Saturday, August 15, 2020

Opinion: Order 66 and Kamino fallout should play central role in Bad Batch series


By Ciaran Duggan

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.....actually only six months ago.... fans were treated to the return of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The first episode of the four-part Bad Batch arc aired in February, before the dark times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elite clones Hunter, Wrecker, Tech and Crosshair - and later arc trooper Echo - stormed the show with their wit, humour and prowess in fighting clankers on Anaxes and the war-profiteering Techno Union on Skako Minor.

The squadron, known as Clone Force 99, was making its first appearance on Star Wars television in the last season of Lucasfilm’s Emmy award winning animated series. It seemed like a missed opportunity not to see them again.

Low and behold, Disney announced four weeks ago that the elite Republic task force - voiced by the Clone Wars veteran Dee Bradley Baker - would be getting its own series in 201.

Excitement and pleasant surprise was my initial reaction to the announcement as several Star Wars projects have regrettably been put on hold due to the Covid-19 crisis, including the upcoming Kenobi TV series, Rogue One prequel show and next untitled Star Wars film.

What can we expect from the Bad Batch series?

The show will take place in the immediate aftermath of the Clone Wars as the shadow of the Empire rises to take the place of the Prequel Jedi order and Republic.

It will follow the five members of Clone Force 99, with each individual possessing a singular exceptional skill to make them effective soldiers.

Wrecker is a ball of strength, Crosshair can hit a target from almost anywhere with his sniper, Hunter has heightened senses while Tech “can fill your head with useless information for hours”.

Echo, the newest member of the Bad Batch, is part-droid and can hack into databases of major vessels such as a Separatist dreadnought.

In last month’s announcement, Lucasfilm said the squad will take on “daring mercenary missions” as the elite clones struggle to stay afloat and find a new purpose.

What that means in practice is pretty unclear but what we do know is that Order 66 will have gone down and the Jedi generals executed after being deemed traitors to the Republic.

In truth the clones were deceived by Darth Sidious and programmed to turn on their commanders. Echo’s comrade, Fives, had discovered there was a hidden chip ordering them to enact the Sith master plan, but this was hidden from the vast majority of clones.

At the eleventh hour, Rex managed to put the pieces together when the 501st battalion turned on Ahsoka in the Siege of Mandalore arc, although the captain initially suffered the same fate as his brothers after being brainwashed by Palpatine.

Do the Bad Batch know about Order 66? An interesting question which links onto the mystique around the squad. Rex asked Hunter who the team reports to in the S7 Clone Wars episode, A Distant Echo. Hunter replies: “Good question, can’t say I have an answer.”

Dominic Jones, head writer of the Star Wars Underworld (SWU), put forward an interesting theory that the Bad Batch could be reporting directly to the Chancellor during the Clone Wars.

In the latest roundtable discussion of The Clone Wars Strikes Back this week, Dominic said he felt there was a “sinister undertone” to the way the squad revel in violence against droids. 

With that in mind, could they be an elite force that has close ties to the evil Sith Lord and serve to be a brutal instrument of the Empire as it begins to impose its will on the galaxy.

Clone Wars tie-ins

The show is expected to be in Clone Wars format, leading to some people speculating that the first arc could still be featured in that time era.

At Star Wars: Celebration Anaheim 2015, Mr Filoni and his crew talked about several untold and unfinished stories from the Clone Wars after the show was cancelled by Disney in 2013.

One story focused on another Bad Batch arc. The five members joined Yoda for a mission on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. This story would come after the battle of Anaxes.

Could the squad be on the planet when Order 66 is initiated? Perhaps Palpatine sent them there to take out Jedi masters Yoda and Luminara should the other clone troopers fail.

Some fans have already speculated that due to their “enhancements” they may not have a chip inside their heads. However it would seem unlike Sidious - who carefully orchestrated the Clone Wars to wipe out the Jedi - to want to leave this issue unsettled.

It would make for more interesting storytelling to have the Bad Batch brainwashed into turning against the Jedi and become pro-Empire before beginning to question their loyalties.

Kamino uprising?

Kamino would be a good starting point for clones to get some answers to questions about the rise of the Empire and Order 66.

The uncertain future of the clone production facility on the aquatic planet would be an intriguing story arc, given the shady Kaminoans involvement with the Jedi betrayal and the likely ambition of Sidious to tie up loose ends from the Clone Wars.

An uprising or crackdown of Kamino to halt the creation of new clones would be compelling to watch. It would nicely mirror Palpatine’s instruction to Darth Vader to order the Trade Federation to shut down all droid units after he killed the Separatist leaders on Mustafar in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Beyond Kamino, other interesting story threads that could be introduced include a reunion with former Republic commander Rex or a team-up with Darth Vader.

I say this after remembering Anakin’s chilling line at the end of the Bad Batch arc “I would be proud to fight beside you, anytime, anywhere.”

Seeing the clones begin to age in this period would be equally fascinating as the Empire turns its attention to building up an army of stormtroopers in their place. Also, how do the clones deal with the end of the war against the Separatists as Rex points out that without the war “we clones wouldn’t exist”.

In conclusion, we await an official release date for the Bad Batch but with Mr Filoni spearheading the project alongside colleagues from Mandalorian, Rebels and Resistance I think it is fair to say “I have a good feeling about this”.

Picture credits: Lucasfilm, Wookieepedia and Reddit

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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