delve deeper into the motivations and feelings of its main characters. The work forces us to confront the cold and ruthless mechanism of power, adding a new layer of complexity to the already rich Star Wars universe. Visually complex and breathtaking, it manages to make itself a must-watch of the franchise even as it stumbles over itself repeatedly. It manages to regain ground thanks to the talent of the visual artists and the always-evident passion of Filoni.

Star Wars – Tales of the Empire: evaluation and conclusion

Star Wars is enriched with a new title to devour in an afternoon of binge-watching! While the series is not without its flaws, repetitiveness, and a few clichés, it still represents a significant addition to the Star Wars canon, offering an engaging visual and narrative experience for fans of the franchise. Star Wars: Tales of the Empire, with its look at the dark side of the Force, once again confirms Dave Filoni's ability to hit the mark.