By Ivan Cazares
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is sure to make for great entertainment for Star Wars fans, but it won’t make fans out of newcomers to the franchise and would spoil major plot points of the prequel trilogy.
The animated series kicked off with a 75-minute episode filled with action, drama and comedic relief which will be a hit or miss depending on the viewer.
“Star Wars” has always been created as a family friendly experience while tackling darker subjects in its subtexts. In many ways “Star Wars” animation has done it better than some of the films.
The series presents a unique story with familiar tropes as the titular squad of clone soldiers has to come to terms with the fact that the republic they serve is now a galactic empire.
The animation style is carried over from ‘The Clone Wars’ which “The Bad Batch” is a direct sequel to.
The aesthetic has always been divisive among fans, but everything from the lighting and fluidity during action scenes has been refined over the years.
The designs are distinctly “Star Wars,” many of which are taken directly from concept art by Ralph Mcquarrie– which he created for the original film.
The clone army is one of the most interesting aspects of the prequel era of “Star Wars.”
They were bred for war from the DNA of an elite warrior and thought of as mere products by their creators.
They were given numbers at birth instead of names and are physically identical, however the ‘The Clone Wars’ gave them all distinct personalities.
They gave each other names, personalized their armor to express individuality, they questioned their purpose and the morality of war which makes their actions in the closing moments of the war drastically more impactful than when it was first presented in “The Revenge of The Sith.”
Presenting an army of identical clones as individuals isn’t easy, but the voice actor Dee Bradely Baker somehow manages to create distinct personalities for all the clones.
Baker is literally a one-man army and badly voiced clones are far and few between.
“The Bad Batch” is made up of four genetically modified clones and a cybernetically enhanced one.
The show also introduces a fifth genetically modified clone which provides a familiar twist to the story. This clone is a child which sets up a similar relationship to one fans just experienced in “The Mandalorian.”
The introduction of a child character in a Disney product isn’t surprising, and the character isn’t without merit.
The setup is intriguing and unique enough to work and set the show apart if the creators follow through with the same energy they started with in the first two episodes.
The show has a lot going for it, because it gets to show the transition from the prequel era to the original trilogy era from the point-of-view of the soldiers which made the transition of power possible.
“The Bad Batch” is written by Jennifer Corbett with Brad Rau as a supervising director and “Clone Wars” creator Dave Filoni as an executive producer.
It’s scheduled for 16 weekly episodes on Disney Plus.