The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series introduced us to a team of genetically altered clones known as the Bad Batch. Led by a fearless clone named Hunter, the Bad Batch, which also included Wrecker, Tech, and Crosshair, were soon joined by Echo, who was discovered to be alive after being assumed dead though his body was severely altered by the Separatists. These characters soon became a fan favorite, so it wasn’t a surprise when a show dedicated to them was announced.
The first season of The Bad Batch premiered in 2021, and it included several watershed moments in Star Wars history. If you haven’t watched it yet, here are a few reasons to check it out.
Picking up where the Clone Wars ended
During the first moments of the series, we see the now all-too-familiar fall of the Jedi to Order 66 from the unique perspective of Clone Force 99 and their leader Hunter in particular. Many Star Wars fans began the show with the knowledge that the clones were designed with inhibitor chips in their brains that partially control their actions, including blind obedience to Palpatine’s order to execute the Jedi.
But an early question raised by the show was whether or not the genetically modified clones that make up the Bad Batch were similarly outfitted with inhibitor chips. Would they also participate in the galaxy-wide purge of the Jedi, and what would that mean for the series as a whole?
Loyalty divided by… inhibitor chips
In fact, the role of the inhibitor chips is an important plot point throughout The Bad Batch’s story, beginning with Hunter and the rest of the Bad Batch witnessing the execution of Jedi Master Depa Billaba by the clones the Bad Batch refer to as “regs.” Billaba’s Padawan, a young Caleb Dume (better known as Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars: Rebels), then runs for his life from the clones, and Hunter runs after him, trying to protect him, not understanding why the regular clones are turning on the Jedi. To make matters worse, Crosshair, a member of the Bad Batch, is simultaneously trying to hunt down Caleb because his inhibitor chip seems to be intact.
So begins a planet-hopping story of adventure and intrigue as the Bad Batch struggle across the galaxy to find a place for themselves in a world governed by an insidious new Empire that has little use for clones. They cope with the betrayal of one of their own even as they add an unlikely new member to their team in the form of a mysterious little girl named Omega.
Allusions to other Star Wars stories and characters
The Bad Batch picks up where The Clone Wars animated series ended, and we even see some fan-favorites return in this series. And like with every new Star Wars property, there’s an entire galaxy and mythology to explore, with allusions to other known stories and characters from the Star Wars canon planted throughout each episode, including the fate of the planet of Kamino.
A startling look at the Empire’s earliest days
Perhaps more than anything, The Bad Batch gives us an unsettling glimpse into the earliest days of the Galactic Empire. The members of the Bad Batch find themselves in a world in which the Clone Wars are over, but the government that replaces it is much worse than anything the galaxy has ever seen. Instead of the freedom promised by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine with the end of the war, oppression begins to overwhelm every planet the Bad Batch travels to. Order comes at the price of control, and the Bad Batch are forced to decide if they are going to be a part of this new way of doing things or join the subtly growing rebellion forming against the Empire.
The Bad Batch is animated Star Wars at its best. Exploring many of the themes that make Star Wars an emotional journey unlike any other, The Bad Batch carefully builds onto many of the concepts developed in The Clone Wars and carries us forward into the timeline between the prequel and original trilogies, all while introducing compelling new characters and concepts into the canon.
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