The wait is finally over, and “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” has officially premiered on Disney Plus in celebration of Star Wars Day. Fans of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” have been clamoring to see the continued journey of Clone Force 99 since they were introduced in the final season of that series.
Clone Force 99, more often referred to as The Bad Batch by themselves and others, takes center stage in this new animated series. While the series will begin airing on Fridays from May 7, 2021, the first episode landed on May the 4th (be with you), which is celebrated worldwide now as Star Wars Day.
While the day began as a fan-focused celebration and remained unofficial for many years, Disney began hosting Star Wars Day events at their parks back in 2013, detailed in this announcement by Disney from that time. The series finale of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” went live through Disney Plus on May 4, 2020, according to IMDB.
It’s only fitting that one year later we get to witness the return of The Bad Batch, first introduced in that final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” The debut episode was a full 70 minutes long, and there’s already a lot happening in “Star Wars: The Bad Batch.”
This is a review and recap of “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Season 1 Episode 1, which is titled “Aftermath.” This article will have SPOILERS.
The Clones Execute Order 66 Because ‘Good Soldiers Follow Orders’
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” felt drenched in the conflict of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” right from the outset, and this feeling was furthered by the familiar voice of Tom Kane as the narrator of the show. Kane was also the narrator of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” according to IMDB.
The episode began with Jedi Master Depa Billaba embroiled in a battle with the Separatist Droid Army on Kaller, but her padawan Caleb Dume arrived and stated reinforcements were right behind him. For those who recognized the voice or name of Caleb Dume but couldn’t quite place it, the character is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., who also gave his voice to Kanan Jarrus in “Star Wars Rebels,” according to IMDB.
The reason for this is that Caleb Dume is the birth name of Kanan Jarrus, though he took a different name later on. This was only the first of a few key reappearances in the premiere episode of “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” by some iconic characters we’ve seen before.
The reinforcements following Caleb Dume arrived moments after him, and it was Clone Force 99 who eliminated a massive droid resistance without much difficulty. Less than ten minutes into the episode, the directive came down from Palpatine to “execute Order 66.”The order, which was detailed as having been programmed into the clones during “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” took effect and all of the regular clones turned on Jedi Master Depa Billaba.
However, Clone Force 99 didn’t initially process the order, which Tech speculated on later in the episode. According to Tech’s analysis, it was the manipulation of the DNA in Clone Force 99 that is likely the reason they didn’t succumb to Order 66. While Echo was the only one of the group that wasn’t a genetically enhanced clone, Tech stated that damage he’d previously sustained on Skako Minor likely wiped out his behavioral modifications.
However, Order 66 did appear to affect Crosshair to some extent not long after it was delivered. Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume escaped into the forest, but Hunter took Crosshair to find and attempt to help him. When they did spot him, Crosshair fired at Dume. Hunter confronted him about it, but Crosshair insisted they’re following orders and says “good soldiers follow orders,” which is a line previously heard uttered by Tup in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” when his Order 66 inhibitor chip activated prematurely, according to Star Wars Fandom.
Dume fought back against Crosshair after being fired at and managed to kick him into a tree, which incapacitated Crosshair temporarily. As Dume fled, Hunter followed suit and caught up with him at a cliff edge where Hunter attempted to convince him to accept Hunter’s help. Dume refused before leaping across a large chasm to avoid a deep river below and successfully escaping. When Crosshair arrived moments later, Hunter lied and said he stunned the Jedi when he jumped, and that Dume didn’t survive the fall.
Omega Met Clone Force 99 in ‘Aftermath’
After the incident on Kaller, Clone Force 99 returned to their homeworld of Kamino. Shortly after their arrival, Clone Force 99 learned that the war was indeed over. Clone Force 99 attended a large gathering with other clones, at which they witnessed a hologram showing Palpatine’s infamous speech to the Galactic Senate from “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” that eliminated the Republic and formed the Galactic Empire. This gave more direct confirmation of when “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is taking place in the “Star Wars” timeline.
Shortly after witnessing that speech, Clone Force 99 met Omega in a hallway on Kamino. After a brief conversation, Kaminoan scientist Nala Se approached and explained that Omega was her medical assistant before leaving with her. Elsewhere on Kamino, we saw the arrival of Admiral Tarkin, who will eventually be known as Grand Moff Tarkin. Following his arrival, Tarkin spoke to Nala Se and Prime Minister Lama Su to explain their previous cloning contract was with the Republic, which no longer exists. Tarkin stated that the Empire’s priorities have changed, and the need for future clones was in question.
Elsewhere, Clone Force 99 arrived in the cafeteria to get some food and were spontaneously joined by Omega. After some nearby clones walked by and hurled insults that included calling the group “The Sad Batch,” Omega threw food at them. Hunter attempted to diffuse the situation, but Wrecker quickly escalated and there was an all-out brawl in the cafeteria between Clone Force 99 and all of the other clones in the room. In the brawl, one clone struck Echo hard in the head with a serving tray, and things cut to Echo waking up in a medical bay. Echo panicked upon realizing he was being scanned by a droid and hopped off the table to quickly leave the room with the rest of Clone Force 99.
Out in the hallway, Clone Force 99 was informed by one of the Shock Troopers that they needed to retrieve their gear in order to be tested through a battle simulation. The simulation itself was run with the oversight of Admiral Tarkin, who suddenly decided as Clone Force 99 was doing well to shift the simulation to the use of live ammunition. Larger droids were introduced for Clone Force 99 to fight against, and a live round quickly connected with Wrecker that confirmed to them the use of live ammunition. While things seemed dire for a moment, Tech was able to seize control of one of the simulation droids and use it to turn the tide and lead them towards victory.
Following the simulation, Admiral Tarkin approached Clone Force 99 and gave them a mission to head to the Onderon sector and eliminate separatist forces and insurgents that need to be dealt with. Just before they could leave for Onderon, Omega approached Hunter to insist she go with them and say she didn’t trust Admiral Tarkin. While Omega said Kamino is no longer safe, Hunter didn’t heed her warning and left with Clone Force 99 to pursue their mission.
After arriving on Onderon, Clone Force 99 quickly realized their mission put them on the path towards a group of civilians, children, and the elderly rather than separatist droids. Crosshair pushed Hunter to give the order so he could open fire as he had his sights on an elderly woman, but Hunter wouldn’t budge and realized they were surrounded. Clone Force 99 laid down their weapons and were taken before none other than Saw Gerrera.
Quickly identified in the episode as someone trained by Captain Rex and General Anakin Skywalker, Saw Gerrera is also seen in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and the film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” according to IMDB. After Hunter spoke to Gerrera about the situation, he decided these people were no threat and chose not to follow their orders to eliminate the civilians. Crosshair fought back against this and insisted they follow orders, but Hunter wouldn’t budge. Just before departing Onderon, Hunter spotted and shot an Imperial Probe Droid which had been spying on them.
Crosshair Betrayed Clone Force 99 in ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’
As Clone Force 99 was prepared to leave Onderon, Tech revealed that Omega was actually an enhanced clone like them. As a result, Hutner insisted they return to Kamino despite the danger so that they could rescue Omega. Immediately after arriving on Kamino and entering the hanger, Clone Force 99 was ambushed by a battalion of Shock Troopers and Admiral Tarkin.
According to Admiral Tarkin, their actions during the mission were considered treason, and he ordered them to be thrown in the brig. Fortunately, upon being thrown in the brig they discovered Omega was already in there. While Clone Force 99 was devising a plan to escape, Crosshair was taken away from the cell and tended to by Nala Se and Admiral Tarkin. It was Tarkin who noticed that Crosshair seemed to show some loyalty to the Empire and attempted to follow Order 66, and Nala Se was able to enhance his inhibitor chip and intensify the programming at Tarkin’s instruction.
Back in the brig, Tech analyzed a weak point in the cell that Wrecker was able to punch hard enough to create a small opening. Omega was able to crawl through the opening and drop down on the other side, temporarily knocking down the guards and allowing her time to pull the lever and open the cell. The remaining members of Clone Force 99 finished off the guards, and they made their way to the hangar with the goal of retrieving their gear to find Crosshair and escape as a group. As they were gearing up in the hangar, the doors opened and a group of Shock Troopers approached with Crosshair behind them in an Imperial uniform having now sided with the Empire.
After a tense standoff between Crosshair and Hunter, it was Crosshair that fired the first shot and triggered a firefight with Crosshair and the Shock Troopers fighting against the remaining members of Clone Force 99 and Omega. Crosshair ordered them to close the hangar doors to prevent Clone Force 99 from escaping, but the doors weren’t working and another shot was shown of Nala Se keeping them open. After a tense battle where Wrecker seemed badly wounded, it was a spontaneous shot by Omega that disabled Crosshair’s weapon and allowed them a window to escape.
Another scene was shown where Nala Se approached Prime Minister Lama Su and informed him that the remaining Clone Force 99 escaped along with Omega. In response, the Prime Minister said “until the Empire’s intentions are made clear, say nothing.” He appeared to be talking about the escape of Omega at that moment, but it was left somewhat vague.
Back on their ship, Omega had escaped along with Hunter, Echo, Wrecker, and Tech. After Omega mentioned that they needed to meet with their friends, Hunter said to plot a course for J-19 because “we know a guy.” The final moments of the episode saw the ship activating their hyperdrive and blasting into hyperspace with J-19 as their destination.