The Bad Batch is a Star Wars show created by a man featuring a cast of male characters. But behind the scenes, women are calling the shots.
The announcement of The Bad Batch brought with it a few questions about diversity in Star Wars storytelling. Among concerns about race are queries about female characters — particularly, why we’re getting a show featuring a handful of leading male characters. Again.
These concerns stem from a larger frustration among female Star Wars fans who just want more representation in these shows — and rightfully so. The Sabines and Heras and Ahsokas of the universe are great and unforgettable. But we want more.
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To be clear: Just because The Bad Batch is about a bunch of dudes doesn’t mean it will be a bad show. In fact, looking at the production team behind the series, it could end up being one of the best animated shows we’ve gotten in Star Wars thus far.
Alongside Dave Filoni (because of COURSE) are two female executive producers: Athena Portillo and Jennifer Corbett (who will also serve as the show’s head writer!). Carrie Beck will also serve as a co-producer on the show.
All these women have worked in previous roles on other Star Wars shows, which is why they’ve been tasked with building this new one.
Let’s also not forget that one of the people in charge of facilitating Disney+ content is also a woman.
“While The Clone Wars may have come to its conclusion,” Agnes Chu, senior vice president of Content at Disney+, told StarWars.com. “Our partnership with the groundbreaking storytellers and artists at Lucasfilm Animation is only beginning.”
(Pausing to give you a moment to squeal about the fact that animated Star Wars TV has a long and bright future ahead of it.)
Is this the first time you’re hearing the name Agnes Chu? That’s not surprising. She may be largely responsible for choosing the shows and other content that ends up on Disney’s exclusive streaming service, but she’s not someone who regularly participates in big interviews about upcoming content.
And here lies the issue many have tried to address: Women are involved behind-the-scenes in many projects related to Star Wars and otherwise. We just don’t always see them. And that’s what fans want: To feel seen when they see characters (e.g. females) like them on-screen.
We need more diversity in Star Wars storytelling. It’s most obvious to the fans who have yet to see themselves prominently represented in lead roles in these movies and shows. Deep down, shows like The Bad Batch – at least judging by what we know about it so far, which isn’t much – still doesn’t address this diversity issue head-on.
But we can’t address the problem without also acknowledging that women are making important Star Wars-related decisions. BIG decisions. That’s a BIG DEAL.
Coming from someone who understands firsthand why it’s frustrating not to see more women as the central faces of these shows: The key here is – you guessed it – patience. And strategic positive reinforcement.
We need to yell as loudly and excitedly as we can about the things Star Wars is doing right. Yes, we need to address the areas it’s missing the mark. Yes, we need to call attention to the things Star Wars needs to do better.
But we also need to let those in charge know, through praise, where they’re excelling. Small victories are still victories. Look at all the women working alongside Filoni. Learning from him. Showing him all they’re capable of.
This matters. It may not seem like much — and you certainly haven’t seen the results yet (it’s still a work in progress). But it’s a step in the right direction.
Now that the Star Wars film landscape will look a lot different than it ever has before, there’s no doubt TV shows — especially animated shows — will become a regular part of Star Wars programming moving forward. We won’t just have one show going at a time or a few a year – we’ll likely have multiple, or they’ll rotate throughout any given year so that there is always a Star Wars TV show streaming at any given moment.
And that means there’s that much more of a chance for those in charge to create shows with more diverse characters in lead roles. Not just women, but also people of color and others who might feel underrepresented in Star Wars as a whole.
That is, as long as we keep saying “Yes – more of this” to diversity in Star Wars whenever it presents itself.
It’s easy to tap into your anger and disappointment and immediately vent your frustration about what you’re not seeing in Star Wars (yet). And it’s OK to express your feelings in that regard.
But don’t forget to also – if not more so – express what you do like and want more of. Rey was a leading character in the sequel trilogy, the face of the franchise for the last half of the 2010s. Future shows can – and will – follow suit.
Be vocal. Be honest. But be encouraging as well. Women are out there making small changes from behind the scenes – we just don’t always see them. That doesn’t mean we never will – and that those changes won’t impact who we see on-screen sooner rather than later.
Which characters from The Bad Batch are you most excited to see in the new show?