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Review: 'Star Wars: The Bad Batch' a Compelling New Corner of the Sci-Fi Universe

by JC Alvarez
Tuesday May 4, 2021
'Star Wars: The Bad Batch'
'Star Wars: The Bad Batch'  (Source:Lucasfilm Ltd)

Who knew bad... could be this good? First introduced in the latest episodes of the seventh and final season of the animated hit series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," the experimental rejects that make up the specialized corps called Clone Force 99 are the right kind of soldiers for the wrong kind of job. The new original series "Star Wars: The Bad Batch," premiering exclusively on Disney+, follows these hard-luck cases as they find themselves in the midst of a new battle as the Galactic Empire begins to take shape, and there's no room for dissent.

In the "Star Wars" mythology, the time period of The Clone Wars is a desperately crucial one, in that the long and costly war fought throughout the entire galaxy throws everything into chaos, leading the Galactic Republic to go to extremes to defend democracy: It creates a Clone Army, lead by the Order of Jedi Knight that's subservient to the Chancellor. Unfortunately, these are dark times and the war and the army created to defend the interests of the Republic are all part of a plan by the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious — the chancellor in disguise. Determined to destroy the valiant Jedi Knights and seize control for himself, the Emperor has taken every measure to ensure victory.

Now taking to the spotlight in their own original series, "The Bad Batch" follows these elite warriors, including their leader Hunter, the brawler Wrecker, Tech, Crosshairs and their newest recruit Echo. Fans first experienced the group when they were dispatched, because of their unique abilities, on a special mission. The series begins at the onset of Order 66, the treacherous final directive implemented by the Sith Lord turned Emperor of the Empire. The order has turned the Republic's Clone Army against the Jedi, all but murdering the entire order.

Finding themselves between a rock and a hard place, The Bad Batch aren't beholden to the entrenched order because of their defects, and the group fall under the critical eye of a vicious Imperial Office, Admiral Tarkin, who seizes on the opportunity to test Clone Force 99 and see where their loyalties lie. Hunter does not take kindly to finding themselves marginalized by the Admiral, and when he sends them and a dangerous mission, the group learn even more.

Tasked with taking out a village of dissidents, Hunter and his team refuse to do the Empire's dirty work and instead allow the rebels to escape and take the most vulnerable to safe harbor. Unimpressed by their inclinations to not follow his orders, Tarkin marks the group as traitors and attempts to turn them to the dark side, but, with the help of Omega, a young female clone (also considered "defective"), the group escape — but one of their own does not follow suit, and decides to serve the Empire.

Now fugitives, the Bad Batch must find their place in these dangerous times as they are hunted as traitors to the evil Imperial regime while finding themselves in service of a growing rebellion that is preparing to rise up against tyranny at whatever cost. Together they stand a fighting chance: "The Bad Batch" are more than anyone gives them credit for, and now must learn to depend on one another as a band of brothers and a thorn in the side of a cruel Empire.

The premiere episode is lightning fast and full of intrigue. It fully fleshes out this band of heroes, which will undoubtedly become immediate fan favorites. Set within the perspective of the Clone Army, this is one of the few times that fans and the audience of the franchise will get to hear the story of these soldiers, manufactured as a dispensable lot, only to rise above and find their own purpose. The addition of Omega will help bridge much of the serious side of the narrative so that it is all much more family friendly, but make no mistake - "The Bad Batch" is Star Wars true!

Developed by Dave Filoni and Jennifer Corbett, the new series is a proper spin-off the widely popular "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" animated series that expanded the history of that galaxy far, far away and introduced some of the franchise's most beloved characters. Set in the time right after Episode III (and the final episode of the last season of "The Clone Wars"), the new show will likely link up with "Rebels" and lead into "Rogue One," revealing even more of the Star Wars universe that has become a cultural phenomenon all of its own.

"Star Wars: The Bad Batch" premiers on Disney+ on May 4.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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