REVIEW: Tales of the Empire Season 1 (2024)

“It appears your path is set, Morgan Elsbeth. I pity you, for I can see what is to come.”

I loved Tales of the Jedi. More accurately, I loved half of it, the Dooku half, and I enjoyed the Ahsoka half. The animation style is to die for, and I liked learning more about an under-utilized character. In short, that’s why the Count Dooku episodes were so much more compelling. I was all in when Tales of the Empire, Jedi’s apparent sequel/sister series, was announced. Everyone wants to know what becme of Barriss Offee after she betrayed her Order and her dear friend, Ahsoka. I’ve been less pumped for the Morgan Elsbeth storyline, but excited to see how it plays out nonetheless. The shorts came out today for Star Wars Day, so let’s find out how they shape up. 



The Tales of Morgan Elsbeth – “The Path of Fear,” “The Path of Anger,” and “The Path of Hate”

Tales Empire Review

In “The Path of Fear,” a very young Morgan is essentially helpless as her mother and coven of Nightsisters are cut down by General Grievous and his droid army. She’s rescued and taken in by a different clan who reside in the mountains, but Morgan’s form of witchery doesn’t meld with their peaceful ways. Morgan eventually convinces the wise woman’s daughter and others to accompany her to the ruins of her home and try out their weapons. Unfortunately, this draws the attention of droids, and the wise woman’s daughter is killed, among others. “The Path of Anger” sees an older Morgan used and abused by the Empire, which only wants the resources on Corvus, not her ideas or the labor of the locals. However, one Admiral Thrawn has an offer Morgan can’t refuse. In “The Path of Hate,” one of Morgan’s former underlings returns on behalf of The New Republic, and destruction ensues. 

Tales of the Empire Review

I was looking forward to Barriss’ story far more than Morgan’s, but her episodes come first, so that’s where I’ll start. It baffles me that the most interesting thing about Elsbeth is her Nightsister heritage, yet in her live-action appearances, it was either ignored (The Mandalorian) or completely screwed up (Ahsoka). It also sucks that we’re getting her backstory now that she’s dead. I know Star Wars is no stranger to prequels, and I loved the Count Dooku half of Tales of the Jedi, despite knowing when and how he dies. But this feels different, and I think it’s because none of Morgan’s appearances got me interested in her. She was a fine one-off villain in Mando, but Ahsoka easily dealt with her, so I was surprised she was even back in her show. And the less we say about Morgan in Ahsoka, the better it is for her, and us as well. Regardless, how is Morgan’s story here?

Visually, it’s stunning. I mean it; as tragic as it is, the burning forest of Dathomir is a sight to behold. The parallel in The Path of Hate, in which Morgan does the same to the forest on Corvus, is brilliantly executed. You know, she became what she swore to destroy and stuff. Only Morgan made no pretenses of doing the right thing or even doing it for the right reason. Her pursuit of revenge doesnt strike me as wrong; if someone killed my mom in front of me and wiped out my entire town/culture, Id be pissed too. I dont know why characters are constantly vilified for this emotion and desire for retribution. The problem is that her enemy is General Grievous (and, by extension, the Emperor and Count Dooku), while the only people affected by her actions are poor farmers on a backwater planet. It was not the power move she thought it was. Its honestly funny that Morgan ends up working for the Empire, indirectly serving the man who decided the fate of her coven. 

Tales of the Empire Review

I was surprised that the makeup on Morgans face was magic, rather than tattoos like those of Darth Maul or Asajj Ventress. This isnt a huge deal, but it does explain why she looks so human and boring in most of her live-action appearances. Diana Lee Inosanto is good as this character, so Im glad she got to come back. I have a big issue with the moral or lesson in the first episode, The Path of Fear. Morgan seeks to teach the mountain clan of witches how to defend themselves. This creates conflict and, eventually, death within their group. The wise mother even states it for us at the end, not warning to fight doesnt mean you cant defend yourself, or something to that effect. I dont like this and dont know where the writers are coming from. I get that Morgan is consumed with revenge or whatever, but teaching these defenseless women how to fight back makes a lot of sense. The mother can create an energy blast, which she makes use of in the end, destroying the droids. Thanks for not doing this earlier to help Morgans mom, by the way. Very cute. Regardless, her daughter and the other underlings possess no such power to defend themselves, and I dont understand why Morgan teaching them combat is so awful. The implication is that its her fault the droids found them, but they are Morgans age and chose to follow her. I dont hate this episode; the visual storytelling is phenomenal, and Kevin Kiners music is beyond words. Matthew Woods voice as Grievous will never not be awesome, and his entire scene is savage, feral, and terrifying. But this message doesnt make much sense and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If you want to say Morgan is bloodthirsty, okay, fine. But there was a better way to do it. 

Tales of the Empire Review

My favorite of Morgans episodes is The Path of Anger, and that is because I, too, am one angry bitch. In all seriousness, though, this is the episode in which Lars Mikkelsens Thrawn appears. It shows Morgans struggle to excel within the Empire and the alliance that finally solidifies her place therein. It reminded me of watching Dedras rising status and respect within the ISB in season 1 of Andor, albeit not shown as subtly due to time constraints. But this is a series of shorts, and they utilize the format well. The Path of Hate is fine, although it partially hinges on the relationship between a new character named Nadura and someone named Wing from The Mandalorian. I do not remember this character, so his big choice at the end confused me. It was not the choice made itself; I just didnt understand why they were focusing on this guy so much, and I had to look him up. Aside from The Path of Anger, most of Morgans story is visually interesting but not as good in terms of script. I keep trying to decide how they compare to Ahsokas shorts from Tales of the Jedi. I think theyre on similar footing, but Ahsokas are a tad better. Despite knowing so much about Ahsoka and ⅔ of the content being unnecessary, the stories and messages felt more honest and less contrived. 

The Tales of Barriss Offee – “Devoted,” “Realization,” and “The Way Out”

Tales of the Empire Review

In Devoted, the Fourth Sister recruits Barriss into the Inquisitorous alongside two other candidates. One dies when he tries to leave, and Barriss is compelled to fight the other to the death. She resists at first, but when he almost kills her, she takes his life. She and the other Inquisitors meet their new master, Darth Vader. In Realization, Barriss and the Fourth Sister head to a remote planet to follow up on a reported Jedi. Barriss runs into trouble as she feels for the people, including the Jedi in question and bar patrons cut down by her cohort. In The Way Out, an older Barriss serves as a healer. She meets with a couple concerned for their babys safety; the baby has the Force, and the Fourth Sister is closing in. Can Barriss protect the family and face an old friend? 

Tales of the Empire Review

As expected, Barriss story is more interesting. This was almost certain to be the case because anything they showed would be brand-new information. We already knew Morgans backstory; we just hadnt seen it play out onscreen. Interestingly, in addition to Jason Isaacs returning to voice the Grand Inquisitor (yay!!!), Rya Kihlstedt reprises her role as the Fourth Sister from Kenobi. Its unfortunate thats where this character originated because shes much more interesting here. She also has a really cool character design, which, sadly, has to be credited to Kenobi. In the first meeting of the Inquisitors and Darth Vader, we see Marrok from Ahsoka and the mysterious, unnamed Inquisitor from Tales of the Jedi. This isnt relevant; I just liked the attention to detail. I will question the title Devoted, though. Barriss doesnt seem devoted to the Inquisitorius or Darth Vader. She never even realizes hes Anakin, someone she knew reasonably well during The Clone Wars. Hell, hes the one who arrested her for bombing the Jedi temple on Coruscant! There is some major drama in him, of all people, being her new boss, but nothing comes of this. I really enjoyed all three episodes, but this just seems like a significant missed opportunity. 

Tales of the Empire Review

Realization is my favorite of the Barriss episodes because I found it the least predictable, and the scene preceding the cut-to-black and title card was perfect. Just perfect timing, impeccable line delivery, etc. I love the feeling when you know exactly where the cut will be, and thats because its timed just right. Here, we see Barriss and Fourth Sister, whom she calls by her real name, Lyn, use a good cop/bad cop routine. Barriss feels bad for the regular people of the galaxy and doesnt want to hurt them if she doesnt have to, but Lyn is consumed with anger and seems to relish killing people. Barriss protects a young boy who rats the Jedi out after she coaxes him quite a bit, whereas Lyn cuts down every other person in the tavern. Lyn chalks this up to an old man lying to her, but shes clearly waiting for the chance to shed blood. Then, when the two Inquisitors are climbing the mountain, Barriss warns Lyn of an incoming rockslide. For her part, Lyn dodges it and leaves Barriss to fend for herself. This woman was in prison for bombing a temple, and by comparison, Lyn makes her look like Mother Teresa! I like this scene in particular because they dont talk about it. Barriss doesnt call Lyn out; Lyn doesnt give some speech about every man for himself. The actions speak for themselves; Barriss cares about other people deep down, and Lyn doesnt. This comes to a head when they find the Jedi and cant agree on what to do with him. He sets his weapon down at Barriss calm, quiet behest, but Lyn slices into him at the first opportunity. Barriss finally Force-shoves Lyn off the cliffside and carries the Jedi to safety. I like Devoted because of the sharp visuals and our boy, the Grand Inquisitor; seriously, they massacred him in Kenobi. This is such a cool character! But Realization is my favorite because of the storyline and the lack of unnecessary dialogue. I dont need Barriss to tell me it was mean for her friend to let her get rock slid. 

Tales of the Empire Review

The Way Out surprised me right out of the gate. It was obvious that Barriss would leave the Inquisitorius; she would have no choice after attacking Lyn to save the Jedi. But old healer woman wouldn’t have been my first guess. On that note, why does Barriss suddenly look much older than Lyn? In the first and second episodes, Lyn looks like an adult, and Barriss is Ahsokas age, around 17. Now, shes wrinkly and haggard, and Lyn looks great. Doctors must hate this woman. Whats her secret? I like this episode, though its pretty straightforward. Barriss must save this little family and deal with Lyn, although its a bittersweet ending. Everyone gets away except Barriss, killed by her old best frenemy. Its an accident, and it provokes some introspection in Lyn. I question this a little; Barriss didnt want to kill her Inquisitor classmate, the people in the village, etc. Barriss doesnt commit violence for fun or pleasure, as Lyn does. Im not sure I can buy Lyns redemption. As an aside, I wonder who the old friend is that Barriss sent the family to. Ahsoka?

I enjoyed Tales of the Empire quite a bit, but it’s not perfect, especially Morgans episodes. I mainly take issue with some muddled messaging and the fact that we dont learn anything new about Morgan, only things that were alluded to or outright confirmed elsewhere. Regardless, Barriss fares better, and the music, animation, and voice acting are excellent. 

Tales of the Empire Season 1 (2024)

Plot - 6
Acting - 10
Progression - 7
Production Design - 10
Theming and Messaging - 6



I enjoyed Tales of the Empire quite a bit, but it's not perfect. I mainly take issue with some muddled messaging and the fact that we don't learn anything new about Morgan. Barriss fares better, and the music, animation, and voice acting are excellent. 

Comments (4)

May 5, 2024 at 4:43 am

What I appreciated most is that the episodes were very short and direct and to the point. Was maybe the only time I saw a Sith to Jedi transition, besides the very end of Vader’s arc in ROTJ.

May 9, 2024 at 1:46 am

I think I enjoyed Empire more than Jedi. Barriss’ tales surprised me and satisfied me quite a lot, from her defection and how she did it, and to her resolve in the final episode. She came a long way, and I was proud of her. For the record, I’ve never seen the Kenobi nor Ahsoka series and I’ve debated if I should or not because of the mixed bag. I’m even conflicted that technically that was James Earl Jones’ voice in that show, but they used an AI for that. Didn’t even know that till just recently, and that can confuse people since he didn’t come to voice Vader, and it feels like it was used without permission. Anyway, I was aware of some of the characters like Fourth Sister and Marrok. I almost forgot about Morgan when I saw the reveal trailer.

I liked the first two tales with Morgan. Greivous was very cool, I completely missed the cracks above his eyes featured in this and Episode 3 and in earlier episodes he didn’t. I know it’s because of the production value, but I’m just saying. I wasn’t expecting more denizens in Dathomir besides the Nightsisters and Nightbrothers which was cool. Thrawn’s screentime never misses and I was gobsmacked seeing Rukh again and his fight against Morgan was great.

I also learned recently that one of the directors of Clone Wars pushed for a romantic relationship between Ahsoka and Barriss. I’ve seen fanart, but I didn’t think that was a plan.

Anyway, I hope the next set of tales would be about bounty hunters. I’m thinking maybe Boba and Asajj, just maybe. I feel like we should know what becomes of her. It’d be nice to see the story of her and Quinlan Vos portrayed in animation. When she appeared in Bad Batch and from her mentions of how she survived, I figured it was Nightsister magic that might have kept her alive, but I get your frustration from that episode.

Boba on the other hand has a couple opportunities. Actually, I’d like those tales to start with Jango with what life was like before and during his time as a foundling, probably another set during his early days, maybe butting heads with Cad Bane which would come to fruition in the future, meeting with Dooku about the plan and meeting Boba for the first time. The last one I believe should start with a moment between Jango and Boba before the coliseum battle where Jango is killed, then it flashes to Boba in his armor facing Cad Bane like in the scrapped animation.

May 9, 2024 at 8:28 am

My mistake, Jango mentored Cad and then he mentored Boba, but that didn’t go well.

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