The clear highlight for me on Friday at the recent Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim was the showing of the “Bad Batch” story arc from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”. I know I was not the only such person in the audience to feel this way. Just as with the previous day’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” panel where Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo showed sketches, concept art, and even some scenes in story reel format, audience members were hungry and excited about new “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” material. However, as opposed to “The Untold Clone Wars” panel, this showing of “Bad Batch” was four full episodes (and not just scenes) and the crowd was super-excited for these episodes, despite them being only in story reel format and not visually completed (just like with the “Crystal Crisis on Utapau” story arc). (Also, I made sure the first thing I did on Friday was to queue up for this screening so I could get in, which I did!)
Despite having watched all of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, I had never seen any episodes in the company of anyone else. However, watching this story arc with not only other people, but a couple thousand other people, was a very special experience. Not only to watch and to cheer the show, but to also experience it for the very first time, was a really fantastic experience! Once it was over (and probably during it), I not only greatly enjoyed it – even more so than the “Crystal Crisis on Utapau” story arc – but I also wanted more episodes with this “Bad Batch” group! With the revelation from the previous day at “The Untold Clone Wars” panel that there was to be a story arc involving the “Bad Batch” with Wookiees, I think I can safely say that the entire audience not only desperately wants more episodes with the “Bad Batch”, but specifically that particular story arc featuring Wookiees and the “Bad Batch” group. Hopefully, the story arc they screened gets posted on StarWars.com so that more fans can watch it (although Dave Filoni is not sure if it’s going to be posted), because the “Bad Batch” was a very entertaining set of episodes, especially with a very enjoyable group of clone troopers.
These clone troopers known as the “Bad Batch” are not typical clone troopers – they are different. Just as we saw clone trooper 99 (in episodes “Clone Cadets” & “ARC Troopers”) as a defective clone troopers, one wonders if there were more clones that did not turn out the way they are supposed to. Well, this handful of clones look differently, think differently, and do everything else differently.
While I am not going to go in-depth in this post about the story arc, I will say that it was greatly entertaining, especially as these differently-formed clone troopers have different skills, different aptitudes, and different senses of humor, which adds a different dimension. One particularly amusing moment is when Anakin catches a glimpse of the bad batch’s transport nose art (reminiscent of WWII), which is Padmé. While the guys appreciate that senator from Naboo, Anakin tells Captain Rex, “That is not staying there!”
I don’t want to share everything about the story arc, but I hope to write up about the story arc once it goes on starwars.com (I sure hope it eventually gets posted), but the main focus was we get to see ARC trooper Echo and see what has happened to him (we last saw him in “Counterattack”). While these troopers are like the Dirty Dozen, which came as an idea from George Lucas, as writer Brent Friedman said, this story arc was like “Saving Private Ryan” meets “Dirty Dozen”.
While Filoni was asked during the follow-up Q & A about the canonicity of “Bad Batch” and didn’t know, I had the opportunity to ask Leland Chee following the panel and he said that both “The Bad Batch” and “Crystals on Utapau” were, indeed, canon.
This screening and panel were a very special event at Star Wars Celebration and certainly a great experience!
Here’s a couple of great posts about the screening and panel: