Over on Disney+, Star Wars fans have been treated to the latest offering from Lucasfilm Animation, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
The series is a spinoff of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and picks up exactly where that series left off. In the final season of The Clone Wars, we see what happens as the Republic falls and the Jedi are executed for treason. And in this new series, we see the birth of the Empire — but from the perspective of the genetically mutated clones known as the Bad Batch.
This team, composed of members Hunter, Wrecker, Echo, Tech and Crosshair, don’t necessarily follow in the footsteps of their regular clone brothers who executed Order 66. And thus, we get an exciting narrative about the perils of the new Empire and how the very first Rebels were born.
This series definitely does lend itself to filling in lots of gaps within the Star Wars universe. For example, we’ve rarely seen anything about the early days of the Empire on screen, and this series gives you an up-close look at that. But is this series actually canon?
How the Bad Batch fits into Star Wars’ canon
Yes, The Bad Batch is canon, and it officially fits into the Star Wars narrative that Disney is creating now that it’s acquired Lucasfilm. But, if it weren’t for the fans, that might not have been the case.
The Bad Batch’s older counterpart, The Clone Wars, started in 2008, roughly four years before Disney acquired Lucasfilm. Seasons 1-5 would run on Cartoon Network. But after being bought out, the series was canceled due to Disney wanting to clean house with basically anything that wasn’t the movies (e.g., removing the Expanded Universe series from its canon) as they focused on the post-Episode VI timeline.
Eventually, though, there was such a loud outcry from fans to have the series finished that unreleased episodes had been brought back just a year after season 5 ended.
“It does matter what they say and what they care about,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in an interview about the fans’ response (via cheatsheet.com). “All of those things play a role in our decision-making.”
Netflix soon released season 6 of the series, and Disney+ eventually released season 7 in 2020.
That being said, Disney has now fully embraced The Clone Wars universe as canon and the characters that came with it, including the likes of Ahsoka Tano, and Bo-Katan Kryze (and, of course, Clone Force 99). And the first two characters, we’ve seen come over into the live-action with the series The Mandalorian as well.
So, all in all, Disney is certainly embracing both The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch as canon. And both shows have a plethora of Star Wars lore within them that doesn’t get mentioned in the films — so it’s totally worth watching if you want to expand your knowledge of the Star Wars universe.