After the monster success of The Mandalorian, Disney+, and Lucasfilm have a huge slate of Star Wars shows for the streaming service. The first new one has now arrived on Star Wars Day: May the 4th, with The Bad Bunch.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is a spinoff series from The Clone Wars, featuring characters from the last season of that series. It is also the story of a previously untold period in Star Wars history — the moment that the Empire executed Order 66.
That was the Clone Troopers execution of all Jedi Warriors.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch has the Clone Troopers working hand-in-hand with the Jedi Warriors in their battle against the Separatists Battle Droid Army.
The first episode started during the end of that war. The Battle Droids had the Clone Troopers pinned back, and young Jedi warrior Caleb Dume raced to get help. All he found was Clone Force 99.
That was all he needed, as they mowed down all the Battle Droids and won the battle. That was the end of the alliance between the Clone Troopers and the Jedi Warriors.
Palpatine executed Order 66, which triggered an order in all the clones to attack and kill the Jedi Warriors, considering them the new Separatists. There was one problem — this order did not affect Clone Force 99.
Once they were back on their station, Grand Admiral Tarkin arrived and decided if it was time to decommission the Clone Army and have a new form of Troopers created. When he saw Clone Force 99, he sent them out to execute a group of Separatists to test their loyalty.
They failed this test, and he ordered their destruction, using one of their own members to betray them.
Thus begins Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1.
As with The Clone Wars, Star Wars: The Bad Batch is an animated series. As such, it might not pick up the widespread fanbase of The Mandalorian.
However, it deserves it.
The story is powerful, and the characters are all great. The only exception right now is the young girl that the Bad Batch has taken to protect. A little kid who talks a lot is not an equal representation of a Baby Yoda.
The voice cast is great, and the animation is top-notch, on a par with that of Clone Wars.
There is also a lot to discover in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. It only touched the beginning of Order 66 in the movies, and it will play out here. The switchover from the Clone Troopers to recruits also happened after the Clone Wars, and that looks like it will cause a tragedy here as well.
However, the most exciting thing is the Bad Batch, who appear to be an impressive addition to the Star Wars Universe, developing in a much larger role than their first appearance in Clone Wars.
The cast of characters, led by the Bad Batch itself (Hunter, the field leader, Wrecker, the strongman, Echo, the damaged one, Tech, the smart one, and Crosshair, the sniper), is great and should carry this show to great heights.
These characters are less than perfect, all damaged and malfunctioning clones, but that makes them easily the most powerful basic clones of the entire Star Wars universe. If this premiere does anything, it shows how they can beat all odds by operating outside the lines.
This is also what appears to be a redemption story, as these clones have the surviving Jedi Warriors and the newly developing rebellion distrusting them, and they have started here doing anything they can to earn that trust back.
As mentioned, there is the trope of a young precocious child, but this child has a purpose. We just have to hope that Lucasfilm doesn’t get too cute with the kid, because that could drag the showdown.
Add in lots of cameos, including Saw Gerrera, who appeared in this episode, the evil Moff Tarkin, and Fennec Shand coming soon, and there is a lot here to love for Star Wars fans, both those who love the movies and the TV shows.
The first episode is a little long, clocking in at 70 minutes, but the rest of the episodes will be shorter, tighter, and hopefully just as exciting as this premiere.
On a side note, for those unversed in the Clone Wars series, don’t worry. There is little to miss when watching this, as it set itself up as a standalone series and filled in any gaps for fans in a voice-over opening. You won’t feel lost if this is your starting point.
The premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch aired on Tuesday, May 4, but subsequent episodes will hit Disney+ on Fridays, with episode 2 arriving on May 7. There will be 16 episodes in Season 1.