Tales of the Empire’s First Clip Gives General Grievous a Bit of Menace Back


When we first met General Grievous 20 years ago this month in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars microseries, it gave him an immediate, chilling presence. But then Revenge of the Sith, and with it the Clone Wars 3DCG series, constrained what could be done with the character. Grievous took on the air of a Saturday morning cartoon villain—twirling lightsabers rather than mustaches. Tales of the Empire is keeping the twirling lightsabers, but it might just bring back a little of that original menace, too.

Today Lucasfilm released the first clip from the upcoming anthology series Tales of the Empire—its spiritual successor to Tales of the Jedi, this time focusing on stories of the Dark Side, including the life of Morgan Elsbeth before she joined Thrawn’s service, and whatever happened to Barriss Offee after her radicalization against the Jedi’s role in the Clone War. Leaning on the Morgan side of things, the clip sees Tales’ own riff on a particular moment from the 3D Clone Wars series—the season four episode, “Massacre,” when as part of an act of vengeance by Count Dooku, Grievous and an army of Battle Droids launch a devastating assault on Dathomir to try and wipe out Asajj Ventress and her Nightsister comrades.

Tales of the Empire | ‘Stay Back’ Official Clip

The clip is brief, but very fun—if Star Wars is to insist on returning to stories of Clone Wars as it so often is these days, at the very least being able to do so in animation, with the lessons and experiences learned since it came to an end in place, is nice. Getting to see this moment first glimpsed 12 years ago with modern visuals and style is great! But it’s also because, given free reign to act here as the catalyst for Morgan’s traumatic past, Grievous just gets to be unleashed as pure, sinister id.

Going up against Obi-Wan or other Jedi in Clone Wars—never Anakin, of course, because the two were not allowed to actually meet until Revenge of the Sith—Grievous was most often doomed to be a bit of a jobber. He had his moments here and there, sure (the early season one episode “Lair of Grievous” is always worth shouting out), but in Clone Wars Grievous was usually far from the charismatically petrifying agent of death he was when he first stomped into animated canon in the 2D series. It might only be for a brief while, but at least Tales of the Empire looks like it’s bringing at least a little bit of that edge back.

Tales of the Empire begins streaming on Disney+ May 4.


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