The Dark Side

The Bad Batch Season 3 Trailer Teases the Resolution of The Oldest Imperial Plot Hole

The Empire really wants you to understand that stormtroopers are not clones. Right?

Palpatine and Red Imperial Guards in the 2024 trailer for 'The Bad Batch.'
Star Wars

As a sequel to The Clone Wars animated series, The Bad Batch has, since 2021, shouldered the strangest Star Wars canon burden of them all: walking back the heel-turn of the clones in Revenge of the Sith and bringing them back to being the sympathetic characters they were throughout the Clone Wars TV series and aspects of Rebels.

At the same time, the series has also expanded known canon about clones in Star Wars. It’s even sprinkled in a bit of clandestine cloning action, borrowed from old Legends novels. So, now, with the third and final season, The Bad Batch is doing everything it can to close the old plot hole of why the stormtroopers of the classic era (which takes place just 19 years after Palpatine used his clone army to wipe out the Jedi) were not clones. Or, wait, were they?

The new Bad Batch Season 3 trailer might just have the answer.

Bad Batch Season 3 trailer

The trailer for The Bad Batch Season 3 mostly focuses on the remaining Batchers and their quest to rescue young Omega from the vile clutches of the Empire’s unscrupulous prisons and lab experiments. Last season Omega ended up on Mt. Tantiss and learned that Emerie Karr was also a clone, which means she is Omega’s sister.

So while logistically the Empire seems to be replacing human recruits for the stormtrooper ranks rather than clones, the new canon of The Bad Batch is also laying down secret Imperial research about cloning into the backstory of the classic trilogy. All of this gets super confusing when you consider that in The Mandalorian Season 3, we had an entire episode focused on Dr. Pershing, which seemed to make it clear that cloning was, really, really outlawed at some point. However, canon is a bit fuzzy on whether or not Pershing was doing clone research pre-Return of the Jedi, or if he only was doing that stuff for Moff Gideon after the Battle of Endor.

Why does Mando clone canon matter when it comes to The Bad Batch? Short answer: Palpatine.

Palpatine hates clone troopers but loves cloning tech

He’s back! (He’s always back.)


In the new Bad Batch trailer, Palpatine says: “There is nothing of great importance to secure the future of this Empire... whatever is needed to accomplish this goal... you will have it.”

The funny thing is, what is Palpatine actually talking about here? Does he mean that the elimination of rogue clones is essential to keeping the Empire safe? Overall that would track with the larger arc of The Bad Batch. Since Season 1, we’ve seen various explanations — economic, political, and scientific — for why stormtrooper recruits are forced to replace the clone troopers. But, is this all Palps is talking about? Because of The Rise of Skywalker, we know Palpatine wanted to keep some kind of cloning technology working. Mando Season 3 made it seem like Moff Gideon was working alone to create clones of himself, but Bad Batch Season 2 revealed some secret cloning action almost separate and apart from what Palpatine was doing earlier.

So, although the answers won’t be simple, it’s a very good bet that Bad Batch Season 3 will reconcile at least one question: How did Palpatine rationalize getting rid of a Clone Army but also keep his Sith-y clone research program alive?

At the very end of the trailer, we get a glimpse of Count Dooku’s Clone War-era apprentice, Asajj Ventress. There’s absolutely no reason to believe she’s working for Palpatine at this point, and yet, because Dark Side game recognizes Dark Side game, it seems possible she’s mixed up in all of this, too. Palpatine may not be behind it all this time, but somehow, it feels like this time, retroactively, he’s returned for a reason.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch hits Disney+ on Feb. 21, 2024.

Related Tags