While the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope went unexplored on-screen for years, that has all changed with Star Wars Rebels, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and one of Lucasfilm's latest animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
The series' first season, which debuted in May of 2021 on Disney+, focused on experimental Clone Force 99 during the events of Order 66 and the early days of the Empire.
But since that inaugural season concluded, Lucasfilm has further explored this era with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, and will continue to do the same with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order sequel, Jedi: Survivor.
Out ahead of the The Bad Batch's Season 2 premiere, the show's producers commented on creating a new season while also respecting the ever-expanding Star Wars canon.
How Star Wars: The Bad Batch Avoids Canon Conflicts
When asked about The Bad Batch sharing the same post-Republic period as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor, show producer Brad Rau explained to The Direct how the animated series has "more wiggle room" and who the showrunners look to in order to navigate the asteroid field that is Star Wars canon:
“Honestly, we’re still a little bit earlier than those shows. We do have a little bit more wiggle room, you might, say for our Star Wars space dads."
Even though both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor included flashbacks to earlier points in time, as Rau noted, the bulk of the shows themselves take place later on in this post-war period.
For instance, while Season 1 of The Bad Batch begins right before Order 66, Obi-Wan Kenobi occurs ten years after and nine years prior to A New Hope.
Meanwhile, Season 1 of Andor is set five years ahead of Rogue One/A New Hope.
Still, despite the decade and change separating The Bad Batch from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor, that's not to say the animated series has total carte blanche.
According to Rau, the Lucasfilm Story Group will "weigh in" when it comes to certain characters, plotlines, and locations, and "make sure things are connected:"
"We rely on the Lucasfilm Story Group a lot to answer your question specifically where any time we occasionally will have a storyline or a character or a setting that they’ll weigh in on and let us know if there’s something else going on. We don’t ever feel like restricted but they’re definitely there to help support and make sure things are connected.”
This isn't the first time a Star Wars showrunner has discussed working in conjunction with Star Wars canon.
Finding Nemo's Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote the last two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, confessed that canon restrictions can be frustrating from a storytelling perspective, noting that Andor "is in a safe spot" in terms of canonicity as it "can just do whatever the heck it wants."
How Lucasfilm Keeps Star Wars Connected
While it's true that Andor's writers have more freedom than the Ewan McGregor-led series, The Bad Batch has even more flexibility.
Because of Rogue One, Star Wars fans know who Cassian Andor becomes and how his story ends.
On the other hand, Clone Force 99 has yet to be in a Star Wars film and audiences don't know what the future holds for them.
But even though canon isn't a huge concern at the moment, that could change as the show marches on, and it will become even more restrictive as Season 2 of Andor works to dovetail into Rogue One.
This is why it was fascinating to hear about Lucasfilm Story Group and its role in safeguarding against characters, plot lines, and events from contradicting Star Wars lore.
After all, what makes Star Wars unique is that it's always been presented as a history.
While it's true that Star Wars fans want new and original stories and characters, their narratives still need to support that overarching historical narrative. If not, it weakens the stakes of both the timeline and any new stories.
The Lucasfilm Story Group and its influence is good news for The Bad Batch and Lucasfilm's upcoming slate because, as Rau explained, their goal is to "make sure things are connected."
As for those connections and how The Bad Batch will contribute to this period in the Star Wars timeline, fans don't have much longer to wait.
Season 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch premieres Wednesday, January 4 on Disney+.