Star Wars: The Bad Batch — First thoughts

A new Star Wars animation has hit the interwebs on the auspicious May the Fourth, Star Wars Day. And it’s off to an intense start. So, before I say anything else, I just want to say, thank you Dave Filoni.

It was hard to know what to expect with this new show, especially with The Clone Wars getting its final season. A spinoff to the highly loved animated series, The Bad Batch focuses on the exploits of Clone Force 99. With animation and tone mirroring the Clone Wars, the show takes the focus away from the Jedi and instead centres itself on the clones.

Kicking off during the events of Revenge of the Sith, the 70-minute premier hits hard. It offers another perspective post the events of Order 66, when Darth Sidious seizes control of the Galaxy.

The first episode reintroduced Hunter, Crosshair, Tech, Wrecker, and Echo from their appearance in season 7 of The Clone Wars. A group of genetically enhanced clones that are not identical in looks or mentality as the rest of the soldiers. Their varying personalities add a ton of colour to the show.

Hunter is an all-rounder with enhanced senses, making him all covert and tracker like. Tech is the quite literally the tech genius, the brains of the operation. Wrecker is the muscle, big, goofy, and always ready to blow stuff up. Crosshair’s enhanced senses allow him to have superhuman accuracy, making him the sniper of the group. And Echo, the once regular clone, now with cybernetic enhancements, who recently joined the crew.

Dee Bradley Baker returns to Star Wars, voicing all the clones. Yes, all of them. Each with a distinct tone, voice, and style. This man is voice acting genius.

Michelle Ang joins Baker in voicing Omega, the young medical assistant to Nala Se on Kamino.

We get a lovely tie in to Rebels in the start of the show, with young Jedi padawan Caleb Dume, who many will remember as Kanan Jarrus. Voiced once again by Freddie Prinze Jr.

Ian McDiarmid’s voice is used from archival audio for Darth Sidious. Archie Panjabi lends her voice to Jedi Master Depa Bilaba, taking over from Dipika O’Neill Joti.

The show immediately shows the rest of the clones in a new light. The moment the Emperor takes control, their mentality and behaviour changes.

It continues to explore the lore of the Star Wars universe in a way the shows have done far better the last trilogy. Seriously, just give everything to Dave Filoni already. It takes a look at the changing dynamics in the Galaxy as it transitions from Republic to Empire. All this while keeping a tone similar to Clone Wars, without being a copy of the show. I much prefer this style of animation over Rebels which comes next in the canon.

All in all, expect a fun filled, action packed, story that will not only fill in gaps between the various movies. We’ve already been introduced to some familiar characters from the movies and previous animated shows, with more coming soon.

Check it out every Friday on Disney+

Words: Anant Sagar

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