'Star Wars: The Bad Batch' Actor Dee Bradley Baker On Order 66 And What It's Like To Voice Every Lead Character On A Show [Interview]

Actor Dee Bradley Baker has been the voice of the entire Clone Army in the Star Wars universe for a long time. He's been all of your favorites: Captain Rex, Commander Cody, Echo, Hevy, Fives, 99, and more. He's also been all of your least-favorite clones. But he was always there, filling out a galaxy that saw the spotlight being shared by numerous lead characters. Occasionally on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he would be the center of the episode. "Rookies." "Arc Troopers." The Umbara Arc.

But now, with Star Wars: The Bad Batch, a group of misfit clones all voiced by Baker take center stage and the veteran voice actor is truly the lead of his own show. As the star of the show, he has the entire galaxy to hold up on the shoulders of his voice.

/Film was able to talk with Baker about the differences between The Clone Wars and The Bad Batch, and what it was like voicing Order 66 from yet another point of view.

This interview has been edited for clarity and content. The first question comes from a group press conference; the rest are from a one-on-one interview.

We met the Bad Batch in the final season of The Clone Wars, but you can you introduce us to them again for those who might have forgotten?

All right. Of the team, you've got Hunter who's the leader of the pack. He's got tracking skills and this heightened sense that helps him, uh, gauge the terrain. And then you've got Tech, who is very technically oriented. He always has a handheld device that he's working on and is super cool, super calm, and competent with all things technical. Then you've got Wrecker who, to no surprise, is the muscle of the group. He's got incredible strength.  Then you've got Crosshair. Crosshair is the sharpshooter of the group. He's kind of a contrarian and quite interesting in the dynamic. And then you've also got Echo, who is a modified clone, an android clone from The Clone Wars episodes who was brought on board with the Batch.  And that's the gang. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. I have great affection for all of them. They're all very interesting fellows, but Wrecker's probably the furthest away from me and he's great fun.

You're doing all the voices of the clones in The Bad Batch, but you're also revisiting some old clones. All the clones had a different sound. Do you have to go back and revisit those episodes or do you just jump right into it? 

No, I do take a look back in terms of where we left that clone and what that clone was doing, where he stood in terms of his status and his age and everything else, and I do wanna circle back and try to hit that as closely as I can with any new clones, rather old clones that show up again.

As we talked for The Clone Wars or Rebels over the years, there's this energy in the room with all the other actors in there, and it seems like, for the most part, you're propping the show up by yourself. How does the room change with it just being you versus a room like the others? 

It's a different kind of a show to do what's often a one-man show in contrast to an ensemble show. It's a different project. I have to say, I miss the cast and I like an ensemble read, and yet [I love] the challenge of doing not only just one episode [here and there] that's just mostly me talking, but most episodes is me talking to myself. But [it's] really not talking to myself, I don't think of that as such. I feel like the Bad Batch are other people that I don't know if I inhabit or I make them alive, or I jump into them, or I possess them, or they possess me, but they don't feel like they're me. It feels like I'm somebody else in rapid succession back and forth, so it's a kind of an ensemble but it's this weird psychological padded room sort of situation.

You've done Order 66 twice recently. I'm wondering if you can talk about the differences in the approach for dealing with that with Rex and Ahsoka versus the Bad Batch experiencing it, from your perspective.

That's an interesting question. This really fraught, dramatic, horrific moment is dealt with directly at the end of The Clone Wars and at the beginning of the Bad Batch, and so here you have people that like Rex and Ahsoka they have a privileged position in this, and yet they are made outsiders and then have to grapple with what the heck is going on as they piece this together... And the Bad Batch, they're even further isolated from the central understanding of what's going on. They're used to having weird stuff thrown at them and just jumping into it and solving it, that's kind of what they do, but this is an order of magnitude that's so far beyond anything they've done.

And that's part of what's really so great and interesting about the start of this series, is to pick this moment and then this team of improvisational outsiders, and to see how they process and how they deal with all of these rapid changes. You watch these rapid changes happening, you can see it. You can see this transformation happening, which, if you're a fan of Star Wars, you can say, "Oh, I can see... Oh, I can see it happen. Oh, look at that." And it's very exciting to see.


The first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch arrives on Disney+ on May 4, 2021.