As time draws nearer to the annual May the 4th fan holiday, anticipation for Star Wars: The Bad Batch grows.
Lucasfilm's next animated project, recently announced to debut on Disney+ on Star Wars Day and launch new episodes every Friday thereafter, will follow the story of the titular clone unit immediately following the events of Revenge of the Sith. The Bad Batch, also known as experimental Clone Force 99, is set to take on the role of a group of mercenaries as the Imperial era begins.
A large percentage of the show's cast will be voiced by one man: Dee Bradley Baker, whose work as all the clone troopers dates back to The Clone Wars' beginning in 2008. Baker brought Captain Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor back to life in Star Wars Rebels and returned to Clone Wars for the hit show's final season, which reached its heartbreaking conclusion a year to the day that The Bad Batch will debut. To get fans fired up for the new series, Baker has teased that the story will be one for the ages...
In an interview with the Disney D23 Magazine obtained by The Direct, actor Dee Bradley Baker issued a high level of praise for the work done by The Bad Batch's supervising director Brad Rau and head writer Jennifer Corbett:
"It's a beautifully written show. [Rau and Corbett are] really smart and they really love Star Wars. They're all the things that a fan could want for the best kind of Star Wars experience."
While he couldn't reveal details about the story, Baker says that the show took the best of The Clone Wars up to another level:
"It takes what we found in The Clone Wars to another level of depth and awesomeness. It's real Star Wars in the best possible sense... It's an amazingly dramatic and satisfying series or story for anyone, whether you know Star Wars or not - but especially if you love Star Wars."
The actor did tease that attentive fans may already have a sense of the show's direction given the way its predecessor concluded:
"A fan who has paid attention to where things ended [in The Clone Wars] might be able to guess where we're going to start [in The Bad Batch]."
WHAT THIS MEANS
The Direct has certainly paid close attention to all things Clone Wars and Bad Batch, so there are some reasonable working theories for where the new show will be taking fans come Star Wars Day.
Based on the footage shown in the series' first sizzle reel that debuted during Disney's Investor Day event, it's a safe bet that the beginning of The Bad Batch will actually take place while the Clone War is still raging throughout the galaxy. Some shots depicted the Grand Army of the Republic taking on the Separatist's battle droid forces, and many have speculated that the previously planned arc intended for The Clone Wars, featuring the Bad Batch with Yoda on Kashyyyk, may be back-doored into The Bad Batch as a series opener instead.
The sizzle also revealed a recreation of Palpatine's speech declaring all Jedi traitors and forming the Empire, leaving one to assume that the big moment from Episode III following Order 66 will be the turning point in the show where Clone Force 99's lives change forever. From there, the unit has a harrowing adventure in store for them, as Baker put it, and we'll be seeing a cameo from The Mandalorian's Fennec Shand at some point as the events play out.
Several rumors have suggested that Bo-Katan Kryze and perhaps even Maul will be making appearances in the series, as well as Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano. Given the lack of clarity on how the latter pair were able to operate immediately after Order 66, there's a good chance the Bad Batch may come into contact with our old friends in some capacity, where loose ends from The Clone Wars can be tied up and a bridge is built for Rebels.
Other than a vague description, some sizzle footage, and few quotes of excitement from cast members and creators, there's nothing out in the world that gives any indication of where The Bad Batch's story will ultimately be going. It's an incredibly exciting to have another animated Star Wars series on the horizon, and beyond some general inevitabilities there are no mandates for where or how this tale could end. The shots released have looked amazing, and now the show is really starting to sound amazing.
Star Wars Day can't come soon enough...