The Bad Batch isn’t the show fans expected. Here’s why it’s the key to future Star Wars TV

Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Image courtesy Lucasfilm, Disney+
Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Image courtesy Lucasfilm, Disney+ /

A show about The Bad Batch isn’t what a lot of Star Wars fans were hoping for. But that doesn’t mean it’s not essential for the future of Star Wars TV.

When Star Wars officially announced its next animated series – set to premiere in 2021 – not everyone was pleased. The Bad Batch, for some, feels too close to what we just finished at the end of The Clone Wars. For others, it’s a show about characters we barely know. They want more stories about characters they already love.

For those who are lucky enough to avoid Star Wars leaks, the announcement of a show about outcast clones seemed to come out of nowhere. But if you really think about it, it’s actually the perfect place to head next if more animated shows are planned for the future.

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So The Bad Batch isn’t what you wanted

You’re not the only one. Star Wars Twitter really wants to know why Lucasfilm is producing a show about characters that appeared in one arc of a seven-season show when there are dozens of other stories they could tell instead.

First – as Star Wars fans, we’re generally pretty bad at managing our expectations when it comes to future projects. Everyone latched onto the Rebels sequel rumors thinking they were true. Just because we’re not getting the show you came to expect – YET – doesn’t mean we never will.

Second – This is a show telling a story unlike anything we’ve seen in canon thus far. The Bad Batch is made up of a group of clones who were created to fight a war that has now ended. They technically serve no purpose. What do they do, now that they’re part of this new Empire? Will they remain loyal to a cause they never signed up for? Will they desert? Fight back? Knowing how most of these shows have gone, it’s not going to be exactly what you’re expecting. That’s a good thing.

Third – Patience. We all want to know where Ahsoka and Sabine are, if they ever find Ezra, what happened to Bo-Katan – you know, all the important things. But just because we’re not getting those stories next year doesn’t mean they’re off the table forever.

In fact, The Bad Batch could be a sign we’re definitely getting more of the stories we’ve been hoping for … eventually.

Paving the way for original Star Wars shows

Technically, Disney+ hasn’t released any original Star Wars animated shows yet. The Clone Wars aired its final season on the streaming service, but that was simply to complete an unfinished story. It brought over fans who were already loyal to a series that originally aired on network television.

It’s very possible that The Bad Batch will also serve as a background test to determine whether or not animated Star Wars content originally created for Disney+ will draw its intended audience exclusively on the service.

They have promising evidence for live-action shows thanks to The Mandalorian. But it wouldn’t be a smart business move to produce and release, for example, a Rebels sequel series if there was no guarantee a large enough audience would show up.

Viewership, especially when it comes to video streaming, is a numbers game. A large number of fans can vocally praise a project, but if the numbers don’t reflect that interest, a show either won’t last or won’t ever happen at all.

In addition to offering a unique story in a time period we haven’t really touched much in canon outside of a novel or two – directly following the end of The Clone Wars – there could be a secondary motive there. And if we’re playing the long game, this is excellent news.

Let Dave Filoni play in his sandbox

Dave Filoni has been at least partially responsible for some of the most beloved storytelling in Star Wars outside the films. He’s not perfect — and no, he doesn’t need to replace Kathleen Kennedy or anyone for that matter. But he’s good at what he does. We know he can succeed in pretty much any show he produces.

Will we get more Rebels-era characters in future shows? It’s possible. It’s also possible that Filoni (a) is already working on some of these things and we won’t hear about them for a few years, and/or (b) needs to use his creative storytelling skills to develop other characters and stories within the Star Wars universe.

You might be content with reading and watching content about the same characters over and over, but Star Wars creators don’t all necessarily want to stick with the same storylines forever. Sometimes they need a break. Sometimes that break leaves them more inspired to return to some old friends later down the road.

One final point: Don’t judge this show when you barely know anything about it. Say what you want about the films, but when it comes to TV shows, Star Wars knows what it’s doing. This series has likely been in the works for a long time. It’s not going to miss its mark.

Wait until you see it before you decide it’s not the story you want.

If it doesn’t end up being what you hoped for after all … that’s fine. You don’t have to love all Star Wars to be a Star Wars fan. But at least you’ll have seen it for yourself, and can form an opinion based on something other than assumed disappointment.

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Are you looking forward to The Bad Batch? What other stories do you hope Star Wars addresses in future Disney+ shows?