Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Directed by: Steward Lee, Saul Ruiz & Nathaniel Villanueva
Written by: Jennifer Corbett & Dave Filoni,
Starring: Dee Bradley Baker, Archie Panjabi, Michelle Ang, Ben Diskin, Matthew Wood, Freddie Prinz Jr, Ian McDiarmid, Bob Bergen, Gwendoline Yeo, Tom Kane, Bonnie Wild, Andrew Kishino & Stephen Stanton
‘The Clone Wars’ ran for a glorious 7 seasons and did a lot to expand the world of Star Wars all between the span of Episodes II & III. During those 7 seasons, we were introduced to an amazing array of beloved & fascinating characters from Ahsoka Tano to Asajj Ventress and from Savage Oppress to Hondo Ohnaka. But one group of characters that certainly left a lasting impression were Clone Force 99 (aka: The Bad Batch). This group of clones was each designed with a genetic mutation making each of them enhanced in unique way. The leader, Hunter, has extraordinary senses. Crosshair is the marksman of the team while Wrecker has increased musculature and size. Rounding out the group is Tech who has enhanced intelligence. During a mission to Skako Minor during The Clone Wars, they rescued a captured clone named Echo who became the 5th member of the team. This bunch isn’t known for following orders, but they boast a 100% success rate on their missions due to their, often times, unorthodox methods.
In the first episode entitled ‘Aftermath’, we pick up the team as they help provide backup to a clone army under the command of Jedi Master Depa Billaba. They manage to rescue her squad from an incoming droid assault just as word comes down that General Obi-Wan Kenobi has defeated General Grievous bringing an end to The Clone Wars. However, they are also on-hand to witness Order 66 being enacted by now Emperor Palpatine and they watch in shock as the regular clones gun down their former Jedi leader. Hunter makes an attempt to save her padawan, Caleb Dume, under the guise of catching him, but fellow Bad Batch member Crosshair attempts to kill the young Jedi apprentice understanding that an order must be followed.
The reason that Clone Force 99 wasn’t affected by Order 66 is due to their genetic modifications that keep their inhibitor chip from reacting in the same way that a regular clone’s chip would. Upon returning to Kamino, they find that Admiral Tarkin is there to see whether or not the clones are worth keeping now that the war against The Separatists has been won. As a test, Tarkin orders Clone Force 99 to go to the Onderon sector to eliminate a group of insurgents made up of Separatist forces. Upon arriving, they find Saw Gerrera and a group of civilians who want no part of the new Galactic Empire. The fact that Hunter lets them go not only causes more friction between him and Crosshair, but also forces Admiral Tarkin to declare them traitors after witnessing the entire display courtesy of an Imperial Probe Droid he dispatched to spy on them. They manage to break free of their prison and rescue Omega, a child they befriended on Kamino earlier. Now, on the run, The Bad Batch must find a way to survive in a galaxy that has completely changed and in which they are now wanted men.
The second episode is called ‘Cut and Run’ and follows the group as they attempt to get off the grid and out of the way of The Empire. It is shorter and, presumably, the standard length most of the episodes will be after the 1st episode came in at just about 1 hour and change. Overall, this is a great continuation of the Star Wars franchise with an interesting group. It’s fun seeing the Star Wars story play out from different perspectives and viewpoints other than the ones we’re accustomed to seeing in the main films. Dee Bradley Baker works his voice magic once again as the members of the regular clone army, but also giving each of the modified members of Clone Force 99 their own unique sound. The voice talent that Star Wars is able to get never ceases to amaze and impress me. Andrew Kishino makes me believe that it’s actually Forest Whitaker providing the voice to Saw Gerrera and the fact that Ian McDiarmid continues to voice Palpatine always makes me smile. The show is helmed by Dave Filoni, the man who helped bring us the original ‘The Clone Wars’ and who works with Jon Favreau to bring us ‘The Mandalorian’, so this show’s pedigree is unmistakably top notch.
If you’re a fan of ‘Star Wars’ in general and of ‘The Clone Wars’ series in particular, then you’re sure to enjoy this series that will help bridge the gap between ‘The Clone Wars’ and ‘Rebels’ as we see more Star Wars lore spun by people who know exactly how to do it. On a scale of 1 - 10, I give the first episode a solid 9 and the second episode a 7. Check it out beginning May 4th of this year on Disney + and may The Force be with you!!