Star Wars fans are about to see a previously undocumented part of the galaxy’s history.
When The Bad Batch premieres on May 4, fans will see the point when the Republic transforms into the Empire and the galaxy, not realizing what is in store for it.
The Republic’s fall
The Clone Wars animated series didn’t just showcase the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists. It also detailed the intricate chess game Palpatine played behind the scenes, consolidating his power to prepare for his move as Darth Sidious.
In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine struck, using Order 66 to have the clone troopers wipe out the Jedi.
Making it seem as if the Jedi were going to overthrow the Republic, Palpatine transformed it into the Empire with many of the senators not understanding what they were cheering for.
This is where the Bad Batch animated series opens with Clone Force 99, made up of “unique” clones who aren’t the standard troopers.
Like many of their fellow soldiers, the Batch is unprepared for how the Republic has shifted as the Clone troopers are giving way to the regular Stormtroopers.
Talking to Comic Book Resources, Jennifer Corbett teased how this dynamic was so fascinating to play with.
“This time period is one of the reasons I got so excited about this show, other than this oddball group of characters. But I just found it intriguing and engaging to watch a series where — we’ve seen The Clone Wars, where it’s the height of the Clone Troopers doing what they’re meant to do, and what they were created for.
The question became, ‘What happens after the war is over? What happens to clones who all they know is being soldiers?’ Especially for the Bad Batch, who do things differently as it is, with the Republic and how they fit in once it becomes the Empire. Obviously, [they are] two very different regimes, and how they react to this new environment and the new way of doing things and new way of following rules, which again, isn’t their favorite thing to do.”
The Empire’s rise
The Batch assumes they’ll take on any remnants of the Separatists, but Grand Moff Tarkin believes they’re loose cannons and wants them eliminated.
This forces the Batch on the run with Alpha, the last of the clones who is still a child. Along the way, they see how the galaxy is adapting to this new regime.
Corbett explained how a key element is that many planets don’t understand that a brutal dictatorship has replaced the Republic and are in denial or oblivious to how bad things are going to become.
“It was interesting to just talk about the transition from the Republic to the Empire and what that looks like, because it’s not what we saw in the original trilogy, where it’s the dominance of the Empire. It’s kind of the early stages, and I found it interesting to show planets and places that were happy that the war is over, and they don’t really understand the implications of what an Empire actually means. It’s just laying the groundwork for what everyone knows the Empire to be later on.”
Dee Bradley Baker, who voices all the clones, added that, “it becomes a suddenly much more rule-based power structure of the galaxy, of the universe, and that the Bad Batch are not so much a rule-based unit.
“They’re very much a team, but they’re not like the Clones are, where it’s more of a top-down command structure. It’s very interesting to place them in the middle of this transformational moment and to see how that plays out.”
As they go on the run, the Batch will run into some faces known to Star Wars fans.
Saw Gerrera, the Rebel warrior seen in Rogue One, will appear as he’s one of the first to see the Empire is going to be a major threat, and he is already preparing his own rebellion against them.
Also, Ming-Na Wen will voice her Mandalorian character of the bounty hunter Fennec Shand, although Corbett points out it won’t be the seasoned fighter fans saw on that series.
“She’s quite a bit younger here than she was in The Mandalorian. She’s just beginning her career as a bounty hunter, so that was a really interesting thing to play with; how she approaches situations.
“And she is still very formidable, which we had a lot of fun getting the action to really work on those lines. And having Ming-Na Wen voice her was so fun. It was fantastic, she’s so great.”
While there are hints one member of the Batch may follow a different path, the series will excite Star Wars fans by showing how the Empire rose to the power of the movies.
Star Wars The Bad Batch premieres on Disney+ on May 4 with new episodes streaming every Friday.