Viewer Discretion Advised for ‘Tales of the Empire’

in Star Wars, Television

Darth Vader, the iconic Star Wars villain, stands ominously with a glowing green background, highlighted by a halo of light that accentuates his imposing black armor and cape.

Credit: Lucasfilm

Tales of the Empire is one of the latest features presented by Disney and Lucasfilm in honor of May the Fourth/Star Wars Day, and it undeniably takes viewers on a trip through the Dark Side. This animated anthology might have Clone-Wars-inspired visuals, but it’s definitely directed at a much more mature audience.

Logo of "Star Wars: Tales of the Empire" featuring stylized metallic text with a glowing outline on a black background, incorporating elements inspired by General Grievous.
Credit: Lucasfilm

“The circle is now complete,” as Inside the Magic previously predicted that the series would take an obviously darker turn compared to its predecessor, Tales of the Jedi. However, as the new series opens with acts of merciless death and destruction wrought by General Grievous, many might be unprepared for how dark things get. Yes, it’s a Star Wars spinoff on Disney+, but it is decisively not meant for younger audiences.

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Like the series that came before, Tales of the Empire utilizes gorgeous animation to tell a gripping story set in a galaxy far, far away. Instead of looking to the origins of some of our favorite Jedi and heroes, however, the series’ villains step out of the shadows and into the spotlight for what is decidedly one of the most intense narratives seen from the franchises’ spinoffs.

Tales of the Empire: The Dark Side Rises

Grievous in the 'Tales of the Empire' trailer
Credit: Lucasfilm

The anthology series is essentially divided into two paths, one being the origin story for Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) and the other Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger) transitioning from fallen Jedi to imperial enforcer. However, the events that forge these two paths to the Dark Side encompass all the fear, anger, hate, and suffering that make for complex and captivating villains.

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Moreover, this writer was quite surprised at the amount of violence depicted in something with a TV-PG rating. Not but a few minutes into the first episode, viewers are treated to graphic impalements, dismemberment, and other gruesome acts of war in Elsbeth’s origins, showing the outright cruelty and savagery that pull her towards her path of revenge.

On the other hand, the series utilizes a much more story-driven narrative in its second half. Barriss Offee undergoes a conflicting and emotional transformation as she lets go of her traditional Jedi ways, demonstrated in The Clone Wars series, to embrace the path of Vader’s Inquisitors. While not as shocking as the first half of the anthology, it’s hard to say that many younger viewers will be drawn to this demonstration of Star Wars drama.

Why It Matters

An animated character from "Tales of the Empire" with brown hair and distinctive facial markings stands in the foreground, with a line of armored figures blurred in the background.
Credit: Lucasfilm

While the series is only six episodes long, Tales of the Empire clearly demonstrates what Disney and Lucasfilm can do when they are allowed to experiment with their stories. If this were a live-action series, it would rival the likes of Andor in terms of drama and demonstrations of the Empire’s grip on the galaxy.

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In this writer’s opinion, the Dark-Side-driven series has just opened the door for both studios to experiment with what stories they can bring to our screens. With any luck, the series will reach its intended audience, and the reaction will urge Disney and Lucasfilm to push the envelope in the next chapter of the Star Wars saga.

What did you think of this walk on the Dark Side? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Star Wars, Television

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