The premiere season of the “Star Wars: Clone Wars” spin-off “The Bad Batch” has had all the ups and downs one would expect from an animated series. There were action-packed episodes that rocked from start to finish, and some that felt like filler until we got to the next story beat. We spent sixteen weeks with Clone Force 99, battling through the galaxy with Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Echo, and adopted sidekick Omega as they worked to blend into a new clone-less Empire. Their adventures and missions worked to procure necessary funds and evade the ever-looming Crosshair, their former teammate turned baddie who worked with the Imperial forces to track them down.
“It’s like poetry; it rhymes.”
While their missions took them all across the galaxy, ultimately our story ended where it began: back on Kamino where they were all created. Given everything they dealt with and overcame during this season, I was still very pleasantly surprised how emotional the two-part finale was to watch! Discussing finales is always difficult to avoid spoilers, but I can say it was tense, stressful, and pulled on the heart strings. Where we will go from here is anyone’s guess, but we certainly have a different trajectory than when we started with the execution of Order 66.
Clones are replaced by TK-soldiers, what SW fans will recognize as a stormtrooper IDs from the original trilogy. We’re also seeing the rise of new Imperial generals and commanders, which will lead us to characters such as Admiral Thrawn, Grand Moth Tarken, and other recognizable baddies. Also, the final scene ties directly into the plot of “Rise of Skywalker”, which was pretty impressive to see a massive plot hole explained!
Fine; I like Omega
Being a show ultimately for children, having an audience proxy in Omega is a given. She was difficult to tolerate early on, as are most children in these types of shows. Did I want to hang out with the Bad Batch and not worry about her storyline? Obviously; I’m a selfish adult. But she grew on me, as did her plight as the only remaining pure clone of Jango Fett. She ultimately fulfilled the role of any forced-upon-the-group sidekick: constantly being told not to do something, only to do it and do it well enough to earn the group’s respect.
Let Dave do everything
My favorite aspect of the series and, for that matter, anything Dave Feloni has been apart of is how well these shows (“Clone Wars”, “Rebels”, “The Mandalorian”) fill in major gaps in SW history. Say what you will about the prequels (They’re mostly terrible; there I said it), George Lucas introduced a lot of great material into SW canon, namely every Jedi we now know, baddies like General Grievous and Count Dooku, and the fact that the clone army came from bounty hunter Jango Fett, ol’ Boba’s dad! It’s the…other stuff that muddies the waters.
What Feloni and company have been able to do is, like a prospector panhandling for gold, sift through the otherwise detritus of those films and bring us incredible stories and characters that, now, live on in perpetuity. We have great new characters, such as my girl Ahsoka Tano, the cast of “Rebels”, and, obviously, our beloved Bad Batch. They have now explained what happened to Kamino and answered why there aren’t more clone troopers out there trooping it up. They have tied the events of the Clone Wars not only to the original trilogy, but to the sequel trilogy as well, despite what a nightmare they ended up being story-wise (even JJ Abrams has admitted they probably should have had a throughline story planned in advance. Oh, ya think, JJ?).
We even know what Gonk droids are for now! Gonk droids have a purpose!
Good for all of us
Star Wars fandom has become difficult terrain in recent years, with toxicity and entitlement front-and-center in far too many aspects of it. The lackluster conclusion of the sequel trilogy with “Rise of Skywalker” inevitably turned a lot of people off to anything new from Star Wars under the Disney umbrella. But Feloni and his peeps keep me coming back. If you’ve enjoyed any of their previous series, you’ll get a kick out of “The Bad Batch”. Can’t wait to see what else we can get!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Snack Packs
Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and writer living in NYC. His web series and podcast SESSION ZERO drops new episodes on Fridays until August 2021. Watch and/or listen, won’t you? www.lincolnlhayes.com.