In 2005, Star Wars creator George Lucas approached Dave Filoni, one of the directors on Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, to begin work on an animated series set in that very famous galaxy far, far away. That decision would prove to be one of the best things to happen to Star Wars since Luke Skywalker sold his X-34 landspeeder to follow old Obi-Wan on some damned fool idealistic crusade.
The 2008 series that would eventuate from that meeting, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, would not only serve to bridge the gap between Episodes II and III by providing an expansive look at the famed Clone Wars conflict, which ravaged the galaxy and led to the creation of the Galactic Empire, but it would also prove to become a beloved part of the broader Star Wars legacy and find itself resurrected after being cancelled twice, reaching an impressive seven season run against all odds. Now, just as The Clone Wars final episode aired last year on May 4, its legacy will be reborn anew with Star Wars: The Bad Batch premiering exactly one year later.
This new series is set to follow the antics of Clone Force 99, an elite team of specialist clone troopers with genetic mutations dubbed “The Bad Batch”, who first appeared in The Clone Wars season seven. Created from plans first laid by the founder, George Lucas himself, Clone Force 99 was originally intended to appear in an earlier season of The Clone Wars and existed only in unfinished story reels before Filoni was able to rescue them from the cutting room floor for a four-episode arc in last year’s final season on Disney+.
Now, in that wreckage has been left by the conclusion of The Clone Wars, this new series will see the clone team on the run from the newly formed Galactic Empire, as they take on a series of mercenary missions which require their unique skillsets. When promoting the show at last year’s Disney Investor Day, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy likened the concept to cult ’80s TV series The A-Team, and watching the trailer it is easy to see the comparison.
Meanwhile, Dave Filoni finds himself increasingly in demand at Lucasfilm, as he is set to work on not only the highly anticipated season three of The Mandalorian, but he also preparing to helm his own live-action Ahsoka series. Nonetheless, he is still returning as Executive Producer on this latest animated adventure, which will be directed by Star Wars: Resistance’s Brad Rau and penned by screenwriter Jennifer Corbett (NCIS, Star Wars: Resistance).
Returning from his numerous roles throughout The Clone Wars, voice actor Dee Bradley Baker will continue to provide the voices of all the various clone troopers, including the five Bad Batch members: Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, Hunter and Echo. It is also anticipated that fan-favourite clone trooper Captain Rex is set to make an appearance.
Connecting the time periods throughout the ever-growing Star Wars universe and joining Baker is none other than The Mandalorian’s Ming-Na Wen. Wen will be lending her voice to a younger version of her bounty hunter character Fennec Shand, who is also set to appear in the upcoming Book of Boba Fett live-action series due out at the end of this year. Other key returning characters include Grand Moff Tarkin (voiced by Stephen Stanton), and Saw Gerrera (voiced by Andrew Kishino).
The first 75-minute special episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch premiered on Disney+ today, May the 4th a.k.a. Star Wars Day, with episode two set to follow on May 7.