Disney Plus is going crazy with releasing all kinds of new Star Wars shows, comics, and more to fans happy for the storytelling diversity. While everyone loves the occasional tie into the rest of the Skywalker Saga, it is always refreshing to go deeper into the expansive galaxy that we so often do not get to hear about.
That was the goal with the latest animated series called The Bad Batch, available now on Disney Plus for streaming. This takes place directly after the close of Revenge of the Sith and explores how the Empire was able to rise into greater power based on a group of “genetically mutated” clones that never really felt accepted by the rest of Order 66.
This is like the Hunger Games meets The Breakfast Club, where you get character-rich interactions with the threat of imminent death due to inhibitor chips implanted into the brains of the mutated clones. Meaning no matter where they go, there is a big target for many to see.
What we like about The Bad Batch is how they feel like Japanese ronin. Those are the masterless samurai from ancient tales that had all the skills of being bad asses, but no where to call home. Think of this series as a close sequel to The Clone Wars. The Clone Force 99 (the bad batch members) are smack in the middle of Palpatine declaring himself emperor and Admiral Tarkin wanting to replace the clones with a new Imperial army.
Essentially that leaves the characters in this series without a place as they try to find purpose in a lost and heavily conflicted galaxy.
What to Stream First
If you’re curious about what background info you need before binging The Bad Batch, don’t worry, it isn’t much. The required reading for this class assignment has to be Revenge of the Sith. We strongly encourage you to go through all the prequels (yes, even Jar Jar) as that will give you greater context, but if you are not a Star Wars aficionado, then Episode III will do the trick.
The critical factor that everyone can agree upon is how The Bad Batch refuses to partake in the Jedi extermination. Instead of turning on their commanders and fellow fighters as part of Order 66, these clones choose to act outside of Empire control.
Who Actually are the Bad Batch?
The Bad Batch refers to a group of mutated clones who refuse to kill Jedi as ordered. They are a special forces squad within the Republic Army, and every one of them has storytelling quirks that make them relatable to viewers. The team is led by a battlefield-weary figure named Hunter and includes everything from a clone built with droid parts to a massive gaming tank that is more similar to a plush teddy bear than a warrior.
This first season tracks the team as they find a place to exist and a purpose to have when clones are viewed as symbols of terror due to the mass extermination of beloved Jedi. We will keep things spoiler-free, so you don’t get too many details, but this is a highly immersive series that dives into the untold stories, backgrounds, and internal struggles of the clone troopers at a time of intense complexity.
Even with all that plot drama, there is the whole “mutated” factor. The Bad Batch comes across another character (who will remain nameless in this article) that could be the key to unlocking the original DNA from Jango Fett, opening incredible doors for season 2 and other IP tie-ins.
We couldn’t agree more with the 87% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes. This is not the highest form of Star Wars storytelling you will see, but it is undoubtedly worthy of being in the top tier. Disney did a great job unlocking new character development, showcasing more lore for us to chew on, and subtly introducing connections to all other kinds of familiar stories we love.
If you want a true adventure store with all the wonder of The Clone Wars but enough heart of The Mandalorian, then you need to check out The Bad Batch. We are keeping a close watch on this series for any future design inspirations at our premium sabers store.