Star Wars: The Bad Batch exists because Lucasfilm doesn’t know what to do
In the wake of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and The Clone Wars, Disney and Lucasfilm are now throwing everything they can at the wall to see what sticks.
In late 2012, while Season 5 of The Clone Wars was still airing on Cartoon Network, Lucasfilm was in the process of finishing a story arc about a group of clones with their own individual mutations that made them more desirable.
When the time came for the final season to air on Disney+, Dave Filoni thought it would be a good idea to begin the season with “a clone-centric arc” that would reacquaint the audience with the status of the war. Thus, the Bad Batch arc was finished after work on the previous two story arcs were complete, but aired before those two.
May fans without this prior knowledge may have been confused as to why the Bad Batch are never referenced for the rest of the season, or why their ultimate fate after Order 66 is never elaborated upon.
Thus, taking the success of the final season of The Clone Wars into account, it would seem that Lucasfilm is taking the next step in the hopes that this may be a safe bet: an entire series predicated on a sort of “what happened to them?” question fans may have had in the last few months. Thus, we now have “Star Wars: The Bad Batch.”
The show will likely fall into a trap that’s become common in Star Wars
Unlike The Clone Wars (an anthology that focused on whoever and whatever it wanted to throughout it’s run) or The Mandalorian (a series that takes place on the outskirts of the galaxy in a relatively unexplored time period in canon), this series is essentially founded upon a gimmick. It’s extremely limited in scope, and will likely fall for the trap that Rebels Season 2 also fell for: a term that I like to call “continuity plot tumor.”
My prediction is this: the first season or so will be great, providing us with another sweeping sense of worldbuilding on what the galaxy is like during (and shortly after) Revenge of the Sith. We’ll see how the public views the massive social and political upheaval that comes in the wake of Order 66, and the Bad Batch’s members will gradually become developed from one-note archetypes into actual, three-dimensional characters.
Eventually one of the writers will start to think: hey, wouldn’t it be great to add in another pre-established character into the mix? We’ll get Ahsoka, or Rex, or even Darth Vader for some reason.
This isn’t an inherently bad idea in the first place, but it becomes a “continuity plot tumor” when these elements start to overshadow the actual main premise.
You see, the whole “misfit group of clones try to survive following the Clone Wars” would be a good idea … but only for a season or so, before it wears thin. I can’t imagine the writers and producers resisting the urge to suddenly swap out the premise of the show, and gradually turn the actual Bad Batch into supporting characters as the focus becomes characters and plot elements more prevalent in previous stories.
Remember when Rebels Season 1 started out as a ragtag group of, well, rebels, in an original setting? And then Season 2 prominently featured Ahsoka, Rex, Darth Vader and even Hondo Ohnaka? I may be in the minority here, but I’m sincerely not a fan of that sort of thing. But for better of worse, that’s probably what’ll happen.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is expected to release 2021 on Disney+.