Star Wars: The Bad Batch debuts on May the 4th and is a terrific companion piece to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The seventy-minute debut is not a direct sequel (nor should it be), but organically follows the exploits of Clone Force 99, known as the Bad Batch, whom we first met in the first four episodes of season seven of The Clone Wars. The animation is gorgeous and is a testament to the groundbreaking work that Dave Filoni (Executive Producer), Athena Portillo (Executive Producer), Brad Rau (Executive Producer, Supervising Director), and Jennifer Corbett (Executive Producer, Head Writer) have done on the series. At the time of this writing, the length of the series is unknown, but based on what is present in the debut episode, “Aftermath”, audiences should be in for a thrilling ride.
The Bad Batch is the result of Kaminoan experiments to create a specialist unit of clone commandos and is made up of Hunter (the crew leader: strong, stoic, and with keen senses that allow him to track his targets); Echo (former ARC Trooper with knowledge of military tactics and strategy to go along with a socket-arm and cybernetic implants; Tech (Computer and weapons specialist, who also happens to be the most talkative of the group and can process technical issues faster than most droids); Wrecker (By far the strongest of the group and likes to smash things, but also has a big heart); and Crosshair (Sharp vision and highly superior marksman with a significant ego to match). The five are vastly superior to most opponents, and even though they bicker and disagree, are really like an unlikely family.
During a virtual press conference I attended, I asked the Head Writer, Jennifer Corbett about how her experiences in the U.S. Navy helped her writing process and vision for The Bad Batch. She talked about that family dynamic, and how it is partially shaped by their environment.
“I understand how people in the military become like brothers and sisters very [quickly] when you’re sent on missions together when you’re in close quarters, the camaraderie (and also the banter) that comes with living with people in high-stress situations. So, I think that’s what I try to bring to it, is how this squad, even though they are these elite soldiers, they are this family. But they don’t have to agree all the time, and [on] all the different perspectives that each of them brings because they’re all so very different.”
This is where the show shines; the humanity in the characters is a tried and true trope in Star Wars. It is particularly well done here, as is the pacing and formation of the substantial conflict the Bad Batch is set up for in the debut. This, along with the camaraderie Corbett mentioned and the animation, is going to continue the Disney+ tradition of having us racing towards the streaming-service every time a new episode debuts.
“Aftermath” feels like a natural progression of the magnificent seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. While I will certainly not spoil anything, I will say the first fifteen minutes are by far my favorite of the entire episode. In some ways, even though the rest of “Aftermath” is exciting, it pales by comparison to the emotional weight and heft of what transpires in the beginning. This is not a criticism though; the beginning is just that good.
Be sure to let me know what you think about “Aftermath” in the comments below or on social media, and don’t forget to get your list ready for Facebook LIVE on Monday night at 8:00 pm CST of your top five favorite moments from the premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch!
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