Star Wars Announces Surprise New Disney+ Show Releasing Next Month

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Star Wars Disney Plus show tiles

Lucasfilm announced a new Empire-centric animated series will come to Disney+ next month to celebrate Star Wars Day.

The next trip to the galaxy far, far away was already expected to be a dive into the dark side as The Acolyte will arrive on Disney+ on June 4 as a live-action series exploring the emerging Sith powers in the final days of the High Republic.

But now, another Star Wars Disney+ series will beat it to the villainous punch.

Star Wars Announces Tales of the Empire Disney+ Series

In a surprise announcement, Lucasfilm confirmed a new Star Wars series will premiere on Disney+ on Saturday, May 4 with Tales of the Empire.

The all-new Disney+ series comes in the style of last year's Tales of the Jedi with six animated shorts - half of which focussed on the rise of Ahsoka Tano while the other three explored the downfall of Count Dooku.

The announcement came with an official poster featuring Barriss Offee, Morgan Elsbeth, the Grand Inquisitor, General Grievous, Darth Vader, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and more icons of the Empire who will appear in the six shorts.

Tales of the Empire, Disney+,Poster
Star Wars

As per the official Star Wars site, these two characters will be the Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth and the former Jedi Barriss Offee:

"Journey into the fearsome Galactic Empire through the eyes of two warriors on divergent paths — Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth and former Jedi Barriss Offee... The trailer teases that we’ll learn how a young Morgan Elsbeth navigates the expanding Imperial world towards a path of vengeance, while former Jedi Barriss Offee does what she must to survive a rapidly changing galaxy. The choices they make will define their destinies."

The Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth played a prominent role in The Mandalorian and Ahsoka as an ally to Grand Admiral Thrawn and Tales of the Empire will likely explore the early days of their working together.

Tales of the Empire, Disney+, Morgan Elsbeth
Star Wars

She even appears set to go toe-to-toe with General Grievous on her homeworld of Dathomir, indicating at least one of her episodes will be set in the Clone Wars.

Tales of the Empire, Disney+, Morgan Elsbeth, General Grievous Fight
Star Wars

By the time Morgan Elsbeth was introduced in The Mandalorian Season 2, she was the magistrate for the city of Calodan on Corvus. That appears set to be explored further in Tales of the Empire, but it's unclear where these events will land in her life in relation to her time in the MandoVerse.

Tales of the Empire, Disney+, Morgan Elsbeth
Star Wars

Meanwhile, Barriss Offee was a prominent Jedi in The Clone Wars who betrayed the Jedi Order after coming to play the so-called "keepers of the peace" for the massive conflict ongoing in the galaxy.

Tales of the Empire, Disney+, Barriss Offee
Star Wars

Now, Tales of the Empire will take her further down this dark path as Offee endeavors to become an Inquisitor, even interacting with the likes of Darth Vader and the Grand Inquisitor based on the trailer.

Tales of the Empire, Disney+, Barriss Offee, Inquisitor
Star Wars

The cast list confirmed Diana Lee Inosanto will reprise her live-action role as Morgan Elsbeth and Meredith Salenger will continue to play Barriss Offee:

  • Diana Lee Inosanto - Morgan Elsbeth
  • Meredith Salenger - Barriss Offee
  • Rya Kihlstedt - Lyn, aka Fourth Sister
  • Wing T. Chao - Wing
  • Lars Mikkelsen - Thrawn
  • Jason Isaacs - Grand Inquisitor
  • Matthew Wood - General Grievous

Episode runtimes for Tales of the Jedi ranged from 13 to 19 minutes including credits, and the same will likely prove true in the dark side-centric second season.

Dave Filoni will serve as creator, supervising director, and executive producer alongside Athena Yvette Portillo and Carrie Beck. Josh Rimes is on board as co-executive producer as is Alex Spotswood as Senior Producer.

The official trailer for Tales of the Empire can be seen below:

What Will Happen in Tales of the Empire?

Tales of the Jedi made a point of exploring moments throughout the lives of Ahsoka Tano and Count Dooku, from childhood to seasoned veterans.

It would not be surprising to see Tales of the Empire apply a similar format from Morgan Elsbeth and Barriss Offee to expand on these characters in fresh and exciting ways.

For Morgan Elsbeth, fans could see her days as a young Nightsister on Dathomir, diving into her first meeting and mentorship with Grand Admiral Thrawn. This could stretch forward into her early times as the magistrate of Calodan on Corvus and even into the MandoVerse era in the years before her death in Ahsoka.

Turning over to Barriss Offee, it could be intriguing to explore her time as a Jedi Padawan under Luminara Unduli and her first temptations toward the dark side. Going beyond that, the trailer confirms that Offee will go down the path of becoming an Inquisitor, which could lead to more roles for her in future projects. 

Between Tales of the Empire, The Acolyte, and the return of Asajj Ventress in The Bad Batch Season 3, Star Wars has been going all-in on the dark side lately, something which will excite many as fans catch a new perspective of the galaxy.

Some will undoubtedly be disappointed at the choices of dark side characters for Tales of the Empire, as there had been hopes for icons such as Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, and Asajj Ventress to take the spotlight. But alas, Dave Filoni clearly found the stories he felt needed telling in Barriss Offee and Morgan Elsbeth.

All six of the animated Tales of the Empire shorts will premiere exclusively on Disney+ on Saturday, May 4 (Star Wars Day).

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.