'Star Wars: Tales of the Empire' promotional poster, featuring Thrawn, Barriss Offee, and Morgan Elsbeth

‘Star Wars: Tales of the Empire’ Fully Embraces the Dark Side for May the 4th

Inquisitors, Nightsisters, Imperials ... Oh My!

Ahead of this year’s annual Star Wars Day, a.k.a. “May the 4th Be With You,” Disney and Lucasfilm have unveiled a brand new trailer for the six-part Disney+ animated anthology series Star Wars: Tales of the Empire—a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

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Lucasfilm has a tendency to kick Star Wars fans’ blood pressure up a few notches by dropping new promos and teasers smack-dab in the middle of the work week. This time, the company caught the internet off-guard by releasing the first full-length trailer for Star Wars: Tales of the Empire, the followup to 2022’s Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, on Thursday morning, despite there being virtually zero rumblings about its existence in the first place.

What is Star Wars: Tales of the Empire About?

Developed by Dave Filoni—one of the few Lucasfilm corporate overlords widely embraced by the fandom—Tales of the Empire will follow a similar format to Tales of the Jedi but from the Galactic Empire’s point of view, consisting of six 20-minute episodes centered around “two warriors on divergent paths” from the same corner of the Star Wars universe.

Not be confused with a Tales of the Jedi season 2, Tales of the Empire, exactly what it says on the tin, will follow the plight of some of the galaxy’s most powerful Dark Siders, including Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), who we caught up with in the Disney+ Ahsoka series, as well as ex-Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger), who featured prominently in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The question of Barriss Offee’s fate has lingered ever since The Clone Wars wrapped up its seventh and final season on Disney+ in 2020, with many wondering what had become of the rogue Jedi after she was taken into Republic custody for falsely accusing Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) of bombing the Jedi Temple. Perhaps a rematch is in order?

Now, it seems like we’ll finally get a concrete answer as Barriss trains with a familiar face from Star Wars Rebels and the Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries: the Grand Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs). Of course, we already know how the pale-faced Pau’an meets his demise at the hands of Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), but it’ll be interesting to see how he mentors Barris as she pursues the path of becoming an Inquisitor.

Thankfully, it seems like we’ve finally figured out the correct size and shape of the Grand Inquisitor’s head. Plus, we get to see inside the Fortress Inquisitorius, where Barriss undergoes her Inquisitor trials along with Fourth Sister and the ever-elusive Marrok from Ahsoka—a.k.a. the warrior who … just kind of vaporized into green smoke. Don’t think too hard about it.

Another central relationship in Tales of the Empire appears to involve a young Morgan Elsbeth and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), who made for quite the dynamic duo in the first season of Ahsoka. Again, viewers already know how Morgan Elsbeth’s story ends. But what we don’t know is how she met the Chiss admiral in the first place, and why exactly she’s so dedicated to his (and the Empire’s) cause.

From the looks of it, Tales of the Empire will take us back in time to the Clone Wars, particularly when Count Dooku (Corey Burton) and his droid army massacre the witches of Dathomir after Asajj Ventress’ (Nika Futterman) plan to enact revenge on the separatist leader goes awry. Being a Nightsister herself, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Elsbeth teaming up with Thrawn to avenge her fallen family.

This flashback also takes us back to the industrial planet Corvus, where Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) fought Elsbeth in season 2 of The Mandalorian. There’s that Dave Filoni genius hard at work—you see, the “Mando-Verse” is all coming together!

Of course, we also have to mention the trailer’s many Prequel Era cameos, with General Grievous (Matthew Wood) being a particular standout—and Darth Vader, of course. The voice cast also includes Rya Kihlstedt as Lyn, otherwise known as Fourth Sister, and Wing T. Chao as Wing. Dave Filoni will act as the supervising director and co-producer, along with Athena Yvette Portillo and Carrie Beck.

Despite all the hype for Tales of the Empire, Lucasfilm still has to address the Rancor in the room—what will become of Tales of the Jedi season 2? New episodes were confirmed during last year’s Star Wars Celebration Europe, meaning audiences are sure to be confused by whether or not the anthology series is being “replaced” by Tales of the Empire, or if a sophomore season will see the return of familiar Light Siders like Ahsoka, Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker), or other Jedi on the run.

For now, the status of Tales of the Jedi season 2 remains a big question mark, but it’s safe to assume that Tales of the Empire is doing its own thing, following our favorite Star Wars baddies as they navigate an ever-changing galaxy in the aftermath of Order 66. And from the looks of it, there’s bound to be plenty of epic lightsaber duels, B2 battle droids, Nightsister Magick, and cameos galore.

Tales of the Empire launches on Star Wars Day, May 4, 2024, with all six episodes premiering exclusively on Disney+.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)


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Author
Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.