The latest animated Star Wars series, The Bad Batch has already gone down well with fans and critics alike. But with several animated series already in the vault, can The Bad Batch offer anything new?
The show, a spiritual successor to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, picks up where the Clone Wars end, with “Order 66” to eliminate the Jedi being issued by the Galactic Empire. The Bad Batch follows a group of elite clone troopers, Clone Force 99, as they manage the early days of the Empire and take on mercenary missions in a galaxy in turmoil.
With so much Star Wars content headed to Disney+ and the cinema, it can be hard to find new ground to tread, but those in charge of the show think that the rise of the Empire is fertile ground for storytelling.
The Bad Batch boss Jennifer Corbett talks about the theme of the show
Speaking at the official global press conference for the show, executive producer Jennifer Corbett said that we’d already seen the Clone Troopers doing what they were tasked to do, so “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.”
The Bad Batch‘s setting at the very dawn of the Galactic Empire will offer writers and fans a unique opportunity to explore just how Palpatine’s influence spreads and the danger and corruption that goes along with it. Having already touched on the charged political atmosphere during Rogue One and Solo, the new series will show how the Empire comes to define itself.
Exploring the culture that goes alongside this rapid change of circumstance, The Bad Batch will lay “the groundwork for what everyone knows the Empire to be later on,” with many inhabitants of the galaxy failing to understand “the implications of what an Empire actually means.”
Obviously, two very different regimes and how they react to this new environment.. and a new way of following rules. Which again, isn’t [the Bad Batch’s] favorite thing to do. 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.
The Bad Batch received a four-episode “backdoor pilot” during the final season of Clone Wars last year. The characters and concept came from Dave Filoni, who’s worked on Rebels, The Clone Wars, and The Mandalorian. “[I]t was crucial that he be involved in this process very much – because these are characters that he’s created, and it’s the world that he knows. Every day, every script is a learning experience,” Corbett said.
Speaking with The Star Wars Show last year, Filoni said called The Bad Batch “a fun show.” He’s “very excited” to be a part of it. “It’s very much in the vein of Clone Wars. It follows the legacy that we started way back with George [Lucas] of telling very, very exciting adventure stories in the style of Clone Wars. It does aspire to the look and scale of those adventures… the audience really demands to have the animated series be epic.”
The Bad Batch themselves are voiced entirely by Star Wars veteran Dee Bradley Baker, and there are plenty of cameos planned for established Star Wars characters. The premiere episode, “Aftermath,” featured a key role for Freddie Prinze Jr as Kanan Jarrus, while Stephen Stanton and Andrew Kishino will reprise their roles as Admiral Tarkin and Saw Gerrera. Actress Ming-Na Wen will return as Fennec Shand from The Mandalorian.
While fans may have initially feared that The Bad Batch either wouldn’t live up to The Clone Wars or become lost in the shuffle of so many other Star Wars projects, the reaction to “Aftermath “shows these fears are unfounded. With the dedicated team of Corbett and Filoni at the helm, an intriguing era to explore, and a whole range of new stories to tell, The Bad Batch may, in fact, be a hidden gem in the Star Wars crown.