This one takes place at a very different time than “The Mandalorian,” which was originally set five years after the end of “Return of the Jedi.” “The Bad Batch” picks up much earlier, after the end of “The Clone Wars”, which places it between the prequel trilogy and the original “Star Wars”. (In fact, Lucasfilm even named those eras – this one is called Reign of the Empire as the forces of evil strengthen as the action of this first film draws near.) The final season of “The Clone” Wars “opened with a four-episode arc that essentially served as a long pilot for” The Bad Batch. ” In these episodes, Filoni featured a group of clone troopers called Clone Force 99 aka The Bad Batch – Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, and Echo, all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. These soldiers have unique powers that separate them from the average Clone Trooper. They are sort of the X-Men of soldiers, with unique powers and, most importantly, more of their own.
This last part matters because “The Bad Batch” opens with the legendary Order 66, when all the soldiers have ignited and murdered the closest Jedi they could find after a hidden programming forced them to do it at the will of Grand Moff Tarkin. While most soldiers learn that they have programmed codes that they must follow, the Bad Batch discovers that they can go their own way. Well, most of them can. Without spoiling anything, the initial action of “The Bad Batch” centers on a rupture in the titular group as to whether or not to heed the instructions of Order 66.
The question of whether or not to follow unfair orders gives a strong dramatic push to the first episode (and is a theme in many SW movies), but the introduction of a Kaminoan kid named Omega (Michelle Ang) works. decidedly less well. Omega ends up befriending the Bad Batch and becomes something of a sidekick. While a new protagonist for kids is clearly a way of trying to engage younger viewers, older ones may regret how much she steals the attention of the Bad Batch. There are also awkward extended action sequences in the premiere – lots of repetitive shoots and noises – that lead to an episode that drags on at times. During its existence, “Clone Wars” was a remarkably fast-paced show, so it’s not great to see “The Bad Batch” slow down and spin its wheels in the first episode, which really could’ve lasted half as long. long time. .