The Bad Batch Series Premiere Delivers Another Clone Wars Sequel That Expands The Star Wars Universe
The first clip fans saw of The Clone Wars season 7 featured the Bad Batch, a long-anticipated arc of stories cut short when the series ended its Cartoon Network run. For a time, Clone Force 99 existed only as an animatic shared with fans who wanted more. When they announced that the Clone Wars would return, the arc about these “defective” clones was the first in the series. As a big fan of Ahsoka and all things Jedi, I was the least interested in their story, especially because a version of it already was told via the animatic. However, the series premiere of The Bad Batch has my Force-loving heart squarely in its hands. In fact, like The Mandalorian, that the Force isn’t front-and-center here allows for a different perspective on this rich universe.
The last great Star Wars animated series, Star Wars: Rebels, was something of a sequel to The Clone Wars. Characters from that show returned in various ways, including a great episode in which the heroes found a platoon of Battle Droids still active and unaware the war ended. Yes, it told its own story, but its connection to that first Star Wars animated series enriched the overall experience. The Bad Batch feels like that kind of show as well, because the series premiere actually takes place during the end of the Clone War. Don’t worry, this is a “no spoilers” review, so I am not going to go into detail. It’s not a spoiler to say that this series is a sequel to The Clone Wars simply because it A) follows a band of clones and B) takes place immediately after the war ends.
Why The Bad Batch Series Premiere Signals Another Great Star Wars Story
Image via Disney+
So, while I am not going to get into spoiler territory for the series premiere of The Bad Batch, I do want to talk about what this show might be about. One of the greatest things that The Clone Wars did for prequel-era storytelling was humanize the clones. The first episode of the series (not counting the feature film of the same name that introduced Ahsoka and Stinky the Hutt) featured none other than Yoda discussing how the clones are “individuals in the Force.” As another show that follows a group of clones, The Bad Batch uses the series premiere to drive home the idea that this show is about the personhood of the clones.
The clones are living beings, but they were grown rather than born. Yet “programming” exists hidden deep in their DNA. They are people, but they are also property. While the Empire may be new to the galaxy, the clones have been living with their kind of autocracy all their lives. When there was a war to fight, they didn’t have much time to think about that. However, now that the war is over, the fate of the clones in general is a question this show seems poised to examine.
It’s also a great opportunity to continue to do what they’ve done in The Mandalorian with the fall of the Empire. The Clone Wars is an excellent allegory to the US’s modern and ongoing wars. It feels, at least in the series premiere, like The Bad Batch is going to examine what happens to a lot of soldiers when they can’t put the war behind them.
The Bad Batch series premiere hits Disney+ today, May 4, 2021 with new episodes following on Fridays.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on the series premiere of The Bad Batch and watch this space for a more spoilery review and some madcap theories about what’s going to happen in the show.
Featured image via Disney+
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.