The Bad Batch surprised and delighted fans of The Clone Wars when it debuted on Disney+ last year. It showed viewers a pivotal moment in the Star Wars timeline, offering more details about the collapse of the Republic and the ascension of the Empire. For years, fans have wondered how the Empire phased out the Clone Troopers in favor of the cheaper, non-cloned Stormtrooper soldiers we see in the Original Trilogy.
The series, which follows the adventures of the heroic Clone Force 99, has been described as Star Wars’ take on The A-Team. It’s an episodic series that shows a ragtag band of mercenaries fighting for justice–and a little bit of coin. The gang is comprised of five clone troopers who were given selective mutations by the Kaminoan cloners who created them–and each one is among the best soldiers in the galaxy.
Fans who are hungry for more Clone Wars-style adventures are in for a treat. Not only is Lucasfilm making another season of The Bad Batch, but it’s also just around the corner. Before the second season debuts on Disney+, we’re recapping the first and getting you up to speed! Here’s everything you need to know about The Bad Batch Season 2!
Clone Force 99
Audiences first met Clone Force 99 in the seventh season of The Clone Wars. Like all of the Jango Fett clones in that series, they’re voiced by the incomparable Dee Bradley Baker. Baker’s ability to express an astonishing amount of emotion and range in each clone’s voice, despite them all being genetically identical, is truly impressive. With the Bad Batch possessing genetic alterations, Baker is able to let loose and have some fun.
As Wrecker, he can play the big, lovable lunk who likes to talk with his fists. As Tech, he leans into the brainier side of the clone personality, adopting a higher-pitched voice and more technobabble. Crosshair, the icy sniper of the group, speaks in a low hiss. Their leader, Hunter, is the Star Wars version of Rambo, complete with a red bandana and a skull-face tattoo. As such, Baker imbues a heroic, gravelly tone into Hunter’s voice, making him instantly recognizable as a no-nonsense commander.
Echo, a clone trooper who was captured by the Separatists during the Clone Wars, rounds out the crew. While he’s not genetically engineered like the main four Bad Batch members, he’s been through enough odd experiences to make him fit right in. The five commando clones survive the events of the Clone Wars and make the transition to the Age of the Empire in a dramatic fashion, but things take a turn for the worse when they realize that their brothers have changed in the wake of Order 66.
The Jedi Purge
The members of Clone Force 99 are closer to siblings of the original Jango Fett than true clones. The Kaminoans used advanced technology to splice their genetics and elicit helpful mutations, which makes each member of the elite battalion different. This is evident in their distinct facial features and builds, which mark them as oddities in the clone army. It also made the four of them uniquely resistant to the effects of the inhibitor chips the Kaminoans hid in each clone’s brain.
When Palpatine ordered the clone army to “execute Order 66” and eliminate the Jedi, Clone Force 99 didn’t feel a sudden compulsion to complete that goal. Instead, they were perplexed and horrified at their brothers’ actions. Crosshair chose to stick with the Empire, though, while Wrecker, Echo, Tech, and Hunter elected to remove their inhibitor chips (with the help of their ally, Clone Captain Rex) and go on the run.
Along the way, the Bad Batch met Omega, an unmodified clone of Jango Fett who is essentially the sister of Boba Fett. Since she hasn’t been altered to age at twice the rate of a normal human, she appears physically younger than her brothers. However, she’s biologically a bit older than them–making their roles as her caretakers that much more ironic. The show also uses this to highlight how horrifying the clones’ lives were under the Republic. They were essentially child soldiers fighting murderous robots at the behest of a fanatical order of religious zealots.
Band on the Run
While on the run from their former friend Crosshair, Clone Force 99 reinvents itself as a band of capable mercenaries who will fight for the right price. Their strict code of honor prevents them from falling in with criminals, though, and they find themselves stoking the embers that will eventually morph into the raging wildfire of the Rebellion. They ally themselves with Cid, an information broker who helps them find odd jobs to keep their ship afloat and their bellies full.
Along the way, the Bad Batch encounters familiar characters like Hera Syndullah and her droid companion, Chopper. Fans of another Dave Filoni-directed animated show, Rebels, cheered when the familiar Twi’lek pilot and her obnoxious astromech made their cameo in the middle of Bad Batch’s first season. The show also featured appearances from notorious bounty hunters like Cad Bane and Fennec Shand, characters who would later appear in The Book of Boba Fett.
The first season also culminated in a scene that many fans expected to see at some point: the destruction of the cloning facilities on Kamino. The Empire, eager to put the Republic era to rest, order the complete destruction of all of Kamino’s cities. The Bad Batch, in a rush to rescue Omega from Cad Bane, found itself in the midst of that destruction in the final episode of the season. This horrifying sequence poetically showed the transformation of the Empire, as it left the old clone army behind and moved on with human volunteers making up its fighting force.
What’s Next for the Bad Batch?
At the end of the first season, the Bad Batch learns that Crosshair had his inhibitor chip removed but still chose to stay with the Empire. He’s a compelling villain because he truly sides with the Empire’s brutal, totalitarian worldview, and chooses his government over his brothers. The group will likely face him again in the second season, and he’ll probably become the primary antagonist of the series as the show rolls on.
Likewise, there’s a lot we still don’t know about Omega. Why did the Kaminoans make another unmodified clone of Jango Fett? What is Omega’s relationship with Boba Fett like? Is she aware of her other sibling, or are the two strangers who happen to share a genetic code? The second season could even give audiences a glimpse of a younger Boba, still fuming from his father’s death at the hands of Mace Windu and searching for his place in the galaxy.
Given that The Bad Batch takes place before Rebels, it’s possible we could see a few cameos from fan-favorite characters from the latter series. One such character has already appeared, albeit briefly: Caleb Dume, the Jedi Padawan who grows up to become Kanan Jarrus. Kanan is the dauntless Jedi Knight who trains Padawan Ezra Bridger in Rebels, and his perilous journey through the Age of the Empire is only just getting started in the time period during which The Bad Batch takes place.
In the trailer Lucasfilm shared during the Star Wars Celebration in May, the Bad Batch seems to be back to their old ways. The crew seems to still be working for Cid, who urges the group to undertake more dramatic actions to free themselves from the watchful eye of the Empire. Hunter seems to suggest that the Bad Batch is as free as it can be under the circumstances, living as fugitives from the government and taking on mercenary gigs just to survive.
The trailer also showcases a brief appearance by Emperor Palpatine himself. The series might explore the clones’ feelings regarding the mastermind who orchestrated the Clone Wars. After all, the clone army was genetically engineered to fight on Palpatine’s behalf, and they simply wouldn’t exist without his evil ambitions. Perhaps the Bad Batch will use this as a motivation to help kickstart the nascent Rebellion, giving rise to the scrappy movement that will eventually culminate in Palpatine’s undoing.
Elsewhere, we see that the Wookiee Padawan, Gungi, served the Jedi Purge. This fan-favorite character made his first appearance in The Clone Wars, as a youngling traveling with Ahsoka to the planet Ilum. On Ilum, audiences saw Gungi construct his first lightsaber, using a Kyber Crystal from Ilum’s rich system of Force-attuned minerals. Perhaps the Bad Batch will become involved with The Path, the underground network of Jedi sympathizers who help Force-sensitive survivors escape the Empire’s persecution.
Release Date and Details
The Bad Batch will return to Disney+ starting on September 28. It will air sixteen episodes, with new episodes dropping once per week on Wednesdays. It’ll be the third Star Wars show to air on Disney+ this year alone, following hot on the heels of Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Star Wars fans are getting spoiled by a ton of new shows coming next year, too. Early in 2023, the third season of The Mandalorian will also hit the streaming service. After that, fans are deliriously excited for the first season of the Rebels spin-off, Ahsoka. In short, it’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan.