Throughout its inaugural season run thus far, Star Wars: The Bad Batch — Lucasfilm Animation's latest series — has followed experimental Clone Force 99 and young, female clone Omega in the wake of the events of Order 66 and the conclusion of Star Wars: The Clone Wars' final season.
While The Bad Batch tells a different story from that of The Clone Wars, the two series do share a significant connection: Kamino.
The planet of Kamino is home to the tall, emotionless, and enterprising Kaminoans responsible for engineering the Republic's clone army that the Empire no longer considers relevant.
As Kamino grows more desperate, its chief medical scientist Nala Se is determined to protect Omega instead of using her for future experiments and Imperial approval.
As The Bad Batch nears the conclusion of its inaugural season's 16-episode run, Gwendoline Yeo — the voice of Nala Se — spoke with The Direct about the challenges of portraying a Kaminoan in this capacity and what audiences will see from Nala Se in the season's remaining episodes.
GWENDOLINE YEO TALKS NALA SE'S VULNERABILITY IN THE BAD BATCH
According to Yeo, voicing Nala Se for The Bad Batch was "really cool" since she was "going to have to be vulnerable within the Kaminoan world:"
"During The Clone Wars, she was much colder. Much more straightforward and militant. She created this clone army. I've lived with her for so long in that way. When The Bad Batch came around, and I was approached by the team, it was really cool because we're going to have her be vulnerable within the Kaminoan world."
The problem is that vulnerability isn't a trait normally found in Kaminoans, nor is it something audiences have often seen from Nala Se.
Therefore, staying true to the character and her species while still exploring these areas of emotion required "many different takes:"
"It felt very tense because Kaminoans by nature — you can't suddenly start playing a different species or be somebody different. You're going to play it within the confines of who the species is, and I think when they asked of me to be more vulnerable, it was extremely collaborative. We talked about it, we did many different takes to see if it would break character, if it was too much too little."
Due to the complexity and balance required for Yeo's performance of Nala Se, it's possible that her role as the Kaminoan might have been the most challenging apart from Dee Bradley Baker who voices all the clones in The Bad Batch.
While she credits her work to collaboration, she also explained that "she has to think the thoughts and allow it to come through."
"It's so much like film acting. It's almost like an extreme close-up. I have to think the thoughts and allow it to come through. And it does, it really does. I think it had to do with how I was mic'd down to the audio team and the collaboration."
NALA SE'S CHARACTER ARC COMING TO AN END?
In The Clone Wars, Nala Se worked with the Jedi, including Jedi Master Shaak Ti. However, the two held differing views of the clones with Nala Se regarding them as assets while Shaak Ti and the Jedi saw them as individuals.
The fact Nala Se has now hired bounty hunter Fennec Shand to protect Omega from Kamino and the planet's Prime Minister Lama Su implies the scientist may have had a change of heart throughout The Bad Batch.
When asked if audiences will see more of Nala Se's character arc if it is indeed an arc, and how she would define that, Yeo gave nothing away saying, "Let's just see where the story takes us. It's been a pleasure playing her."
So where could that story go? Well, it's long been speculated The Bad Batch's season could end with a return to where the series began — Kamino.
Not only is this likely considering the threat the location poses to Omega, but a long-anticipated clone rebellion on Kamino may be possible in light Clone Captain Howzer's stand against the Empire in Episode 12.
When Yeo was asked what other television series can learn from Star Wars and what stands out to her personally, the actress explained, "They cast not on someone's color of skin or age or what have you, but really based on talent."
"They cast not on someone's color of skin or age or what have you but really based on talent... It's hard to beat Star Wars or Lucas. Focusing on story is what has been lost a lot, especially in live-action... Instead of getting back to simple good and evil and having hope and being good, and if someone is good or bad you don't know because people are complex. Those tapestries are hard to find."
Considering Lucasfilm's focus on story, fans are likely in for a powerful conclusion to The Bad Batch and hopefully answers whether fans can expect a second season and just what the future holds for Yeo's Nala Se and Omega.
New episodes of The Bad Batch are released on Fridays on Disney+.