Are you ready for The Bad Batch? They’ll arrive on Disney+ as part of the franchise’s May 4th celebrations, the first of the onslaught of Star Wars streamers to come over the next decade.
Like The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian, and Rebels, The Bad Batch is created by super-showrunner Dave Filoni.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is a spinoff of The Clone Wars and focuses on an experimental set of clones with “desirable mutations.” They were engineered to excel in such skills as strength, sniping, and tracking.
Collectively, they go by the name Clone Force 99.
It sounds as if the Bad Batch will continue to explore themes underpinning their series of origin, such as how the soldiers will function in the wake of their “usefulness” past the Clone Wars.
While we already met the core characters in Season 7 of Clone Wars, new friends are sure to pop up as well. Other not-so-friendly faces from both the films, as well as the animated series, will appear.
The series is set in the early stages of the Empire as it transitions from the Palpatine-choked Republic. As far as where the franchise’s animated series’ are concerned, it seems to take place directly after The Clone Wars, but before Rebels.
It may back up into certain events taking place during Revenge of the Sith.
The Bad Batch premieres on Disney+ on May 4, 2021. Its first episode will last 70 minutes. Episode 2 drops soon afterward, on May 7. Twelve more will follow, one a week.
Let’s meet (and re-meet) the gang. Based on the show’s trailers, here are the characters we will see:
YAAAAAAAS CAPTAIN REX, who, despite looking exactly like every other clone, somehow manages to be hotter than whichever one he happens to be standing next to.
Wisely, Lucasfilm included this fan-beloved familiar face (well, all those faces are familiar, and yes, every single clone is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker again) as we are eased into the adventures of The Bad Batch.
We might not know how much Rex will remain involved, or if his presence will remain after the initial episodes, but this trusty guy, a major Clone Wars character who somehow resisted Order 66 (with perhaps the unconscious help of Ahsoka Tano, but that’s a Jedi mind trick story for another time) is here for a least a bit.
Rex pops up on a non-Kamino planet in the trailers, and we know he charts a trajectory of his own, so he will likely fade in and out of the story as needed.
The most mulleted member of the group, Sergeant Hunter’s superpower is finding stuff, both mechanic and organic. Hunter doesn’t need your FindMyiPhone app!
He functions as Clone Force 99’s leader and also the galaxy’s most fierce Stallone-inspired fashion template. Judging from his actions during Clone Wars and the Bad Batch trailers, Hunter is also a whiz with a vibroblade.
Also, he somehow got his hands on a speeder bike, probably so his hair could whip around to its full advantage.
It seems that the gentlemen of the Bad Batch did not take part in Order 66; either they were not outfitted with the same chips as the other troopers which enabled it, or their enhanced skills helped them override the Emperor’s trigger.
(Possibly coincidental note: 66, upside down, is… 99. Hm.)
We might see an episode or two detailing their whereabouts during the Jedi extermination. Still, since Clone Force 99 appears to operate independently of the Order, they might not have been in contact with any Force-sensitive fighters when it happened.
In any case, the action scenes of the trailer suggest they launched into battle against their Clone brothers, who are now early stormtroopers.
Tarkin appears in both of the series’ trailers. In the second one, he intones that he wants the “disobedient” Clone Force 99 “found and wiped out,” so we can assume they’ve somehow wound up on his Angry List.
The Bad Batch seems to have blasted their way out of Kamino after a Tarkin-run trooper skill test, which may well have taken place simultaneously with Order 66. That suggests the Bad Batch have indeed come into conflict with the Empire, the other clones, and what’s left of the Jedi.
This is the “strong, possibly stupid guy” who likes to explode stuff. (There’s always one.)
Wrecker has an eye injury that we might see more about — or maybe not. It could just be there to up his cool factor and character development with something other than “He throws stuff!”
I’d have gone with an eye patch myself, but as usual, nobody asked my Parrothead self.
Echo is the new guy in the Bad Batch, but we originally met him in the early seasons of Clone Wars.
His story is the focus of the spin-off arc; he’s the Star Wars galaxy’s Laverne and Shirley in that respect. Presumed dead, he was instead captured and brain-mined for Republic battle plans.
After a Bad Batch-aided rescue from the Separatists, he joined this little Get-a-long Gang.
Echo is mostly droidy these days, so be careful about crushing too hard on this one. He may not have the ability to return your affections.
How do we know Tech is the nerdy computery details guy? Because he wears glasses! That’s my Filoni—fellow child of the ‘80s, embracer of ABC’s TGIF Friday night lineup as a template for all humanity.
Tech also has a wrist calculator, and he’s skinny! Because he’s a nerd!
You now know every single thing you need to know about Tech.
Those of you who have seen the Bad Batch in action in Clone Wars remember Crosshair as the toothpick guy who acted like a butthead to Anakin. He’s a sniper’s sniper.
Crosshair is who you want on your nation’s Olympics biathlon team. I don’t know if he skis, but even if not, he strikes me as the type of dude to get the shooting part of the course done and then, not caring, simply Ubering to his next set of targets.
Crosshair looks like what might happen if Anderson Cooper just said, “Eff it all, I’m technopunk now.”
Yay, Fennec! Bounty hunter Ms. Shand is the latest in a whoooooooooooole lot of Star Wars characters morphing from live-action to an animated version.
The last sight Star Wars’ fans’ eyes saw of Season 2 of The Mandalorian featured Fennec draped on the arm of Boba Fett’s newly acquired throne, swigging spotchka.
This new fan-favorite mentioned in the series that she was wanted by the Imperial Security Bureau, contributing to the crew shortage scenario that led to Mando’s shocking helmet removal while in pursuit of Grogu.
In typical Filoni style, a throwaway line knits itself into a much larger reality; we will likely learn much more about Fennec’s pre-Literal Abs of Steel life as she interacts with the Bad Batch.
She is voiced by Ming-Na Wen, the same actress who played her in The Mandalorian.
If you think Saw was pulled from outside the Filoniverse, think again. He was introduced in Clone Wars, then appeared in the live-action movie Rogue One.
Saw was part of the Vietnam War-inspired “advisor” arc in the series, in which he was down-low trained by Republic forces so that civilians could grow their own rebellions.
Saw was voiced earlier by Andrew Kishino, who is back behind the mic for the character in Bad Batch.
Much of the action of the trailers take place on Kamino, the homeworld of the clones, so we’ll probably see Saw, whose home is Onderon, past the introductory scenes.
Since he was a germinating member of the Rebellion, his presence in Bad Batch indicates that the crew either joins up with the Alliance or at least teams with them when necessary.
There’s no way around this: There’s a kid in Bad Batch, and it’s a kid old enough to spout cringy dialogue and, in general, gum up the works of non-annoying storytelling.
Children who possess the power of speech tend not to endear themselves in this franchise. (I include you in this statement, Prepubescent Ezra Bridger.)
Anyway, Omega’s job in the second trailer is to namecheck each member of The Bad Batch, but any hope that this kid’s sole function is as a brief Space Basil Exposition is dashed by a later scene in which Hunter invites her to join them.
She has a neon bow and arrow, so this will probably go on for a while — possibly as a replacement for Crosshair, who is suspiciously missing from the second trailer.
There’s heavy fan speculation that, given her name, Omega (“the end”) is the final clone of Jango Fett, but I’m not so sure. She doesn’t favor lil’ Boba at all as we saw him in the prequels; grown-up Jango looks all kinds of different from what we saw of Omega.
Perhaps she herself has some mutations? Such as the gene glitch of being a bearable Star Wars child?
Hopefully, what we see here isn’t a fuzzy second-generation copy of The Mandalorian, in which Lucasfilm figured that if one cute kid with a rough and battle-battered dad is good, then another cute kid with five rough and battle-battered dads is better.
Bonus Maybes: Darth Maul, Boba Fett, and the Cast of Rebels/Ezra Bridger
Darth Maul: Holder of the title for Most Annoyingly and Improbably Resurrected Character of the Star Wars Universe until Emperor Palpatine snatched it from him in Rise of Skywalker, Darth Maul returned on the orders of George Lucas for Clone Wars, Solo, Rebels, and several publications. He’s certainly alive and kicking around the galaxy during this period, so buckle up for more of this post-prequels Zabrak.
Boba Fett: Why not re-cross with The Mandalorian and the pending Book of Boba Fett? Interestingly, an animated appearance from this longtime legend would return him to his roots: Boba Fett first appeared as a cartoon interlude in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
All the Rebels: In the Star Wars movie timeline, Rebels is set between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One. The fate of some of Rebels’ characters, including center-focus Ezra Bridger, was left unresolved.
When last seen, Ezra was riding off into hyperspace on the back of a space whale. (I did not—could not—make that up.) He was the odds-on favorite to appear in The Mandalorian as Grogu’s mentor last season but hasn’t popped up in live-action yet.
Perhaps he’ll remain in his animated form here.
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