Happy early Star Wars day Star Wars fans! This year on May the Fourth, there will be new Star Wars content released alongside the annual celebration. The Bad Batch animated series from the makers of Clone Wars is set to premiere on Tuesday with a 70 minute special before releasing smaller episodes on Fridays on Disney+.
What is it?
The Bad Batch is essentially Clone Wars season 8. Creator and executive producer Dave Filoni just trojan horse-d it past the Disney executives by giving it a different name. This miniseries will focus on the squad of clones named Clone Force 99 instead of the main prequel characters. They are clones that each have a specific genetic mutation, hence the nickname “Bad Batch.” The squad originally consisted of Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, and Crosshair. They were joined by Echo of Domino Squad in Clone Wars season 7 after he was rescued from a Separatist fortress where he was turned into a cyborg.
What will it be about?
Not much information has been released about the series other than what can be gleaned from the trailers. However, it’s a guarantee that we will see what happens to the Bad Batch after Order 66 is declared.
The Bad Batch was notorious in the Republic for being more independent than the normal clones. It seems that independence runs afoul with the Empire, as Grand Moff Tarkin orders they be hunted down. What exactly did they do to be branded enemies of the Empire? Also, were they not implanted with inhibitor chips and therefore were not ordered to kill the Jedi?
In relation to the chips, another loose end that could be tied here is Echo learning about Fives’ death and the circumstances around it from Rex. Fives was killed because he discovered the conspiracy behind the inhibitor chips in the clones. He was only able to convince Rex of the plot, who eventually used the knowledge to remove his chip. Will Rex tell Echo about his best friend’s death at the hands of their fellow clones? Will he tell the Bad Batch about what really happened in the Jedi purge? Is this the final straw that convinces the squad to defy the Empire?
New Versions of Clones
Clone Wars biggest strength was its ability to elevate the prequels. It filled in plot holes and gave depth to old characters while introducing new ones. Bad Batch may look to follow the lead of its predecessor, but instead look to elevate the sequels.
One of the biggest flaws of the sequels was the lack of explanation regarding Palpatine’s return and his relation to Snoke. The Mandalorian seemed to hint that it may look to rectify some of that, as in season 2 we see some Snoke-like figures in a laboratory. Grogu may be the catalyst that opens up more exploration into Palpatine’s resurrection via cloning a force user.
Bad Batch could possibly build on this by introducing more non-direct Jango Fett clones in order to eventually play into Palpatine’s comeback. The little girl in the trailer sounds eerily like the clones and looks to live on Kamino. Perhaps she is a clone that came out female in the vein of X-23 from the Marvel Universe. Maybe that’s why the squad takes a liking to her because they too are “different.”
What ever happened to Cody?
Bad Batch should mostly focus on the titular characters. We know what became of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano in the immediate aftermath of Order 66. Those main characters of Clone Wars shouldn’t see much screen time, if any.
However, one major character from Clone Wars disappeared in Star Wars lore after Revenge of the Sith. Commander Cody has yet to have any of his story told in canon after attempting to kill Obi-Wan Kenobi. Cody’s transition from Clone trooper to stormtrooper could be a fascinating study of loyalty vs. questioning authority.
Cody was fiercely loyal to Obi-Wan and the Republic, eventually developing many of the same personality traits as his Jedi General. That loyalty eventually came to a fault, as Cody obeyed the order to kill Kenobi after Order 66. Cody, like Obi-Wan, put his faith and allegiance to the Republic. They both did everything by the book. When the book was rewritten, Cody continued on with the Empire, although not entirely by his own choice. Obi-Wan began to question everything he thought he knew after watching it all crumble around him. It would be fascinating to draw this parallel between the former General and his Commander heading into the Kenobi series.
Fennec Shand background
Speaking of lead-ins to live action projects, The Mandalorian’s breakout character Fennec Shand is making her animation debut in Bad Batch. Ming-Na Wen will voice the character she first brought to life in The Mandalorian. This will be our last look at Shand before she transitions to an assumed leading role in The Book of Boba Fett. We haven’t been told much about Shand except that she is a very skilled assassin and mercenary who eventually does something to get a bounty on her head.
Bad Batch is set roughly 34 years before the events of The Mandalorian season 2. So we will be seeing a much younger version of Shand. It will be fascinating to see how she plays into this story and how her character is given more depth before she joins Boba’s criminal empire in Book of Boba Fett.