Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
The Bad Batch just made a big alteration to a Star Wars character’s origins.
The premiere of the new animated Clone Wars spin-off showed the Batch adjusting to the Republic becoming the Empire.
But it also showed how the Batch played a pivotal role in one Star Wars: Rebel’s character’s past, which changes their previous canon.
Bad Batch: The Aftermath
Entitled “Aftermath,” the premiere begins during the events of Revenge of the Sith as Clone Force 99 is on the world of Kaller, aiding Jedi Master Depa Billaba and Padawan Caleb Dume.
Just as they win the battle, Order 66 occurs, and the clone troopers turn on the Jedi. The clone troopers cut down Billaba, but the Batch doesn’t automatically follow the orders.
They tried to aid Caleb, only for Crosshair to attempt to kill him, as he feels the need to obey orders is more important than questioning them.
Caleb leaped across a cliff, with team leader Hunter claiming he stunned the boy to let him fall, but the rest of the team clearly knows the truth.
What stands out is that when Caleb speaks, it’s in Freddie Prinze Jr’s voice. Not only does Caleb escape Kaller, but he eventually grows up to become Kanan Jarrus, the Jedi hero of Star Wars: Rebels.
This shift in storytelling differs from 2015’s Kanan comic book, which supposedly detailed his origins. Billaba’s death is much the same, allowing Caleb’s escape.
However, a key difference is that, in the comic, one Clone trooper named Greys resisted his programming and he and fellow trooper Styles sacrificed themselves to help Caleb escape.
This drives on Kanan, who wants to honor that sacrifice. Here, Kanan simply feels the betrayal of the clones turning on him, which will build a mistrust of others.
It’s not the first time that the new Star Wars canon has contradicted itself. The 2016 Ahsoka novel showed the former Jedi’s exploits during Order 66 differently than they were in the Clone Wars finale, and other times Star Wars has rewritten its own history.
Talking to Cinema Blend, showrunner Jennifer Corbett revealed the idea was always to have the Batch interacting with a young Padawan, and it was Producer Dave Filoni who brought up having it be Caleb.
We knew pretty early on we wanted to start with Order 66, and a lot of the discussions were around who the Batch are with, what Jedi, is there a Padawan? And the more that we were developing the pilot and we saw interaction the Batch was gonna have with Omega, we had this opportunity to sort of do a parallel story, and we get to see Hunter interact with Caleb, and he tries to help him but obviously that doesn’t work out well for him, and he carries that with him throughout the episode.
So when he gets the chance to do that again with Omega, it’s sort of him seeing it through. So it sort of felt like a nice bookend for the pilot, but also, personally, when Dave Filoni said that said that it would be cool to have Caleb in this, I think we just jumped at the opportunity because I’m a huge fan of Star Wars Rebels, and getting to see that part of his life and how that affects him was exciting.
The Batch’s future
Corbett refers to Omega, the last of the clone batches created on the world of Kamino. Omega’s “mutation” turns out that she is actually female, which has both her creators and other clones confused.
Sadly for the Batch, things go badly as Grand Moff Tarkin has decided that rather than rely on clones, the newly formed Empire will use regular soldiers who will become the Stormtroopers, which means the destruction of scores of Clones.
Worse is that Crosshair’s attempt to follow Order 66 gives the Kamino scientists an opening to brainwash him into a fully loyal Imperial soldier who even tried to kill his own teammates.
Now on the run with Omega, the Batch must deal with being hunted by one of their own, while Kanan’s surprise cameo shows how the series continues to play with Star Wars lore.
The Bad Batch streaming new episodes Fridays on Disney+.