The HoloFiles

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘Star Wars: Tales of the Empire’ Star Meredith Salenger Talks Barriss Offee’s Return

By George & Josh Bate

Meredith Salenger Tales of the Empire interview
Barriss Offee in a scene from “STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Over a decade since her last appearance, Barriss Offee returns to Star Wars in the highly anticipated new series Tales of the Empire. Reprising her role from The Clone Wars as the fan-favorite character is Meredith Salenger, who finally answers lingering questions about what happened to Barriss Offee after she betrayed the Jedi Order.

The HoloFiles recently had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with Meredith Salenger alongside Star Wars Explained, Jedi News, Skytalkers, Fantha Tracks, Skywalking Through Neverland, Father.Son.Galaxy, Fangirls Gone Rogue, Ion Cannon, and Coffee with Kenobi. During this roundtable interview, Salenger discussed her approach to playing Barriss Offee, the theme of motherhood that runs through Tales of the Empire, her friendship with series creator Dave Filoni, the possibility of seeing the character’s story continue in a subsequent project, and more.

Salenger reflected on how rewarding reprising her role as Barriss Offee for Tales of the Empire has been, especially as it afforded opportunities to work with Dave Filoni again. “The most rewarding thing about revisiting Barriss Offee was being back in the booth with Dave Filoni,” Salenger remarked. “He’s so creative. He’s so interesting. He always has such incredible character arcs. There really wasn’t much difficult to come back to, because I feel like Barriss has been in the minds of me, because I love her, but [also] the fans since The Clone Wars ended, everyone is always asking about her.”

Meredith Salenger Tales of the Empire interview
Barriss Offee in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Barriss Offee last appeared in the episode of The Clone Wars titled “The Wrong Jedi,” the culmination of an arc that saw the character leave and betray the Jedi Order. Salenger noted that she has thought extensively about Barriss’ complex moral compass since her last appearance. “I’ve been listening to fans saying, ‘How could you turn on Ahsoka? How could you do this?” Salenger said. “I’ve always felt like Barriss has this incredible moral compass and did what she felt was right for the Jedi Order…So, for me, I have my own opinions on why she did what she did back in The Clone Wars.”

Salenger continued to reflect on Barriss’ complicated history. “I think she is compelling, because she starts to listen to her own moral compass as she’s going through things,” Salenger stated. “And she starts to have different opinions I think. She might have been influenced by Palpatine’s propaganda that he [spread] about the Jedi…I think her faith in the Jedi starts to waiver a little bit. She’s compelling, because she has a moral dilemma. And she thinks she’s doing the right thing. And perhaps the way she went about it wasn’t the right way. But she was very strong in her convictions.”

Barriss’ journey in Tales of the Empire begins as the character is imprisoned in a Republic jail following the events of The Clone Wars. Salenger hypothesized that the time in between The Clone Wars and Tales of the Empire involved great introspection while Barriss was trapped in solitude. “For this show, finding her again in jail since The Clone Wars, nothing’s really happened for her other than sitting there stewing in her thoughts and making a conscious decision in her mind of who she feels she is and what changes she wants to make. Any storyline between the two would’ve been her internal monologue.”

Meredith Salenger Tales of the Empire interview
Barriss Offee (center) and Clone guards in a scene from “STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Series creator Dave Filoni collaborated with Salenger to continue Barriss’ journey. “I love where Dave Filoni has taken her character,” Salenger enthusiastically stated. “The arc during Tales of the Empire is astonishing. I don’t think we know what she’s been thinking while she’s been in jail this whole time. And I think the things that she’s presented with are about to show her depth of character that she’s developed while in prison.”

In Tales of the Empire, Barriss Offee is trained by the Grand Inquisitor. Salenger compared the training Barriss received under her former master Luminara Undulu compared to the Grand Inquisitor. “I think she’s had very interesting masters,” Salenger reflected. “She had Luminara Unduli, who was incredibly by-the-book. And I think the Grand Inquisitor also there’s a way of behavior he is teaching as well. And I think she’s being taught by the best of the best for what they are. In the Inquisitors, here’s the person…who is not going to pull any punches with you. He wants you to step up. And requiring Barriss to step up and push herself to a place she might not want to go or that she’s afraid to go, but she does. It’s fascinating to me.”

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

Salenger identified that Barriss’ core conflict in Tales of the Empire will be to make choices in accordance with her inner values. “In Tales of the Empire, you see her struggle with what to do with the options presented to her. And I think a lot of people go through that. I think your choices define your destiny. And I think, what we learn from Tales of the Empire, we always have a choice. You always have a choice for whatever path you’re going to go down.”

Tales of the Empire continues Barriss’ story, but this may not be the last we see of the character. When asked what direction she would like the character to head in if given the chance, Salenger responded, “Well I can’t spoil what happens at the end. But, if there was a fantasy world where I could create more Barriss, she has got a lot she has to deal with how her relationship with Ahsoka ended. And I think Barriss Offee and Ahsoka Tano need to have some time together to rehash and explain and reconnect. And it will be like the two of them going off on adventures together, because I think they really do have a strong bond and they believe in the same things ultimately.”

Meredith Salenger Tales of the Empire interview
(L-R): Grand Inquisitor and Barriss Offee in a scene from “STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE”, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Barriss Offee was already one of the most talked about Star Wars characters, and that fascination is likely to continue when fans see her journey unfold in Tales of the Empire. For actress Meredith Salenger, Tales of the Empire marks a return to a character she last played 11 years ago, but Barriss Offee has remained in the hearts and minds of Salenger and Star Wars fans ever since.

Listen to the full interview with Meredith Salenger below….

The new Star Wars series Tales of the Empire streams May 4 on Disney+.

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