The darkest era in the ‘Star Wars’ timeline features the franchise’s most inspiring heroism.
Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines The Bad Batch’s season two trailer and pulls out the most interesting moments.
I recently had a conversation with a filmmaker (not naming names just yet, but watch this space in the very near future) who struggled to articulate his relationship with hope. It’s ugly out there, friends. Every day, something awful arises. Humanity seems compelled to eat itself, and the planet is itching to give us the heave-ho. How do we pull ourselves from the bed each morning? This unnamed filmmaker explained that he could only do it by focusing on the goodhearted who battle while evil surrounds them. In their fight, he found his own.
The Bad Batch operates during the darkest days in the Star Wars timeline. The Republic is in ruins. The Jedi are dead or dying. The Empire stands with its boot on the galaxy’s neck, and the Rebellion is years away. The animated Star Wars adventures have always used our knowledge of the original trilogy and the prequels to their advantage. Never have kid cartoons been so dreadful, and as a result, they feature some of the most inspiring heroism the franchise has to offer.
At Star Wars Celebration this past weekend, Lucasfilm premiered The Bad Batch‘s second season trailer. What you find within are the same ragtag Clone Force 99 troopers struggling to survive in a universe that no longer wants them but desperately needs them. Hunter, Omega, and their pals reevaluate their purpose as the Empire tightens its grip. Survival is victory, but what comes after? They have a special set of skills, and many could use them.
What we see in the trailer above are the enhanced Clone Troopers starting to take a stand against the tyranny that rejected them. The Rebellion lives in their words, their actions, and their uniforms. The Bad Batch have lost, but they’re not giving up. In fact, the worse the odds seem, the more emboldened they become. The knowledge that their victory is far, far away does not make their mission dull; it makes it the most motivating one fought in the saga. The Bad Batch are the best hope Star Wars has ever seen because their triumph belongs to the future, and it will come whether they live to see it or not.
Will the season two trailer make Bad Batch fans of those who are not already invested? Not sure. Maybe. Although, there are several moments in the trailer that should pique the interest of the casual Star Wars fan. A Wookie with a lightsaber? Hell yeah, we’ll get to it, and six other moments that got this Clone junkie’s blood pumping.
The Bad Batch Wear their Rebellion
Lucasfilm Animation has come a long way since The Clone Wars movie premiered in 2008. These shows are utterly stunning these days, featuring several breathtaking vistas like this one. However, the most important colors in The Bad Batch are the ones Clone Force 99 slather on their armor.
Last season, the crew wore fairly grim Republic costumes peppered with maroon here and there. A little color, but not as much as the other Clone Troopers. Now, in season two, we’ve had a bit of a time jump. As the Empire sweeps across the cosmos, the leftover Clone Troopers are forced to ditch their colors for the lifeless Stormtrooper black and white motif.
In response, Clone Force 99 have embraced a much more radiant look. We’ve got orange, teal, yellow, maroon, and more. They want no one confused over what side of the Force their fighting for. You cannot mistake them for Imperial nitwits when they kick down the door, and that bravado is all the more impressive considering what era they’re batting inside. They make targets of their bodies.
The Emperor Announces an End to The Clone Wars
Early in The Bad Batch season two trailer, we glimpse Clone Force 99’s youngest member, Omega, sneaking through the Imperial Senate. The Emperor rises from below, dead center, his favorite position from the prequels. Projected on a screen behind him, Omega sees Kamino in ruins. The catastrophe climaxed The Bad Batch season one, representing the final nail in the Clone Wars’ coffin. The old battle is done. They got to leave it behind and meet the new one.
Not only that, The Bad Batch season two should explore the Emperor’s future cloning plans. His evil designs lead to Grogu’s experimentation before The Mandalorian and Snoke’s creation before The Force Awakens. And what role do Clone Force 99, particularly Omega, play in that strategy? They were the first tinkered on, beyond being Jango Fett duplicates. Their success probably gave the Emperor the green light on his clone schemes.
Scorch is Back
Scorch is a holdback from Star Wars Legends. He first appeared in the video game Republic Commando, which showcased Delta Squad. Think of them as you would the Space Marines from James Cameron’s Aliens. Ultimate badasses. Canonically, Scorch first appeared in The Clone Wars episode, “Witches of the Mist,” where he retrieved the corpses of two Jedi struck down by Count Dooku’s apprentice, Savage Opress.
We last saw Scorch in The Bad Batch‘s fourteenth episode. On Daro, the Clone Commando helped the Empire train their Stormtrooper conscripts. It seems unlikely that he’ll see the error of his ways and join up with Clone Force 99. Hunter really did give him a run for his money, but maybe season two will give Scorch a few more lines and fill out his motivation. Is he just another Crosshair, where orders trump friendship?
Commander Cody Returns Too
Scorch coming back is cool and all, but Commander Cody’s return is downright epic. The Clone Trooper, who fought alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels, has been absent for several years. In the trailer, we first see him decked out in his orange armor, blasting unknown assailants alongside Crosshair. Later on, we catch a few sorrowful glimpses of Cody decked in the black and white duds. In those sequences, he doesn’t seem too happy with his Imperial station.
Scorch aligning himself with Clone Force 99 seems improbable. Cody doing so seems necessary. While we never saw Cody with Captain Rex in Star Wars: Rebels, we hope the two of them can get together. Both Clone Troopers know what it’s like to turn their blasters on their Jedi partners. Rex found a way to redeem himself in Ahsoka Tano’s eyes. We can hope Cody gets to do the same with Obi-Wan.
Gungi Lights Up in The Bad Batch
While many Jedi died during Order 66, we also know that several found escape. Thankfully, one of those who succeeded in flight was the Wookiee Jedi youngling, Gungi. The character is another popular supporting player from The Clone Wars. In season five, the youngling and four others traveled with Ahsoka Tano and Master Yoda to Illum. They were supposed to partake in the Gathering, a ritual that would induct them into Padawan status. However, the pirate scoundrel Hondo interrupted their celebration, and the younglings had to prove their worth in proper combat. Gungi did his best.
The Bad Batch season two trailer reveals that Gunji is not only alive but still kicking butt. We get two shots. One where he’s igniting his green saber and another where he’s charging into blaster fire. He’s still little more than a kid, but his courage is enough to inspire a legion.
One Wookiee is not Enough
General Tarfful is the Wookiee who got Yoda off Kashyyyk when the Emperor executed Order 66. He crushed a lot of Battle Droids in Revenge of the Sith and it appears his success rate at slaughtering enemies will not wane anytime soon. We also know that Kashyyyk is one of the planets that suffers the most during Imperial rule. The Wookiees become their slaves, and leaders like Tarfful are their greatest threats. It would be devastating to see him fall during The Bad Batch. Our hope is that he and Gungi remain the face of a never-ending resistance.
Those attending Star Wars Celebration witnessed this entire action sequence play out. In it, Omega and Tech defend themselves from numerous crab critters looking to make meals from their flesh. It’s a fun, bright romp, mostly showcasing how Omega has fully evolved into a real-deal fighter alongside the rest.
Additionally, the sequence continues the franchise’s longstanding tradition of keeping Ray Harryhausen’s aesthetic front and center. The little snappers feel straight outta Mysterious Island, not only in design but in movement. The digital artists clearly work tirelessly to maintain the glitchy smooth motion perfected by the stop-motion maestro. Star Wars must keep its eyes on the past as it pushes forward: B-Movies masquerading as A-Pictures.
The Bad Batch season one is now streaming on Disney+. Season two starts sometime this Fall.
Related Topics: Star Wars, Star Wars Explained, Star Wars: The Bad Batch
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