What happens when you clone someone wrong? Ever since Obi-Wan mentioned "the Clone Wars" to Luke in A New Hope, Star Wars fans everywhere have wondered just how rowdy things could get in a never-ending space battle involving clone armies. And after seven seasons of The Clone Wars, and the films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, in theory, we've finally been told everything we need to know about Clones in the Star Wars galaxy.
Then again ... maybe not?
The newest animated Star Wars TV series The Bad Batch promises to finally give us a little bit more variety in the world of Clone Troopers. First introduced in Season 7 of The Clone Wars, a group of off-beat ("bad") Clones are getting their own TV series, wedged in between two Star Wars trilogies.
Here's everything we know about The Bad Batch so far, including the release date, the timeline, the creative team, and the possibility of Star Wars cameos. Mild spoilers ahead.
When is The Bad Batch release date?
The Bad Batch will start debut on Disney+ on an exciting day: May 4, 2021, also known as Star Wars Day. The news was confirmed on February 24. May 4, 2021, is a Tuesday. But, according to Star Wars.com, "Subsequent episodes will premiere on Fridays." This means that the first week, there will be two episodes of The Bad Batch: the premiere on Tuesday, May 4, and then the next installment on Friday, May 7.
What is the timeline for The Bad Batch?
As the trailer indicates, it seems like The Bad Batch takes place right after Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith, perhaps even during the moments that the Emperor "reorganizes" the Republic into the Empire. In Star Wars timeline-speak, that means The Bad Batch will begin in roughly 19 BBY. However, it seems possible that the series could span more time than just this specific year and era.
Is there a trailer for The Bad Batch?
Yes! In December 2020, IGN debuted a trailer for The Bad Batch. Notable Star Wars characters who appear in this trailer (other than the Bad Batch themselves) are Grand Moff Tarkin and Fennec Shand of The Mandalorian fame.
What is the plot of The Bad Batch?
Loosely, The Bad Batch focuses on Clone Force 99, AKA "The Bad Batch," formally introduced in The Clone Wars Season 7, although the concept was much older.
These Clones are "accidents" created by the cloners on Kamino, resulting in subjects who look and act differently than the "normal" Clones. Because the Bad Batch is seen operating independently, there's a strong implication that they were immune to Order 66, or, like Captain Rex, able to subvert the latent programming.
The official synopsis from Lucasfilm says that "they will take on daring mercenary missions as they struggle to stay afloat and find a purpose."
Kathleen Kennedy has also compared the feeling of The Bad Batch to The A-Team. For the most part, this seems to imply The Bad Batch will be heroes, though the shades of grey with their loyalties are unclear.
Who is in The Bad Batch cast?
For the most part, the cast of The Bad Batch will consist of voice actor Dee Bradley Baker playing all the different members of the squad. Since 2008, Baker has voiced the Clone Troopers in the animated versions of The Clone Wars and Rebels. Canonically, Baker represents Temuera Morrison's voice, who played Jango Fett and all the Clones in the prequels, not to mention Boba Fett in The Mandalorian and upcoming spinoff The Book of Boba Fett.
The only other confirmed member of The Bad Batch cast is Ming-Na Wen as Bounty Hunter Fennec Shand. Wen is playing a younger version of Fennec Shand, who was first introduced in The Mandalorian Season 1, and who made a triumphant comeback in Season 2 alongside the aforementioned Fett. Although many characters from The Clone Wars and Rebels appeared or were referenced in The Mandalorian, this is the first time the reverse has happened — a Mandalorian character appearing in a new Star Wars cartoon.
Who is writing The Bad Batch?
Dave Filoni is serving as the executive producer of The Bad Batch, but it appears the head writer will be fellow-producer Brad Rau, who previously worked on Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance. Athena Portillo, Carrie Beck, and Josh Rimes are also producing. Basically, if you've followed animated Star Wars for the past several years, nearly all the same storytellers are involved.
Will The Bad Batch feature other Star Wars cameos?
Because of where it happens in the timeline, The Bad Batch will almost certainly have a few more familiar faces beyond Fennec Shand. Grand Moff Tarkin appears in the trailer, as does Emperor Palpatine, so other Imperial officials could certainly follow. (Maybe a young Thrawn? Krennic?) Some fans also think the Fennec Shand connection could lead to an even tinier version of Baby Yoda — which could maybe even help to explain how Baby Yoda survived Order 66. Also, since The Clone Wars was very much her show, there's also a good reason to put some money on an Ahsoka cameo.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch will hit Disney+ on May 4, 2021.