By: Christopher Connor
Star Wars animation series have always helped widen an already-large fictional galaxy, with shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the sequel series Star Wars Rebels significantly expanding the lore of the franchise and filling in backstory the films don’t always have space for.
Clone trooper-based Disney Plus series The Bad Batch, the most recent animated foray into the universe, is no exception – and its recently-concluded first series offers some intriguing glimpses at the future of the Star Wars universe, exploring the immediate aftermath of both Revenge Of The Sith and Clone Wars, beginning with Order 66 and the decimation of the Jedi Order. During the first series the setting explored the Empire exerting its influence on the galaxy as the first seeds of rebellion begin to take shape, and could indicate a new interest in a fascinating period of Star Wars history.
The primary focus of The Bad Batch is on the titular squad, a group of elite Clones who have genetic mutations that set them apart from their counterparts. The squad includes Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, and Echo with the squad taking Omega under their wing, a young clone raised entirely on the clone home-world of Kamino and as a result, keen on exploring the numerous worlds the crew interacts with throughout the series.
The Bad Batch may have initially appeared to be quite a self-contained entity, with its focus on supporting characters from The Clone Wars’ final series – and while this is true to an extent, the series connects to many wider aspects of the franchise. This includes appearances from characters like Star Wars Rebels’ Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his eventual wife Hera Syndulla, two of Rebels’ main protagonists who we now meet in their formative years, worlds away from the characters they will end up being and with new depth of backstory.
And going forward, we can probably expect to further encounter familiar faces from Rebels and Clone Wars in future series as our heroes look to keep off The Empire’s radar and the Rebellion becomes a more organised entity (and of course, this will be a focus of the upcoming live-action Andor series starring Diego Luna).
In addition to Hera and Kanan, the first series offers glimpses at many other familiar faces with a brief appearance from Saw Gerrera (who would become a leader of a rogue Rebellion group as depicted in Rebels and Rogue One). As with Kanan and Hera, it’s intriguing to see Saw at the start of his decades-long feud with the Empire, and we can perhaps expect the Batch and Saw’s paths to cross further. We also encounter Clone Troopers Rex and Gregor, who both play major parts in Clone Wars and Rebels, and this series goes some way to filling in the two-decade gap between their appearances in the two series.
Also joining the dots between Star Wars spin-off series? Deadly bounty hunter Fennec Shand, who pursues the squad with Ming-Na Wen reprising her role from The Mandalorian in a story set years earlier. And with her character due to play a major part in the upcoming Book Of Boba Fett, perhaps we could expect the Bad Batch to link to that series in some capacity going forward as well.
Still, perhaps the most intriguing glimpse at the future of the franchise is in the final moments of the first series, with Kamino scientist Nala Se (the alien behind the creation of the clone army) being transported to an Imperial facility with a seemingly important task for the Empire. With the series touching on the phasing out of Clone Troopers in favour of recruited Stormtroopers, it should be fascinating to see how she factors into the Empire’s plans and whether this might tie into the development of Imperial technology as seen in Rebels and the original Star Wars films (as well as The Mandalorian).
And with upcoming Disney Plus series like Andor and Kenobi also filling in the 20-year time gap between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope, there’s certainly potential for the strands of this series to intersect with the other series. The appearances from familiar characters help expand their respective backstories and offer a glimpse at the universe responding to Imperial rule.
Overall The Bad Batch, far from being a throwaway series is proving an important series for the future of the Star Wars universe, exploring a time-period that has not been touched on in previous series and showing just how deep and far the new continuity of this universe can go. Already, that far away galaxy is feeling bigger.
The Bad Batch season one is now streaming on Disney Plus. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 a year now. Want more? Check out our dedicated Sci-fi page or our full TV Guide.