Star Wars: The Bad Batch is Lucasfilm Animation’s latest project, which focuses on Clone Force 99 (AKA: The Bad Batch) after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and the Rise of the Empire. First developed by George Lucas and Dave Filoni during the original The Clone Wars run, these troopers were designed to have specific genetic mutations to improve certain aspects/skill-sets. When Disney+ brought back The Clone Wars for its final season, the original episodes were completed and introduced the world to this intriguing and unorthodox band.
But, make no mistake – this isn’t a new season of The Clone Wars in everything but name. If anything, saying so would be a disservice to the storytelling being told in this new show. While the characters, art style and stories are lifted from the other show, The Bad Batch gets to focus on these specific characters and their outlook towards the end of the war and the sudden rise of the Empire. While the characters originated over a decade ago, this new show has Jennifer Corbett as head-writer and Brad Rau as supervising director – their energy and creativity are found all over the DNA of the show, helping to distinguish this as something fresh.
With the Bad Batch already being different from the other troopers we’ve watched over the years through Attack of the Clones through to The Siege of Mandalore, it’s fascinating watching these characters observe how their brothers and their sudden change in attitude now the war is ended. We’ve seen a little bit of this exploration in Star Wars: Rebels, but that was set many years after the events of Episode III. With this show, we get a direct look at how the Galaxy quickly adapts to this new world order and status quo, it’s haunting.
That’s not to say the show is 70 minutes of doom and gloom, that’s far from the case with Dee Bradley-Baker delivering such hilarious jokes and managing to somehow find a way to add more life and originality into these characters, despite having voiced *HUNDREDS* of them. With The Clone Wars, Rebels and Resistance under their belt, it’s no surprise that the animation throughout this premiere episode was absolutely on point, reiterating how this medium is not merely ‘secondary’ to the live-action content, but equal. Whether it’s the consistently rain beaten planet of Kamino or a jungle planet, every location is rendered brilliantly.
Like much of Star Wars, while you will be rewarded as an audience member that has watched The Clone Wars or consumed other media in a galaxy, far, far away – you don’t need to enter this story knowing every single detail. Even the story beats, which will have watchers jumping out of their seats, are crafted in such a way that it still delivers the necessary emotional and story-driven points that it wants to relay. This is a mark of great storytelling – putting an interesting story first and foremost. If it happens to connect to other parts of this world? Even better.
The Bad Batch introduces Omega, a curious and bright child who seems very inquisitive about the Bad Batch and knows all about their various exploits during the war. Omega is voiced by New Zealand actress Michelle Ang who delivers a wonderful performance, portraying both Omega’s caring and inquiring nature with such joy. While first appearing in this show, Omega is definitely going to be a character that fans fall in love with straight away and we wouldn’t be surprised if she rises up people’s favourite character lists. No pressure, Grogu!
Overall, much like the time period in which it’s placed, The Bad Batch is a story of both hope and tragedy. It’s a clever new entry in the Star Wars universe that knowingly takes audience expectations and turns it on its head rather quickly – emphasising how this time in the galaxy is equal parts frightening and exciting.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is available to watch on Disney+ starting today.