The beating heart of the Star Wars story are the underdogs that get caught in between the rivalry between the Jedi and the Sith, and the political feuds amongst various intergalactic governments. While we’ve seen how that has all played out during the various stages of the Skywalker Saga. Set during the execution of Order 66 and the political transition of the Republic to the Galactic Empire, “The Bad Batch” represents a shift as it takes place from the perspective of specialized clone unit whose genetic alterations allow them to take on risker missions that other regular clones would not be assigned to.
We had a chance to sit down and talk with Supervising director and executive producer, Brad Rau, head writer and executive producer, Jennifer Corbett, and voice of the entire Bad Batch crew Dee Bradley Baker, for a virtual press conference about the show. During that time they talked about the various characters, what it was like for Baker to voice the entire crew, and some of the inspirations that helped influence the show’s trajectory.
For those who aren’t fully caught up, Baker gave a brief description of the five members of the Bad Batch. First there’s Hunter, the group’s leader, whose superior tracking skills and heightened sense of smell allows him to live up to his codename. Then there’s Tech, the tech savvy clone. Wrecker is the muscles of the crew, and Crosshair is the sharpshooter. Finally there’s a modified clone from the Clone Wars, and the newest addition to the Bad Batch.
“That’s the gang,” Baker said. “And together they are a force to be reckoned with.”
Considering that Baker voices everyone in the crew, it is easy to see why he may have an effection for everyone in the Bad Batch. However, he’s partial to Wrecker. “Wrecker’s probably the furthest away from me as-from all of them,” he said. “He’s [referring to Wrecker] great fun.”
Corbett worked with creator Dave Filoni on Star Wars Resistance before she climbed aboard “The Bad Batch,” and considered it a fantastic experience. “Getting the chance to develop the series with him, it’s kinda like a master class in writing Star Wars,” she said. “It’s so exciting to-to see this show grow and develop with this team. And he’s been fantastic to learn from.”
Rau echoed those sentiments, mentioning that “The Bad Batch” was a chance for him to rectify the mistake of him not directing episodes of “The Clone Wars.” The stuff he tells us every day,
is fantastic. And amazing,” he said. “Collaborating with him and being able to work with Jen, so closely on this show’s been awesome. It’s been a dream come true.”
“The Bad Batch” picks up shortly after Emperor Palpatine orders the execution of Order 66, a command where all republic clones kill Jedi knights. But because the titular team have a rebellious disposition and are genetically altered, they go against their programing. As such, their loyalties and usefulness are questioned by those higher up in the Empire chain of command.
“I just found it intriguing and engaging to watch a series where 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 you know, the question became, ‘What happens after the war is over? What happens to clones who all they know, um, 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,” Corbett said.
“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 not what we saw in the original trilogy, where it’s the dominance of the Empire.,” Corbett added. “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.”
One of the things that drew Corbett to “The Bad Batch” was her experience in the military and how she immediately responded to the dynamics of a closely knit group working together for a common goal. “I understand how people in the military become like brothers and sisters,” she said. “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. That’s what I try to bring to it.”
“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,” she said. 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. It is a family dynamic in real life.”
Since “The Bad Batch” takes place within the Skywalker Saga and shortly after the Age of the Republic, it needs to maintain a sense of continuity while also establishing its own story. One way they accomplish that is through the use of the same animation styles as from “The Clone Wars.” “That’s very intentional,” said Rau. “The Bad Batch is a spiritual successor to Clone
“So, we wanted to honor the style and the legacy of that. That being said, the whole team At Lucasfilm and our partners at CGCG, we’ve just tightened everything up. So, the fidelity is tighter. The style is tighter. The rigs are tighter. The way that it’s designed is still the legacy of The Clone Wars, but with a little more detail,” Rau added.
Set in the days after Clone Wars, “The Bad Batch” will take a look at a specific period of time when the Republic is transitioning to become The Galactic Empire. As such, power plays are being made and diplomatic deals are being changed in accordance to recognize the Empire’s new power. “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,” Corbett said. Of course, now that everything changes, the focus is what will become of the Clones now that they have fulfilled their purpose, especially for The Bad Batch.
These changes will have an effect not only on the team dynamics but also their identity and purpose. And not only are we seeing the team’s changing, but also how the galaxy perceives this new shift in the regime’s power. 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,” Corbett said. “And it’s kind of just laying the groundwork for
what-what everyone knows the Empire to be later on.”
But the one thing that has changed about the craftsmanship is the character work. “Clone Force 99 is kind of another step beyond what I’ve been asked to do in the Clone Wars series,” Baker said. “The Clones are the tricky part for them, is that the differentiation is much tighter between characters. Although it has to be decisive. It has to be clear.”
“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,” Baker said. “I can see them. I feel like I know them, and it actually helps that they’re further differentiated vocally, in terms of their personality and their mood. It comes off looking more as a magic trick then it does maybe with the Clones, um, but it’s still a really fascinating process as a voice actor have these scenes where I’m just talking to myself.”
“The Bad Batch” makes its debut exclusively on Disney+ on May 4, 2021.