Star Wars: Tales Of The Empire review: Intense animation pulls no punches - SciFiNow

Star Wars: Tales Of The Empire review: Intense animation pulls no punches

Tales Of The Empire takes a look at some lesser loved characters from the world of The Clone Wars and Ahsoka.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is a neatly interwoven story that follows the lives of two Star Wars franchise characters, spanning from the era of the Fall of the Jedi all the way through to the birth of the New Republic. For the uninitiated, think the Nineties prequels like Attack of The Clones through to the new shows of The Mandalorian.

The series is split into two parts and focuses on two relatively deep-cut characters, Morgan Elsbeth (who we most recently saw as the wicked witch of Ahsoka) and Barris Offee (an old frenemy of Ahsoka’s from The Clone Wars animated series).

Kicking off with a bang, Tales of the Empire pulls no punches. In the opening scene alone we witness the separatist Droid Army invading Morgan’s homeworld and destroying all that she loves. Over the next two episodes, we get to watch how Morgan reacts and processes the devastation; her life spiraling down a dark road to becoming the terrifying villain we saw in Ahsoka.

For the second half of the series, we switch away from Morgan to meet Barris, incarcerated following her controversial actions in The Clone Wars (no spoilers here, just a nice excuse to go revisit that show again). She is given a shot at redemption and a little retribution against the Jedi. Already a complex character with her own moral code, Tales of the Empire takes the time to fully flesh out her arc from Jedi Padawan, to terrorist, to altogether something else.

These condensed and segmented mini-biopics of two largely lesser-known characters really do pack a punch. Its depiction of The Empire’s stark brutality and violence gives the show a real weightiness that will immediately draw you in. Peppered with cameos and easter eggs galore, Tales of the Empire is a feast for hardcore Star Wars fans and acts as an enticing gateway for those who have previously shied away from the extended animated universe stories.

There is a gorgeously graceful fluidity to the animation that electrifies the ferocity and dynamism of lightsaber battles which play out with real stakes. Wide shots of familiar landscapes are genuinely jaw-dropping. An animated homage to an establishing shot of a fleet of Star Destroyers is enough to make you sit down and shut up.

It’s quite clear that Tales of the Empire is no Saturday morning cartoon. There’s real love and real money being spent to craft these two didactically opposed tales. Previously underdeveloped characters get fully realised arcs that feel genuine and respectful. The Clone Wars animated show has always had a dedicated fan base and Disney/Lucasfilm’s decision to better connect those characters with the new spate of New Republic shows goes a long way to make a truly cohesive and deeply developed world that is accessible to the casual viewer and rewarding to the super fan.

All episodes of Star Wars: Tales Of The Empire will be available on Disney+ on 4 May