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REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Is A Solid Follow-Up To Clone Wars

The animation side of the Star Wars galaxy has featured some of the best moments in the franchise’s entire history, with the beloved Clone Wars and Rebels series being the hallmarks of it. As Star Wars television shows become more prominent on Disney Plus, animation will continue to be a driving force in a galaxy far, far away. The Bad Batch is the latest entry in the Disney era of Star Wars, and it’s giving us a true bridge from the prequels to the original trilogy.

The prequels were incredibly ambitious, with so many moving parts of the story put aside. One of the benefits of The Clone Wars series is that it gave George Lucas more time to flesh out parts of the prequels that went underdeveloped. The clones certainly make that list, with the animated series giving us an in-depth look at life on Kamino and on the battlefield from the perspective of the Grand Army of the Republic soldiers.

Clones like Rex, Fives, Cody, Echo and so many others became fan-favorites because they were allowed to become unique three-dimensional characters. During the final season of The Clone Wars, we got introduced to Clone Force 99, also known as The Bad Batch. Lucasfilm further explores their story as the Republic transforms into the first Galatic Empire under the newly-appointed-Emperor’s thumb.

In Revenge of the Sith, we only got a glimpse of the Empire in its infant days with the story of why the Clones phased out for incompetent Stormtroopers cast aside and only referenced on a surface level in ancillary material. Given our attachment to the soldiers thanks to The Clone Wars series, we now deserve a more in-depth look at what happened to them once the Empire took over because it remains a huge gap in Star Wars history at the moment. It appears The Bad Batch is doing this through a Ninja Turtle-esque team of outsiders.

The Bad Batch premiere runs at a cinematic 70-minutes with the same stunning animation presented in the final season of Clone Wars. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Bad Batch team when we first met them in The Clone Wars, but like so many things in Star Wars, the team already grew on me with the first episode. A lot of that can be attributed to Dee Bradley Baker’s wonderful work as the sole voice actor on the clone team (Hunter, Crosshair, Wrecker, Tech, and Echo).

It’s immediately clear in the series that the members of Clone Force 99 are outsiders among the other clones, who are now mindless as imperials. This makes them the perfect characters to take us through the hijacking of their kind after the Empire’s takeover. After the premiere episode, I’m excited to see where this team ends up and what role they will play in the grand scheme of things.

The premiere also introduces audiences to a brand-new character named Omega. The character came out of the blue in the most recent trailer for the series, and she will play a vital role throughout, with a cloud of mystery surrounding her. Omega brings innocence to a series following rugged soldiers, and it gives younger audiences someone to latch on to. However, I am concerned her story may be too similar to what we have gotten in The Mandalorian, but only time will tell.

Episode one also brings in several notable Star Wars characters that add a nuanced perspective of the Dark Times. We also get a fun appearance that will be exciting for many fans to see, even if it retcons what’s been explored in the canon material — to me, the chance was worth it. The Bad Bach premiere truly feels like an event with the cast of characters it brings in and does a good job setting up the conflict the clones will have to face in future episodes.

Overall thoughts:  A lot of Star Wars content is on the way, with most of it landing on Disney Plus. While the other series might be a way off, it’s unclear, based on the premiere episode, if The Bad Batch will become a fan-favorite like The Clone Wars and Rebels once more Star Wars content hits the steamer. However, the series does operate in an era we haven’t explored often in Star Wars, even though so many Disney projects have taken place between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope to date. On one hand, The Bad Batch could slip through the cracks like Resistance, but on the other hand, it does set up a Star Wars story that deserves to be told: what happened to the clones after Order 66. The new series is also following up what I consider to be some of the greatest Star Wars we’ve ever gotten with the Siege of Mandalore, and the bar with animation is incredibly high. Nonetheless, a major positive is the excellent animation style that continues to make it clear that it’s a medium Star Wars should keep exploring for years to come. If you are a Star Wars fan who wants to get an in-depth history lesson, then The Bad Batch will keep you hooked and is a nice way to celebrate May the 4th.

Rating: 7.5/10

New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch debut on Disney Plus every Friday. Keep it locked to Heroic Hollywood for all the latest news on the future of the Star Wars franchise, and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more original video content!

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