It’s May the 4th and that means Star Wars: The Bad Batch has finally arrived on Disney Plus with an impressive 70 minute premiere!
It’s time for some new Star Wars stories, as The Bad Batch has finally arrived on Disney Plus. I had the chance to check out the 70-minute first episode early last week, and now I can tell you all about it!
Fair warning, I’ll be doing this as a hybrid review/breakdown (kind of like I’ve done with The Mandalorian), so there will be plenty of spoilers. If you haven’t watched yet, maybe come back and read this once you have. Now, let’s get to it!
A Movie-Esque Experience
As you’ve likely heard/seen, The Bad Batch‘s first episode, Aftermath, isn’t your average premiere. Coming in at 70-ish minutes, it’s more like a mini-movie to kick off the series…and it’s wonderful.
Truly, the thing that struck me the most while watching, was just how much it felt like watching a movie. It felt akin to those shorter, straight to blu-ray, DC Animation films. Best of all, that’s how it felt like it was designed to be from the start.
Not to knock the old Clone Wars movie, which kicked off that series back in 2008, but the film itself just felt off. It seemed clear that it was a handful of episodes smushed together to make a movie, rather than plotted/paced for the longer run time. That’s not an issue with Bad Batch, and the smoother pacing allows for better character moments that completely hook you in.
I wasn’t huge on the Bad Batch episodes from the final season of The Clone Wars (which aired last year), so I wasn’t sure how much a whole series dedicated to them would appeal to me. In this, the movie introduction does wonders. The extended screen time allows the storytellers the chance to showcase these characters beyond quick quips and action set pieces.
Instead, we get to see quieter moments, where they individual personalities can come through in a more natural way. We’re shown their dynamic, and the ways in which they genuinely care for one another. The result are characters who feel far more endearing/personable than I was expecting.
This helps set the stage as things go real wrong. The show kicks off right at the end of Revenge of the Sith, as Order 66 is executed and the Empire is formed. Similar to how Siege of Mandalore gave us some ROTS moments recreated in animated style, The Bad Batch does the same. It’s small thing, but neat to see. Hell, we get a really cool intro sequence showing how Caleb (Kanan from Star Wars Rebels) survived the Order and escaped.
The Bad Batch‘s point of view in this is critical. You can see how their reactions differ from the rest of the Clone Army (those under control of the inhibitor chip), and it makes Palpatine’s overall plan feel more dastardly.
Then, of course, you get the new character, Omega (Michelle Ang). Introducing anyone new to a show can be difficult to handle. Once again, the extended time works to this benefit. While there are still plenty of questions regarding Omega, she doesn’t feel forced into the story. We can see her interact with the established characters, while slowly incorporating herself into their inner circle.
When the time comes for them all to escape together, the action feels completely natural and understandable. These are things I’m not sure they could have done in a shorter time frame, or even in a couple episodes put together. The format chosen allows for the story to ‘breathe’ and take time to emphasize smaller moments. It truly felt like watching a little movie and I’m hoping we see more of this soon.
Where We Go Next
As expected, the formation of the Empire has put the Bad Batch themselves on the run…minus Crosshair who’s inhibitor chip works well enough to make him an enemy. Now that they’re on the run, there’s a lot of open territory for the story to cover…so where’s it going?
That, unfortunately, is tough to say. Though I think it’s a safe bet Omega, and whatever’s going on with her, is going to be a major factor. From the episode, we learn that she’s another defective clone, though it remains to be seen who she’s a clone of. It’s very clear that the Kaminoans are keen to keep her identity, and overall nature, a secret from the new regime.
Omega is initially introduced as Nala Se’s medical assistant, but that seems like an easy way to keep her close to Nala at all times. Omega’s never been outside the world of Kamino, living her whole life confined to the cloning facility. This itself, brings up more questions.
Has Omega gone through the same growth acceleration as the other clones? Perhaps that would explain why her presence seems sudden and unexpected to the Bad Batch crew. Or is she, like Boba, a mostly unaltered clone, growing at a normal pace? If that’s the case, the origins of her nature become even more curious.
The first episode isn’t giving away the secrets, unfortunately, but I suspect we won’t have to wait until the very end of the season to find out more. That doesn’t mean we can’t speculate wildly!
Nala Se seems specifically intent on keeping Omega out of the Empire’s hands. Going so far as to help her and the Bad Batch escape directly against Tarkin/Imperial orders. There’s also a moment between Nala Se and Lama Su where they specifically mention keeping the information hidden from Palpatine. From the way I read that interaction, it sure feels like Palpatine has no idea about this clone. If that’s the case, why would they be concerned about the Emperor finding out about Omega?
Sure seems like she’s important. Combine this with the hints that Omega might also be Force-sensitive (she seems to know/sense Crosshair has arrived to stop them before the door even opens), and her importance only seems to increase. Could she be an experiment to create clone Jedi or something else entirely.
As you would expect, there are a number of fun “Easter eggs” and references to find in The Bad Batch. Here’s a few of them:
Freddie Prinze, Jr – Yep, the voice of young Kanan/Caleb Dume is indeed Freddie Prinze, Jr himself. It makes sense, but was fun nonetheless to hear him reprise the role.
Prototype Dark Troopers – The Dark Troopers got their moment to shine in The Mandalorian last year, but it sure looks like we get to see their initial prototypes in action. During their ‘testing’ under Tarkin, they’re up against a few of them!
Saw Guerrera – Guess who pops up on Onderon! That’s right, our favorite rebel extremist, Saw Guerrera. Obviously at this point in time he’s much closer to his original Clone Wars appearance, but we can clearly see how he gets on the path to the crusader we see in Rogue One/Star Wars Rebels.
I KNOW there are a number of others that I’m missing (and I really want to know which Jedi died on Kamino), so be sure to let me know what else you find that I missed…
All in all, The Bad Batch is off to a pretty great start and I can’t wait to see where they go next. Technically I’ve seen the second episode, but I can’t tell you much about that one yet. Suffice it to say, the series is off on the right foot.