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‘The Bad Batch’ explained: How Disney’s new series fits in the ‘Star Wars’ canon

UPDATED: Thu., May 6, 2021

By Tracy Brown Los Angeles Times

Disney+ celebrated Star Wars Day with a brand new “Star Wars” series. “Star Wars: The Bad Batch,” which debuted Tuesday – or May the 4th – on the streaming platform, is an animated series centered on a group of clone troopers introduced during the final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

“The Bad Batch” follows the members of Clone Force 99 – an experimental unit of highly skilled “defective” clone soldiers – in the aftermath of the Clone Wars as the Galactic Empire led by Emperor Palpatine is coming into power.

Here’s a quick refresher on everything you need to know.

Who are ‘The Bad Batch’?

The Bad Batch is a group of misfit clone soldiers introduced during Season 7 of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Considered “defective” because they are not identical to the rest of their clone trooper brothers, each one has a uncommon mutation that gives them an edge over others.

Hunter, the leader of the group, has enhanced senses that makes him an excellent tracker; he can even feel electromagnetic frequencies to search out specific locations. He’s also the group’s moral compass.

Wrecker is the team’s muscle. In addition to being the largest and strongest of the Bad Batch, he finds joy in all the destructive action of their missions. He is not so much a fan of heights, however.

Tech, as his name suggests, is the group’s tech whisperer. In addition to being an expert hacker and engineer who has a way with machines, he is always absorbing and retaining information.

Crosshair is the silent-but-deadly type. He’s not very chatty, but he’s an expert marksman and sniper.

Echo is the Bad Batch’s newest addition. Originally a “reg” – or “regular clone” – Echo was captured by enemy forces whose experiments turned him into a droid-clone hybrid. He joined the Bad Batch after he was rescued.

Remind me about the clones

The war between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists who broke with the Republic was called the Clone Wars (introduced in the prequel films, expanded on in the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” series). Fighting for the Republic were the clone troopers led by the Jedi.

Secretly commissioned in the name of the Republic by a rogue Jedi, these clone soldiers were created on the planet Kamino and based on the genetic material of the bounty hunter Jango Fett (the father of Boba Fett, who is also a clone).

These clones were loyal to the Jedi and the Republic for years, but they were all part of the Sith’s plan to destroy the Jedi and take over. All clones were secretly programmed with a protocol that would turn them against the Jedi once initiated.

What was Order 66?

This top secret protocol, programmed into a chip inside each clone’s brain, was called Order 66. When Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) executed this directive, the clones immediately identified all Jedi as traitors to be executed.

Most of the Jedi were killed once Order 66 was activated, including the young children training to become Padawans, and the Jedi Order was eradicated.

Those who survived – such as Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kanan Jarrus (from “Star Wars Rebels”) – had to go into hiding because everyone suspected of being a Jedi was killed while the Galactic Empire was in charge.

Will ‘The Bad Batch’ have anything to do with ‘The Mandalorian’?

Maybe. “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is an immediate sequel to “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which means it takes place shortly after the events of “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (2005). “The Mandalorian” is set a couple decades later after the events of “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983).

It has already been confirmed, however, that a young Fennec Shand will be appearing in “The Bad Batch.” A bounty hunter who was introduced during the first season of “The Mandalorian,” Fennec (portrayed by Ming-Na Wen) returned in Season 2 working alongside Boba Fett.

At the very least, it seems “The Bad Batch” will expand on Fennec’s back story before she’s set to appear in “The Mandalorian” spinoff “The Book of Boba Fett.”

Do I need to watch other ‘Star Wars’ shows to understand ‘The Bad Batch’?

Technically, no. Although “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is a direct continuation of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” viewers should be able to follow the story without having exhaustive knowledge of every “Star Wars” film and TV series.

But viewers interested in “The Bad Batch’s” introduction can check out the first four episodes of “The Clone Wars” Season 7. That said, series like “Star Wars Rebels” and “The Mandalorian” have shown how “Star Wars” shows build upon existing lore by featuring characters or locations that can be recognized by those who have watched other titles from the franchise.

Similarly, some familiar faces appear in “The Bad Batch.” The opening scene of the series premiere, for example, will definitely hold a different significance to those who watched “Rebels.”

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