Star Wars The Bad Batch Aftermath Breakdown

This post contains spoilers for the first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

The Clone Wars aren’t actually over when Star Wars: The Bad Batch begins. That’s why the logo from Star Wars: The Clone Wars burns off into the logo for The Bad Batch at the start of this series –  it signals that we’re in for something different and worrisome. And given the ‘80s action aesthetic of the series, it’s no surprise.

The state of the galaxy as The Bad Batch begins is one that is about to take its first step into the world of an evil, galactic Empire. Unfortunately for their well-being, the members of the Bad Batch might not be interested in that sort of thing. This is a galaxy in flux like we haven’t seen before. There was a basic glimpse of a post-Order 66 world in Revenge of the Sith and the immediate aftermath has been recounted in small ways in comic books and novels, but this is really the first time it’s being put on the screen.

Our view comes in the form of three different planets with different situations. We’ll take them one at a time and look at the political situation and all of the hidden details you might have missed.

Kaller

The show begins on the planet of Kaller. Kaller was a world that was occupied by the Separatists and the Republic identified it late in the war as a planet that needed liberation. To deal with this, Jedi Master Depa Billaba, her padwan Caleb Dume, and their Clone command are sent.

Some fans might have had their ears perk up at the first mention of the planet, as it first appeared in the comic book Kanan – The Last Padawan, by Greg Weisman and Pepe Larraz. That comic tells the story of Order 66 from the perspective of Caleb Dume, who would grow up to change his name to Kanan Jarrus and feature on Star Wars Rebels. As soon as he arrives on The Bad Batch, his voice unmistakably belongs to Freddie Prinze, Jr. Young Caleb Dume was the padawan chosen by Master Depa Billaba, whose death and last words Kanan recounts on Star Wars Rebels while being interrogated by the Grand Inquisitor. It’s haunting to hear him tell it, it was haunting to read it in the Kanan comic, and it’s even more haunting watching it happen here.

Billaba first appeared in The Phantom Menace as a member of the Jedi Council and suffered some sort of calamity in the canon that left her in a coma for most of the Clone Wars. That story is the now-Legends Shatterpoint, which finds itself creeping closer and closer to the canon. That book is a riff on Apocalypse Now, casting Billaba as Col. Kurtz, lost in the jungle and driven mad by darkness, and her former master Mace Windu as Captain Willard, searching through the war to find her.

This show also gives us our first look at Captain Grey, the clone detached with Depa Billaba and Caleb Dume and who hunted the young padawan down after he was able to escape Kaller. The coloring on his armor has changed a bit, but it’s definitely him, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, just like the rest of the clones on the show. Eventually, he would sacrifice himself to save Dume from Order 66.

As Darth Sidious calls for Order 66, the Bad Batch are detached as reinforcements on Kaller and take down battalions of Separatist droids all by their lonesome. But when the orders to turn on the Jedi come in, they’re just as confused as anyone, implying that they don’t have the inhibitor chips that we first learned about in the sixth season of The Clone Wars. There is one member of the Bad Batch that seems to have a functioning chip, though: Crosshair. And he can be heard repeating a common refrain from clones whose inhibitor programming is activated, “Good clones follow orders.”

Kamino

With the war apparently over, the Bad Batch take their leave of Kaller and head to their home planet of Kamino. Kamino is the origin point of all of the clones. Its first appearance was in Attack of the Clones when the creation of the Clone Army was first revealed.

During the other iterations of Order 66, we didn’t see what happened on this key planet, and we finally get to learn. The show depicts a Jedi carried out on a stretcher and their lightsaber falls to the ground, but we don’t know the identity of that Jedi. Naturally, they would have been killed during the great Jedi purge, but Shaak Ti was the last Jedi we saw on the planet and she was killed on Coruscant.

With the arrival of now-Admiral Tarkin, a major question about the Stormtroopers used by the Empire in the universe is answered explicitly. Though it’s been seen obliquely, we’ve never seen the decision made that transitioned the Empire from using cloned soldiers from Kamino to regular humans in Stormtrooper armor. Tarkin states clearly that drafting a conscript is half the price of a highly trained clone. This is the definitive end for the Jango Fett line of genetic copies and it’s all a matter of economics for the Imperial military.

Beyond that, one of the droids on Kamino might seem familiar to fans of The Clone Wars. The medical droid that works on Echo, AZI-345211896246498721347, is the exact same droid that helped another clone, Fives, discover the secret of the inhibitor chips in the sixth season of The Clone Wars. Clearly, he didn’t get in too much trouble for that fiasco and was able to go about his duties.

When Admiral Tarkin decides he wants to see the Bad Batch in action to determine their future, especially after Crosshair’s report that Hunter was not a good clone who followed orders, he sends them to a training area that might be the same one used by Echo when he was part of Domino Squad in the third season premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. When the Bad Batch handily defeats the automated defenses, Tarkin tells the Kaminoans to increase the difficulty and use lethal rounds.

A group of droids rise up from the floor to battle the Bad Batch, giving them much greater challenge than the automated defenses. These droids look to be early versions of the Dark Troopers we saw in the second season of The Mandalorian. The design of these troopers look like the midway point between the B2 Super-Battle Droids from the Clone War with Stormtrooper-like heads more reminiscent of the classic Dark Troopers of Legends.

Also: pay attention to Wrecker’s Tooka doll painted in Bad Batch colors. We first saw Tooka dolls in the first season of The Clone Wars, owned by the young Twi’lek Numa. She wasn’t the only character in Star Wars to find comfort in a Tooka doll, either. Jyn Erso had two of them in her youth on the planet of Lah’mu and Ben Solo had one in Aftermath: Empire’s End.

Onderon

After their questionable answers to Tarkin, the Bad Batch are deployed on another mission to test their loyalty. He sends them to Onderon to destroy a cell of Separatist holdouts. When the Bad Batch arrives, they find a camp full of women and children and some freedom fighters who were trained by the Jedi (in the fifth season of The Clone Wars) to fight against the Separatist Alliance, led by Saw Gerrera.

On The Bad Batch, Saw is voiced by Andrew Kishino, who also voiced the character in the earlier versions of The Clone Wars. Here, he really did work to try to blend his voice with that of Forest Whitaker’s, who took on the role in both live-action in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and animation in Star Wars Rebels. This fills in another piece of Gerrera’s arc that we hadn’t seen before, from freedom fighter to enemy of the Empire. These are his first steps to the extremism that cost him his legs and his friends and his adoptive daughter.

After Hunter hears Gerrera out and discovers that the situation isn’t as black and white as Tarkin wanted him to react, he orders the Bad Batch to stand down. This opens a rift between Hunter and Crosshair, and it turns out they’ve been spied on the whole time by an Imperial probe droid, much like the ones we’ve seen throughout all of Star Wars media, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Tarkin didn’t trust these clones to make the “right” choice and his suspicions were confirmed.

This is when they decide to head underground and journey in a direction that seems like they’re going to be the Star Wars equivalent of The A-Team during Palpatine’s reign. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Coda

This series premiere really hits the ground running with a deep well of Star Wars lore to draw on. The story might be the most complicated starting point for any of the animated shows, dropping you into a transition between eras with characters connecting both The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. But the creatives do it with aplomb, doing the impossible and showing us something new in Star Wars, especially in an era that has had so much storytelling. The rise of the Empire is something that has been talked about for decades, but this show is actually showing us the first steps of its rise to power. How does Palpatine consolidate power and wield it with precision through scalpels like Tarkin? How does he manage all the pieces he set into motion to purge the Jedi, like the Separatists and the Clone Army, after declaring himself Emperor? How does he bring all of the previously disaffected systems that wanted to split off into his Empire?

These are questions that this series asks through the lens of a group of folks who have the most to lose in this era. How will a group of elite commandos who don’t do well with rules and following orders survive in a galaxy that thrives on strict laws and rules?

It’s a fascinating start to the series and will only expand the world of Star Wars further. We can only hope it offers a clear window into Palpatine’s rise from the points of view of such fun characters.

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