Disney Plus is celebrating Star Wars Day in style this May 4th, as the streaming platform has dropped the series premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the latest animated show set in a galaxy far, far away. A follow-up to The Clone Wars, it brings back the titular Clone Force 99 – after their debut in 2020’s TCW season 7 – as they adjust to the rule of the Empire following the Fall of the Republic.
The 70-minute pilot, titled “Aftermath,” wore its connections to the wider SW universe on its sleeve, revisiting the tragedy of Order 66 from the perspective of the squad, as well as exploring the origins of Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume, who fans know better as Kanan Jarrus from Star Wars Rebels. There were cameos from a few other popular characters, too, such as a hologram of Emperor Palpatine, Rogue One rebel Saw Gerrera and Admiral (not yet Grand Moff) Tarkin.
This teases that The Bad Batch is going to be filled with iconic figures from across the franchise, and while that does appear to be the case, the series will steer clear of fan service for the sake of it. Head writer Jennifer Corbett spoke with Entertainment Weekly and promised that there will be more “familiar faces” to come, but said that the creators resisted the temptation to throw in “all the action figures” and made sure that every cameo was “purposeful.”
“Because we’re all such massive Star Wars fans on the team, it was very tempting to want to just play with everyone possible,” Corbett said “But we had to check ourselves and make sure that the people that do come into the story, it has to be purposeful and why we’re incorporating them in this episode and how it relates in terms of the batches journey. Because otherwise, as fun as all these characters are, it might just be fan service if we’re using all the action figures, but it’s really serving no point.”
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Corbett explained that every returning character was “very, very planned out” as well, saying:
“You will see some familiar faces and it was very, very planned out and thought out of why our team specifically interacts with them because where we are in the timeline, there’s several people out there that they could cross paths with,” she added.
This is a similar approach to that taken by the producers of The Mandalorian, which brought back the likes of Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett and even Luke Skywalker in its second season. This matching outlook isn’t all that surprising when you remember that Dave Filoni is an exec producer on both projects, and given this increasingly synergy across the Star Wars universe, it’s easy to imagine that The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian could feed into each other going forward.
Don’t miss the latest series set in that galaxy far, far away as it continues this Friday before rolling out the rest of its 16-episode first season weekly on Disney Plus.