May the 4th Be With You as this years Star Wars Day is about to get…bad. But don’t worry, sometimes a little bad is good for the soul as tomorrow marks the debut of Disney+‘s highly-anticipated next installment to the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
This animated glory will further adventures of Clone Force 99, first introduced in The Clone Wars. An experimental squad produced by a variety of genetic mutations, the group differs from the rank-and-file clones both physically and psychologically, with each specializing in a particular skill that makes them together an unstoppable team. Taking place directly after the events of The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch must navigate a rapidly changing galaxy in which will test their loyalties and their eccentricities no longer tolerated.
In celebration of the show’s release, a virtual Star Wars: The Bad Batch press conference was held featuring Dee Bradley Baker (voice of The Bad Batch, five clones), Jennifer Corbett (Head Writer and Executive Producer) and Brad Rau (Supervising Director and Executive Producer).
During this period, Order 66 takes place and the days leading up to it. Viewers will see how this show adds yet another unique angle on those days.
“This time is one of the reasons I got so excited about this show, other than the oddball group of characters. But I just found it intriguing and engaging to watch a series we’ve seen in 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,” said Rau.
“The Bad Batch is a spiritual successor to The Clone Wars. So we wanted to honor the style and the legacy of that. 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, and the question became, ‘What happens after the war is over? What happens to clones who all they know 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, because 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,” Corbett stated.
First introduced in the final season of The Clone Wars, Bad Batch features five main characters: Hunter, Crosshair, Wrecker, Tech, and the most recent addition Echo.
“Hunter is the leader of the pack. He’s got tracking skills and a heightened sense that helps him gauge the terrain. The next one is Tech, who is very technically oriented. He always has a handheld device that he’s working on and is super cool, super calm, and competent with all things technical. Then you got Wrecker who’s got incredible strength. Crosshair is the sharpshooter of the group, a contrary character and quite interesting in the dynamic. And Echo is a modified android clone from the Clone Wars episodes, who was brought on board with the Batch.”
While Rau couldn’t decide which character he liked best, Baker proudly stated, “It’s fun being Wrecker. I have great affection for all of them. They are all remarkably interesting fellows. But Wrecker is probably the furthest away from me. He’s great fun.”
While other voice actors may find it overwhelming or confusing to voice five characters at once, Baker creates the writer for creates such rich and diverse personalities.
“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. I mean, for me it feels like I’m jumping from rock to rock on a stream. I can see the rock. The writing is clear. And that’s what I jump to, is that character…it actually helps that they’re further differentiated vocally, and also in terms of their personality and their mood, shall we say? So it comes off looking more as a magic trick than it does maybe with the Clones, but it’s still a really fascinating process as a voice actor to have these scenes where I’m just talking to myself, just switching from character to character to character as we go through the script. Which is typically how we do it–we just go straight through it. It’s fantastic fun. It’s really an interesting project,” said Baker.
Not only does the series showcases the dynamic between Hunter and Omega but also introduces viewers to Omega, a new and important character.
“It’s a fascinating relationship that unfolds. Because at first, of course, the team is their own sealed unit. They’re certainly not used to having anybody else along or working with anybody else. Although they did bring along Echo and brought Echo on board after he proved himself to them, and they came together on that. Yeah, it’s interesting, in terms of the story and the writing, to have this personal relationship with the younger character and to see how that changes and how they accommodate that. It works because it’s more of an uncle/niece, or a father/child, dynamic, but not entirely. Omega is her own interesting character. It’s interesting to see all of that unfold. But I think it connects you to the story in a personal way. So it’s not just an action story, as Star Wars never is. There’s a personal story that’s also playing out as well, that connects you to the entire story,” said Baker.
“And it’s impressive to watch him do it in the room. When we first started, I thought he was going to go one character at a time. Watching him act out a scene with himself, with all of these Clones, there’s no pause. He just goes right into it. I was blown away. And each time we do one of these record sessions, I’m just amazed at Dee’s talent,” Corbett followed.
When it came to writing The Bad Batch Corbett used her experience in the US Navy to showcase the brotherhood of the group and how they work as a team when they go about missions.
“When I first saw the original story arc for The Bad Batch that was meant for The Clone Wars the final season, I immediately responded to it because I got the dynamic between this-this squad. I understand how people in the military become like, brothers and sisters very closely when you’re sent on missions together. When you’re in close quarters and the camaraderie and also the banter that comes with living with people, so closely, in high stress situations. So, I think, you know, that’s what I try to bring to it, is how this squad, even though they are these elite soldiers, they are this family. But they don’t have to agree all the time, and all the things. And all the different perspectives that each of them brings, because they’re all so very different. I think that speaks to the military. No one comes from the same background, everybody has their different reasons for doing what they’re doing. And it is a family dynamic in real life,” Corbett said.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch debuts on Tuesday, May 4th, with a special 70-minute premiere, followed by weekly episodes every Friday starting on May 7th.