[Interview] How ‘STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH’ Continues ‘THE CLONE WARS’ Legacy

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Courtney Howard // Film Critic

The elite squad of clones known as The Bad Batch in STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH are not a new group of characters for those who watched THE CLONE WARS series. The titular players were featured in the show’s final season. Yet head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett, as well as Supervising director and executive producer Brad Rau, felt their story could continue elsewhere. And that meant collaborating with world builder Dave Filoni, who is overseeing this series.

Speaking from the series’ virtual press conference, Corbett explains his input was integral.

“With this being a sequel series of sorts to the Clone Wars, it was kind of crucial that he be involved in this process. These are characters that he’s created and it’s the world that he knows. Every day, every script is a learning experience.”

The Disney+ series takes place post-Clone Wars and follows The Bad Batch (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) as they soldier their way through a new and ever-changing world. Their blossoming awareness of the machinations behind their creation and control seemingly hints at inspiring another rebellion – at least one stoked internally that will possibly affect the rest of the galaxy. If you aren’t familiar with the crew, Baker reintroduces them to us.

“Hunter’s kind of the leader of the pack. He’s got tracking skills and smell and kind of this heightened sense that helps him gauge the terrain. Tech is very technically oriented – always has like a handheld device that he’s working on and is super cool, super calm, and competent with all things technical. Wrecker is the muscles of the group. [He’s] got incredible strength. Crosshair is the sharp-shooter of the group. [He’s] kind of a contrary character and quite interesting in the dynamic. You’ve also got Echo, who is a modified clone, an android clone from THE CLONE WARS episodes, who was brought on board with the Batch. Together they are a force to be reckoned with.”

The time period this is set in the days leading up to Order 66 and THE BAD BATCH gives a unique angle on something that’s known by the fans. Corbett says adding to the lore what excited her about making this show.

“I just found it intriguing and engaging to watch a series where you know, we’ve seen the Clone Wars where it’s the height of the Clone Troopers doing what they’re meant to do, and what they were created for. The question became, “What happens after the war is over?  What happens to clones who all they know, um, is being soldiers?” Especially for the Bad Batch who do things differently as it is with the Republic and how they fit in once it becomes the Empire. It was interesting to just sort of talk about the transition from the Republic to the Empire and what that looks like. It’s not what we saw in the original trilogy where it’s the dominance of the Empire. It’s kind of like the early stages, and I found it kind of interesting to show planets and places that were happy that the war is over, and they don’t really understand the implications of what an Empire actually means. And it’s kind of just laying the groundwork for what everyone knows the Empire to be later on.”

Baker elucidates,

“In the sudden, shocking transition from Republic to Empire, it becomes a suddenly much more rule-based power structure of the galaxy. The Bad Batch are not so much a rule-based unit. They’re very much a team, but they’re not like the Clones are, where it’s more of a top down command structure. It’s a very interesting to place them in the middle of this transformational moment and to see how that plays out.”

His approach to these characters hasn’t changed even though the characters are beyond than what he’s been asked to do before in the CLONE WARS series.

“Clone Force 99 is kind of another step. The tricky part for them, is that the differentiation is much tighter between characters. It has to be decisive. It has to be clear.  The Bad Batch are  actually much further apart from each other, which oddly makes it a little bit easier to jump from character to character to character. It comes off looking more as a magic trick then it does maybe with the Clones. But it’s a still a really fascinating process as a voice actor to just to have these scenes where I’m just talking to myself.”

While REBELS and RESISTANCE established their own visual looks, the animation style very much matches THE CLONE WARS. That was an intentional decision, says Rau,

“THE BAD BATCH is a spiritual successor to CLONE WARS. So we wanted to honor the style and the legacy of that. That being said, the whole team at Lucasfilm and our partners at CGCG, we’ve tightened everything up. The fidelity is tighter. The style is tighter. The rigs are tighter. The way that it’s designed is still the legacy of THE CLONE WARS – a little more detail, Little bit more focus. It’s just the best team and I think we’re doing our best work ever right now.” 

STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH debuts on Disney+ on May 4.

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Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.