The Bad Batch S1: A Solid Start to a New Star Wars Series (Spoiler-Free)
Note: The following is a Spoiler-Free article.
Following three animated series (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Resistance, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars), comes the first animated Star Wars series to debut on Disney+: Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
The Bad Batch is a spin-off of The Clone Wars, centering on Clone Force 99 (a.k.a. the “Bad Batch”) that were introduced in The Clone Wars’ final season.
Those interested in checking out The Bad Batch who have never watched or never finished watching The Clone Wars may feel discouraged from starting the series, but they shouldn’t have to worry as The Bad Batch starts from a fairly clean slate focusing on a new cast of characters.
Clone Force 99, the titular “Bad Batch”, is composed of a group of elite clone troopers with genetic mutations, each having a particular skillset and personality that distinguishes them from the other clones the Bad Batch refers to as “regs”.
“Hunter”, the leader of the group, sports a Rambo-like hairstyle and has heightened senses.
“Wrecker” is the muscle and the brawn, the loud giant with a good heart.
“Tech” serves as the brains in Clone Force 99, his knowledge and cleverness proving useful in getting the team out of difficult situations.
“Crosshair” is the cynical and edgy sharpshooter.
“Echo” is the only member of the Bad Batch to not have a genetic mutation, however, the show never brings attention to this or uses it to distinguish him from the rest of the team. Additionally, Echo is never grouped with or associated with the “regs”.
The story of The Bad Batch begins when Order 66 is executed, with the clone armies turning on the Jedi and ushering in the new Empire as the Republic falls. The Bad Batch are able to disobey the order as their mutations allow them to sidestep the commands from their inhibitor chips that are present in every clone. In Echo’s case, while Echo does not have a genetic mutation that allows him to disobey Order 66, his inhibitor chip was damaged during the events of The Clone Wars.
Crosshair becomes the lone member of the squad to obey Order 66 and join the Empire. Without Crosshair, Clone Force 99 becomes a team of four members until they meet Omega, a female clone that joins the Bad Batch.
Disney seems to love exploring the post-Episode 3 and pre-Episode 4 era, with two films, Solo and Rogue One, a four-season spanning animated series, Star Wars Rebels, and a modern triple-A video-game in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, set during this time period.
The Bad Batch becomes another piece of Star Wars content bridging Revenge of the Sith with A New Hope. The focus is on Hunter, Wrecker, Echo, Tech, and Omega’s adventures as they escape the Empire and navigate a new world.
Star Wars fans looking to explore and learn more about this time period will find lots to love in The Bad Batch. Prequel-era fans who are interested in the Clones, and the fall of the Republic and rise of the Empire owe it to themselves to check out the series. Without going into spoilers, The Bad Batch features some new insights never seen before in Star Wars canon, as clone troopers begin to make way for Imperial stormtroopers.
However, the real heart of the show revolves around it’s emotional core, focusing on the camaraderie present in the Bad Batch. While Omega may not be a soldier, she is an official member of the team and a member of the Bad Batch family. Hunter, Tech, Echo, and Wrecker, are her brothers, and she is their sister.
Everything here works and is done very well.
Season 1 has proven The Bad Batch to be a very character-driven series, and unlike The Clone Wars and more like Star Wars Rebels, the series focuses on a single group of characters rather than bouncing around different characters and story arcs across the galaxy.
Dave Filoni is credited as the creator of The Bad Batch series but the original idea of the Bad Batch came from Star Wars creator George Lucas himself. The Bad Batch marks one of the last pieces of new Star Wars content to be directly tied to Lucas. It did not disappoint and has left the door open for many more adventures, character development, and a further in-depth exploration of the galaxy taking place immediately after Episode 3 (Revenge of the Sith).
There is lots for fans to be excited about and look forward to.