TV Review: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ is Beautiful, Engaging, But Way Too Long

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Credit: Disney Plus

Disney’s Star Wars: The Bad Batch is an original Star Wars show following the titular group in a post-Order 66 world, as the gang of Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Echo and Omega find themselves having to survive a rapidly changing galaxy. The series is excellently made, with time and money clearly spent in all areas of production. However, the series could have reduced it’s episode count, and has an over-reliance on cameos from previous series. 

Dee Brady Baker again proves his talent as a voice actor. Once again reprising his role as all of the clone troopers in the series, he takes on the bigger challenge of voicing the clones of the Bad Batch, AKA almost all of our leads. Each voice he creates for them is unique, with Hunter and Echo being closer to the standard clone trooper, Wrecker sounding like an oversized child, Tech adopting a British-inspired accent (accompanied by an equally British dry sense of humour), and Crosshair’s slow, precise way of speaking. The group has been well-developed since their introduction, feeling less silly than they did in The Clone Wars, allowing the Batch to properly engage with the gravity of their numerous situations. However, much of the focus goes to Hunter, Crosshair and Omega, leaving Tech and Echo somewhat sidelined.

While the series primarily focuses on legacy characters, that isn’t to say there aren’t any new additions. Omega is a loveable kid, and thankfully skips the annoying phase that both Ahsoka Tano and Ezra went through in The Clone Wars and Rebels, respectively. Her voice is given to us by Michelle Ang, who quickly makes the audience root for Omega with her childlike charm, whether that’s playing with dirt for the first time in the second episode, or showing Hera around the Havoc Marauder later on. She also imbues Omega with relatable human emotion, shown brilliantly at the end of episode fourteen, passionately imploring the rest of the Bad Batch go back for Hunter when he is captured by the Empire.

This series also features many cameos from both prior Lucasfilm animated projects, The Clone Wars and Rebels, with Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand from The Mandalorian and the upcoming Book of Boba Fett also making a few appearances. While these cameos are fun and are often impactful to the plot (Rex, Saw and Tarkin), others are merely fan service (Cad Bane, Shand), while others contradict prior Star Wars canon (Caleb/Kanan, and Orn Free Taa). While the series is very much tied to previous media, it often feels like it’s following a cameo-of-the-week format, which restricts it from being its own thing. 

The series is beautifully animated; Lucasfilm has further developed the gorgeous style of The Clone Wars’ final season, highlighting both the effort put into this production, and the advancement of the company’s animation studios. Another aspect of the show’s production that deserves praise is the Kiners musical score, which cleverly includes callbacks to recognisable John Williams themes, such as the Stormtrooper theme, and the music that accompanies Obi-Wan’s discovery of Kamino in Attack of the Clones. In the way of original music, Crosshairs’ theme brings terror into the fold, whereas Omega’s is suitably uplifting. They deserve much commendation for their work, as it often goes unnoticed. 

There are several standout episodes. The premiere is a great introduction, firstly by being an hour-long treat for viewers, and secondly by perfectly setting the tone for the series to come. Episodes seven and eight deserve praise for their story and character beats, bringing fan-favourite Captain Rex back into the fold, and highlighting Crosshair’s brutality, whilst episode fifteen conversely showcases his humanity, and closes with a sad note that is bound to make audiences shed a tear. However, there are a few that miss the mark. Episode thirteen deserves particular ire, because it attempts to introduce new concepts to the world quite late into the show’s run – ones that aren’t referenced again in the series. It is clear that stories in which the Empire feature heavily are of a higher quality than the numerous bounty hunter-centric episodes, perhaps because they further flesh out the wider Star Wars galaxy in an era not seen on screen before. The Kaminoan subplot is initially very intriguing, but drags over the course of the series, and would have been better served had the series been shorter, or if the Kaminoans simply got more to do. However, the conclusion itself is extremely ominous, and will likely be built upon in the second season. 

Overall, the series is successful in exploring the immediate rise of the Empire, but there are moments where the show drags, and ultimately sixteen episodes is too much to fill. Some are left with very little material to push the plot forward. Both the music and animation are sublime, and the showrunners very cleverly leave some dangling threads for the second season to resolve. It is a must watch for those interested in the world of Star Wars.

Words by Kieran Burt

The Bad Batch is available now on Disney+.


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