2023 promises to be a huge year for Star Wars franchise on Disney+, med Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, The Acolyte, Visions Sseason 2, and The Mandalorian season 3 is due to air within the next year. However, fans won’t have to wait too long to return to the universe, like the second season of The Bad Batch will begin airing new episodes on January 4 with a two-part premiere. Like the first season, The Bad Batch season 2 consists of 16 episodes and will end on March 29.
The Bad Batch had an interesting path to becoming a series. While a four-part story about an elite group of clone troopers with genetic mutations (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) was slated for a sixth season of The Clone Wars, the show’s cancellation ended up scrapping the storyline. An unfinished story reel of the arc was included on the Blu-Ray release of the Netflix season The lost missionsbut the arc was completed in its entirety for the seventh season which aired on Disney+ in 2020. Following the conclusion of The Clone Warsplans were made by the series creator Dave Filoni for an official spinoff.
The show follows the clone troopers Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair and Echo, who all have special advantages that set them apart from their brothers in arms. Unlike the other clones, Bad Batch is able to fight the programming of Order 66 to execute the Jedi. They struggle to adjust to their new role in the Galactic Empire when they are called in by Admiral Tarkin (Stephen Stanton) for an Imperial mission.
A change of mission
Inspired by classic war films such as The Guns of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen, The Bad Batchits cast of characters each have quirks that come with their respective skills. Hunter has Matt Murdoch-esque sensory abilities, Wrecker is big and strong, Tech is a computer genius, and Crosshair is an incredible marksman. Echo was a fan-favorite character on The Clone Wars who was originally killed during the siege of the Citadel. However, the storyline involving Bad Batch revealed that he had been kept alive by Separatists to analyze his brain. Now enhanced as a cyborg, Echo chooses to bid farewell to the 501st Legion and joins the Bad Batch.
The turning point for the squad occurs after they track down Saw Gerrera (Andrew Kishino), a freedom fighter who served with the Republic during the Clone Wars. Saw has begun to develop the rebel movement that he would lead into Andor and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Bad Batch discovers that the “rebels” they were sent to kill are simply refugees. While Hunter, Wrecker, Tech and Echo choose to abandon their duty, Crosshair retains his loyalty to the Empire.
Enemies and allies
Unlike the other clones who turned against their Jedi leaders, Bad Batch does not have the inhibitor chips that force them to blindly follow orders. However, Crosshair has a chip enhanced by Tarkin, which only sharpens his abilities and turns him against his teammates. The Bad Batch gain a new member of their team on their home world of Kamino when they rescue Omega (Michelle Ang), a young female clone whose genetic makeup is different from the other replicants of Jango Fett. Over the course of the season, Omega proves himself to be a worthy member of the team with his unique abilities.
The season also reunites the Bad Batch with Captain Rex, who has eluded the Empire after helping rescue Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) at the end of The Clone Wars. Rex helps the Bad Batch remove the chips that had been forcibly placed in them, and introduces them to the other clone escapee Gregor (who would become Rex’s ally in Rebels). With an uncertain future in the galaxy under Imperial Rule, Bad Batch begins taking odd jobs for the Trandoshan mercenary Cid (Rhea Perlman). Cid may claim to be “in it for the money,” but she’s a former Jedi informant with no love for the Empire.
Many other characters from the bigger ones Star Wars universe is shown throughout the season. The Bad Batch initially choose to betray their orders when they rescue Rebels hero Caleb Dume/Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) when he is chased by the other clones. Prior to his live-action appearance in The Book of Boba Fettthe infamous gunslinger Cad Bane (Corey Burton) appears with his droid Todo 360 (Seth Green) to trade blows with the gang. Ming Na-Wen from The Mandalorian also appears as her character Fennec Shan, who eventually aids the Bad Batch in their fight against Bane.
Other characters include Attack of the Clones‘ Kaminoan’s Taun We (Rena Owen) and Lama Su (Bob Bergen), the Martinez sisters Trace (Brigitte Kali) and Rafa (Elisabeth Rodriguez), Rebels hero Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), the corrupt Ryloth senator Orn Free Ta (Phil LaMarr), and the cloner Cut Lawquane.
A critical mission
One of the revelations Bad Batch makes during a mission for Rex is that the Empire intends to retire the clones and replace them with constricted soldiers brainwashed to serve the Empire. The old clones (which age at half the speed) will simply die out, and the new Imperial army will be under the direct control of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). To retire the cloning program completely, Tarkin has Vice Admiral Rampart (Noshir Dalal) destroy the cloning facility in Tipoca City on Kamino.
While inside the facility, Bad Batch narrowly escapes the wreckage after Crosshair surprisingly chooses to help his old teammates. Although he ultimately chooses not to join his former allies, Crosshair seems to be leaving his brothers on better terms. Before the Bad Batch leaves on their ship Marauders, Crosshair even manages to make peace with Omega, considering them “even”. Omega appreciates that Crosshair saved AZI-3 (Ben Diskin), a Kaminoan medical droid who has been helping them.
Although the cloning facility may be destroyed, the Empire is not letting all Kaminoans go so easily. Chief medical researcher for all of Kamino, Nala Se (Gwendoline Yeo), is a mother figure to the clones who actually helps them during their first escape. Oddly, Nala Se is brought to a secret Imperial facility for a top secret project.