From almost the moment of its cancellation in 2013, fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars have begged and pleaded for a proper conclusion to the animated series that chronicled the titular conflict in-between Episode II and Episode III of the Star Wars saga. Against all odds, Disney finally agreed, and now season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars has finally arrived with its first episode, “The Bad Batch.”
Except for a few minor differences, the episode picks up like the series never went away. Almost everything is the same: the opening credits, the announcer describing the plot situation, even all of the original voice actors have returned. And the background animation for the planets and alien landscapes is as gorgeous as ever. The only noticeable difference, so far, is the animation style of the characters. Disney is clearly working with a different format then the one used by LucasFilm during the original series’ run, however the character models are clearly based on their older counterparts. In other words, everyone looks not quite the same, but they’re still recognizable.
The plot of the episode is interesting as well, as it has been literally gestating for a very long time. An episode focusing on the titular “Bad Batch” had made it as far as the animatics stage of production (unmoving figures serve as stand-ins for the finished characters) when Disney shut the series down. Some of the character designs are clearly similar to the earlier production reels, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising to learn that Disney recycled most, if not all of the original plot for this final season. That being said, how much of the plot you follow will depend on how much of the series’ you’ve seen. If you haven’t seen, say, the season 3 episodes that include a clone trooper named “Echo”, then the episode’s big revelation might not mean that much for you. However, the episode does work to mitigate that by dropping plot details along the way, so it’s not as big an issue as it might have been.
The contrast between Rex and Cody and the “Bad Batch” clones is interesting to observe, if only because we’ve never seen any clones like these before. Hitherto the only “defective” clone we’ve ever met is 99 (first appearing in the season 3 episode “Clone Cadets”), and he was nothing like this group. They’re different, sure, but they’re also incredibly capable fighters, which is why they’re brought in for this episode. It’s interesting to see how they all work together. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we see the Bad Batch in action.
“The Bad Batch” gets season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars off to a roaring start, and it really feels like the series never went away.
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