Star Wars: Tales of the Empire Episode 1 Recap

‘Star Wars: Tales of the Empire’ is a new slice of ‘Star Wars’ animation, focusing on Morgan Elsbeth and Barriss Offee. The first episode shows Elsbeth surviving the slaughter of the Nightsisters on Dathomir, titled “The Path of Fear”. It’s an insightful episode, one that warns what happens when a person lets their fears control them. 

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The episode opens up in the middle of the destruction of the Nightsisters on Dathomir, something the audiences can see for themselves in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ season 4 episode 19 titled “Massacre”. That was a brutal episode, and its brutality is only reinforced here. 

Elsbeth, in red robes and with Nightsister tattoos, fights the Droid Army, getting aid from the Mother of her clan. She kills a Super Battle Droid and attempts to lead Elsbeth and others away, only to run into General Grievous. He looks stunningly gorgeous with his updated model, and his dialogue is fleeting, driving home the idea of a mechanical menace. Grievous and the Mother duel while Elsebeth watches, but the Mother succumbs in the end, using her dying breath to tell Elsbeth to run. 

General Grievous in a scene from “STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Elsbeth does this, but Commando Droids give chase. She tries to hide up a tree, but one Droid shoots her out, and a tense battle follows, with Elsbeth emerging victorious but only just. She surveys the slaughter, listening to Grievous’ laugh reverberate around the forest. Elsbeth passes out. 

After the battle, Elsbeth is picked up by members of the Mountain Clan. Elsbeth wakes up, and her tattoos fade. The Matron explains it’s because the power of the Nightsisters has been broken. She takes Elsbeth out to see the burning forest, and Elsbeth collapses when she sees it, crying. 

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Later on, Elsbeth is poking at a fire, with echoes of Grievious’ laugh and the massacre ringing in her ears. Younger members of the Mountain Clan wonder if the Droids will slaughter them next, but the Matron tells them not to give into their fear. 

The Matron invites Elsbeth to join her daughter Nali on a hunt, and while they’re out the pair spot Droid Gunships scour the land for any survivors. Elsbeth and Nali hide behind a rock, with Nali insisting that the Mountain Clan are safe, but Elsbeth says the other members of the Clan are right to fear a Droid attack, and that Elsbeth can help protect them. 

Back at the camp, Nali voices her fears to her mother, the Matron, but is told that those aren’t her fears, but Elsbeth’s. The Matron says that she must trust their path. Outside, Elsbeth and others will retrieve weapons to protect the clan from an attack. With some convincing, Nali agrees to join. They all enter a Nightsister structure full of weapons but are spotted by a Droid Gunship. Elsbeth grabs a sickle. 

The Matron realises that the youngest members of her Clan have left, and witnessing several Droid Gunships converging on them in the forest leaves to save them. A Droid Gunship shot causes the Nightsister structure to rumble, forcing Elsbeth and the others outside to face many Droids. They attempt to fight them, but Nali and another one Mountain Clan member are heavily injured when a Droid Gunship destroys the Nightsister structure. 

Elsbeth becomes overwhelmed while fighting droids, but thankfully the Matron arrives to blast them away with an energy blast. She chastises Elsbeth, saying that just because the Mountain Clan doesn’t want to attack doesn’t mean they can’t defend themselves. She demands to know where her daughter Nali is, and Nali dies in her mother’s arms.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

The Matron exiles Elsbeth, saying that she pities the young Nightsister as she knows what’s in store for Elsbeth, as the Matron has seen the future. The surviving Mountain Clan members leave, and Elsbeth stands against a backdrop of fire. 

While unsubtle in some ways the episode demonstrates its theme, “The Path of Fear” demonstrates very well how letting fear dominate the path can lead to seeking out aggression, which can lead the people around getting killed. And after fear comes anger. Elsbeth has started down a dark path, and Yoda rightly said “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.” 

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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