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Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Star Wars: The Bad Batch -- Thoughts on Episode I

 Happy Star Wars Day, everybody!  And what better way to celebrate than with a brand-new Star Wars series dropping on Disney+?  Yes, today we get the 70-minute premiere of the new animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.  

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Key Art

Let me bring you back up to speed.  Introduced in the final season of The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch are a squad of clone troopers who emerged from their cloning chamber defective.  Well, they call them defective, but the truth is, they were gifted with certain enhancements.  I'll have to back and re-watch their Clone Wars episodes, because I can't remember if their enhancements were accidental or intentional.  Anyway, on our squad we've got:

Hunter - The one who looks like Rambo, and the leader of the bunch.  He's got enhanced senses, making him an excellent tracker.

Wrecker - The Hulk of the group.  He's got enhanced strength, and likes to smash things.

Tech - The one who looks like Brains from Thunderbirds.  He's got enhanced intelligence, making him the team's tactician and hacker.  

Crosshair - The one who looks like Clint Eastwood.  He's got enhanced vision and a huge ass sniper rifle, making him the team's sharpshooter.  

And joining them after their appearance on The Clone Wars is Echo, the former colleague of Captain Rex.  He's capture by the separatist droids and violated with cybernetic enhancements so the droids could mine his mind of his knowledge.  Now, on the battlefield, his cybernetic parts make him a formidable fighter.  

Their own series kicks off with their debut episode, Aftermath.  It starts at a very logical place:  about partway through Revenge of the Sith, where we see what the Bad Batch were up to when that very fateful Order 66 was issued.  We then follow the Bad Batch as they try to find their place in the new order...the order of the Empire.  

Don't want to say too much, because I don't want to spoil anything.  First thing I'll say is, if you were a fan of the The Clone Wars, you'll totally dig this.  It really does feel like a continuation of The Clone Wars in its tone and style.  And this is a much better introduction to the series than the The Clone Wars movie was.  

With what we've seen in The Mandalorian, Disney seems to be getting a formula in place for their Star Wars series.  As the episode progresses, we eventually meet a Baby Yoda type that the Bad Batch takes in and eventually becomes guardian/surrogate father to.  It'll be interesting to see how the show progresses and how this character will play into the greater plot.  

This is taking place at a very interesting place in the Star Wars timeline.  While we've seen the years between the prequels and the original trilogy in shows like Rebels and movies like Solo, we've never seen the immediate days after Revenge of the Sith.  Turns out a lot of people were mistrustful of Emperor Palpatine from day one and the seeds of rebellion were planted quite early on.  It's going to be fun to see the Empire's first steps to cement their hold on the galaxy.    

Naturally there's a few cameos from beloved Star Wars characters in order to help place the Bad Batch in the grander mythology.  In fact, it opens with a surprise cameo from a certain character, and it was thrilling to see how the Bad Batch plays into their backstory.  (Their voice doesn't really match with the younger character design, but hey, it was fun to see them back.)  

The first episode of The Bad Batch does everything a great first episode is supposed to do:  introduces our heroes, introduces the big bad for the season, and lays out what our heroes need to do.  And I think we're going to have fun with the Bad Batch.

Episode 1 hits Disney+ today, with Episode 2 this Friday, and new episodes every Friday after that.  

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