Tales of the Empire left a lot to be desired

Tales of the Empire lacked its predecessor's satisfying style of storytelling.
Morgan Elsbeth in a scene from "STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE", exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
Morgan Elsbeth in a scene from "STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE", exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

Tales of the Empire began streaming on May 4th, 2024, on Disney+, and since then, the reactions to it have been mostly positive. However, the show leaves a lot to be desired.

The positive reactions make sense, as the animation is gorgeous, the fight choreography is stunning, and the Kiners' background score hits the spot. However, this is nowhere near the quality of its predecessor, Tales of the Jedi. Tales of the Empire lacks the impactful storytelling of last year's Tales of the Jedi. Instead, we have something much shallower, and a lot of it feels pointless.

Morgan Elsbeth was a better character without her backstory

Morgan's character shined in The Mandalorian. Diana Lee Inosanto's performance never falters, and she's one helluva fighter, too (she is the goddaughter of the legendary Bruce Lee, after all). While she nails the difficult choreography in all her duels, including Ahsoka, her character arc ends abruptly when she is killed in the series.

Unfortunately, it would've been best if Dave Filoni had left it at that, with Morgan dying somewhat heroically in Ahsoka. Her backstory is unsatisfying and fails to justify her reasons for going to the dark side. She and her people were attacked and wiped out by General Grievous and his army of droids. Count Dooku and the Separatist Army were behind the destruction of Dathomir and the Nightsisters. I fail to see how Morgan was able to avenge her mother's death.

I understand that Morgan Elsbeth wants revenge, but I don't understand her way of seeking it. Does she wish to cause suffering to others because of what she and her people went through? Does she hope to rise through the ranks by using the Empire so she can revive her people and culture and restore them to their former glory? Her mistreatment of the people of Calodan makes no sense because they weren't responsible for what happened to Morgan and her people.

Ultimately, she achieves her purpose in Ahsoka, but the ends don't justify the means. She never gets even with the people who hurt her. There's no way for her to get revenge from Grievous, which makes her backstory and the rest of her story largely unsatisfying. I still don't understand why she wanted to cause so much suffering to others unless it was for sadistic pleasure. Also, she presents the Empire with her ideas for modified ships. Although interesting, it throws Morgan's story off even more unless she's meant to be an evil genius, which would make her death in Ahsoka more of a waste. Instead of Morgan Elsbeth, Filoni could've used this opportunity to explore Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati's backstory.

Barriss Offee didn't need to be redeemed

There was nothing wrong with Barriss's story and there was no need for her to be redeemed. Barriss would've been better off as a character whose fate remains a mystery.

Instead, she returned in Tales of the Empire, and it's an underwhelming return full of missed opportunities. We're never given any insight into how Barriss feels about the actions that got her imprisoned or whether she regrets framing Ahsoka. She follows instructions and trains to become an Inquisitor but later on, has a change of heart. The show's trailer teases a potential confrontation between Darth Vader and Bariss, which never happens. The two never speak to each other, so we'll never know what Vader thought of Bariss at that point in the timeline. Knowing Vader, he has thoughts on everyone and everything. I was left wondering if Bariss suspected that Vader was Anakin Skywalker.

Later, Bariss flees from the life of an Inquisitor and becomes a healer. It's a positive turn, but the large time jump is confusing because Bariss seems to have aged quite a bit. However, Lyn, the Fourth Sister, doesn't look like she's aged much. Did Bariss spend some time on Tatooine in between, or did life as a healer age her?

While Bariss's redemption is a nice touch, and her implied death scene is done well and very emotional, I don't think she needed to be redeemed. Framing Ahsoka was unforgivable in my eyes, but her reasons for turning against the Jedi were perfectly reasonable. She was disillusioned by the Jedi and how far they strayed from the peacemakers they were meant to be. Therefore, I didn't see a reason to bring her back. Her story is not only rushed but full of missed opportunities.

Dave Filoni should return to the Tales of the Jedi format and focus on characters like Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati, Mace Windu, Asajj Ventress, and Obi-Wan Kenobi's relationship with Satine. He can also focus on Mandalorian history, including shorts focusing on Tarre Vizsla. Tales of the Jedi added context to the stories of characters like Yaddle, Count Dooku, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Ahsoka, whereas Tales of the Empire didn't add anything necessary. I would've enjoyed more background on Grand Admiral Thrawn and Baylan, as these characters are important to the future stories.

Tales of the Empire is streaming on Disney+.

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