“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” launches exclusively on Disney+ this May the 4th – Star Wars Day. We share a spoiler-free review.
Warning: You will need to provide your own seat belts for this fast-paced, thrilling, non-stop adventure!
Disney+ hit it out of the galaxy with the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It didn’t seem possible Lucasfilm/Disney could ever top that pulse-pounding series finale. Guess what? They did with Star Wars: The Bad Batch! There were character surprises and five different clones each with a different personality all voiced by the mega-talented Dee Bradley Baker! The animation is very similar to that of The Clone Wars, but technology has advanced so much that the graphic effects are just stunning.
The Bad Batch follows a Star Wars Rebels format focusing on one group of characters instead of jumping around to various story arcs. The characters aren’t varied in gender and species as the Ghost crew but they’ve just gotten started. This new Disney+ series introduces an Ezra Bridger-type character in Omega, a clone child who is the assistant of Kaminoan medical researcher, Nala Se. Like Ezra, she joins this group of misfits who are trying to make the galaxy a better place even though the odds are against them. Thus she is forming her own family.
Getting reacquainted with the Bad Batch
The Bad Batch crew, known as Clone Force 99, consists of five clones, and they all have distinct personalities and skills. They are:
- Hunter – the leader of the group, who has heightened senses and looks like Rambo
- Wrecker – One thing drives this clone, blowing things up! What he lacks in patience and strategy he makes up with his phenomenal strength and loyalty.
- Tech – just like the name, he is the smartest of the crew and has encyclopedic knowledge and an ability to manipulate technology for his gain.
- Crosshair – the lone wolf of the team, he has exceptional marksmanship abilities and works best alone. And has a never ending supply of toothpicks.
- Echo – the newest member of the Bad Batch, he is “more machine than man” caused by experimentation while imprisoned by the Separatists.
For a deep dive on The Bad Batch and where you can find them in Clone Wars episodes, check out this great article.
The Bad Batch Episode 1: “Aftermath” Review
The 70-minute premiere episode, “Aftermath,” picks up moments before Order 66 as seen in Revenge of the Sith and the Clone Wars seventh season episode, “Shattered.” Clones troopers are fighting alongside their Jedi General and her Padawan on the planet Kaller. Things looks dismal as the Jedi and clones wait for their backup squadron. They are underwhelmed when they see it is just five soldiers, but immediately impressed after seeing what these five can do. This first action-packed scene is cinema quality. You’ll find yourself watching it repeatedly as you focus on the different elements from the animation, action, structure, and the list goes on.
The Star Wars universe opens up when the animated series gives a different point of view from the timeline we see in the film. As you’re watching it you know what is happening all over the galaxy as Palpatine is executing Order 66! Since fans watching this know exactly what is happening and the Jedi are being slain mercilessly, it makes this first act so much more intense and emotional. And we’re just waiting for Clone Force 99 to flip sides because of their inhibitor chip that was built into their brains, but we can all give a sigh of relief knowing that they are immune to Order 66.
As the Bad Batch return to their home planet of Kamino, they are extremely confused as to what is going on. They are not mindless as the other turncoat clones and have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that everything has just changed. Elite Shock Troopers and the clone army are marching in formation, not just for a drill, but for mandatory assembly. The war is over.
(Watch for the Kenner toy reference as Clone Force 99 sees the dead Jedi being carried off in the hangar bay. I would love to write about that, but I count that as a spoiler.)
It’s a fascinating time in the Star Wars galaxy, and this series asks the question – what happens to the clones once the war they’ve been bred for is over? What happens to the Kaminoans whose livelihood depends on constant orders of new clones? What does the Clone Force 99 team do now? This is when a primary theme of the series kicks in. An ultimatum proposed by Saw Gerrera in the trailer –
“You can either adapt and survive, or die with the past.”Saw Gerrera
Enter Admiral Tarkin with a new trumpet heavy theme by composer Kevin Kiner. Tarkin is again voiced by Stephen Stanton but you would swear it is Peter Cushing, the actor who played the role in Star Wars: A New Hope. He is there to evaluate the clones and their worth, and takes a particular interest in Clone Force 99. Tarkin is so eager to shut down the clone contract that he gives them a deadly mission to eradicate a group of Seperatist insurgents intent on keeping the galaxy at war.
This is where the episode kicks into the main plot, with a wrinkle. That wrinkle’s name is: Omega!
Omega is a fan of Clone Force 99. She looks at them like they are the Beatles (or insert any other band name). Omega is a young girl enamored with these heroes, and finds any excuse to be near them. I suspect her introduction into the series was to appeal to a young female audience since the main characters are all gruff males. Not only is her personality delightful, but the opportunities for storytelling multiply exponentially with her introduction. When she indoctrinates herself in the team, Hunter must now contend with the idea of being a father figure. It begs the comparison to The Mandalorian, and Mando’s reluctant and eventual acceptance of Grogu. Same with Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the introduction of young Ahsoka Tano as Anakin’s Padawan. Omega offers the same character growth for the Bad Batch. And she has the most adorable Australian/New Zealand accent.
The Bad Batch arrives on Disney+ in a full length, 70-minute episode on Tuesday, May 4th to celebrate the Star Wars pun Day, May The 4th Be With You!. Episode 2 will air Friday, May 7, with each episode thereafter releasing on Fridays.
Join us every Friday at 7:45pm PT for a Zoom chat discussion on the episode of the week! Sign up for our Newsletter for the link.
Which is your favorite Bad Batch clone – Echo, Hunter, Crosshair, Tech or Wrecker? We share our favorites in this podcast episode.
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is executive produced by Dave Filoni (“The Mandalorian,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”), Athena Portillo (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Star Wars Rebels”), Brad Rau (“Star Wars Rebels,” “Star Wars Resistance”) and Jennifer Corbett (“Star Wars Resistance,” “NCIS”) with Carrie Beck (“The Mandalorian,” “Star Wars Rebels”) as co-executive producer and Josh Rimes as producer (“Star Wars Resistance”). Rau is also serving as supervising director with Corbett as head writer.
More Disney+ Content (besides this Bad Batch review)
- Star Warsologies 41: Vanessa Marshall on storytelling and voicing Hera Syndulla
- Star Warsologies 40: “Andor: Making a Rebel, Making a Rebellion” panel from San Diego Comic-Con 2023
- 418: Hal Hickel – Part 2! ILM Animation Supervisor on THE MANDALORIAN S3
- 417: Hal Hickel, ILM Animation Supervisor
- May the 4th Be With You – Event & Merchandise Roundup for 2023!