By George Bate
The newest Star Wars series hits Disney+ this month with Star Wars: The Bad Batch, following the adventures of Clone Force 99 in a quickly changing galaxy. We recently had a chance to attend a press conference previewing the new series hosted by Ash Crossan of Entertainment Tonight with supervising director and executive producer Brad Rau, head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett, and the voice of the Bad Batch Dee Bradley Baker. Here are some of the highlights from the press event.
In providing an overview of the members of Clone Force 99, Dee Bradley Baker identified Wrecker as his favorite of the batch.
BAKER: It’s-it’s fun to be Wrecker, because he’s so honest and…so clear and funny. Uh, but I have great affection for all of them. They’re all very interesting fellows. Uh, but Wrecker’s-he’s probably the furthest away from me as-from all of them. [LAUGH] And, uh, and he’s great fun.
Brad Rau and Jennifer Corbett spoke about what it was like to collaborate with Dave Filoni on the series.
CORBETT: I got to work with Dave on Star Wars Resistance, which was such a great experience. And getting the chance to develop the series with him, uh, you know, it’s kinda like a master class in writing Star Wars? And he, you know, with this being a-a sequel series of sorts, to-to the Clone Wars, it was kind of crucial that-that he be, you know, involved in this process very much. Because these are characters that he’s created and it’s the world that he knows, but, um, every-every day, every script is, uh, is a learning experience.
RAU: Dave-he’s awesome. I’ve known Dave for a long time. Uh, when he was starting Clone Wars, I first met him up at-up at the ranch-Skywalker Ranch, and I happened to just be starting my own animation studio at that time. So I was unable to join the force of the Clone Wars. It was one of my regrets that I rectified later on in Rebels, to join as an episodic director. And then on Resistance. And he’s-he’s an awesome guy, a good friend. Really good, you know, I couldn’t think of a better mentor. Especially for Star Wars. The stuff he tells us every day, is-is fantastic. And amazing. And yeah, just-just collaborating with him and-and-and being able to work with you, Jen, so closely on this show’s been awesome. It’s been a dream come true.”
One of the things head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett found interesting about the show was the possibility of exploring the immediate aftermath of Order 66 from the perspective of Clone Troopers.
CORBETT: We’ve seen the Clone Wars where it’s the height of-of the Clone Troopers doing what they’re meant to do, and what they were created for. And you know, the question became, “What happens after the war is over? What happens to clones who all they know, um, is being soldiers?” Especially for the Bad Batch who do things differently as it is with the Republic and how they fit in once it becomes the Empire…it was interesting to just sort of talk about the transition from the Republic to the Empire and what that looks like, because it’s not-it’s not what we saw in the original trilogy, wh-where it’s the dominance of the Empire.
The team behind the Bad Batch spoke about similarities between their show and The Mandalorian, especially in relation to the mysterious new character Omega.
BAKER: It’s interesting, uh, in terms of the-of the story and the writing, to have this kind of personal relationship with the younger character. And to see how that-how that changes and how they accommodate that and how-how that works. Because it’s more of like an uncle/niece, or a father/child, uh, dynamic, but not entirely. Because Omega is her own interesting, um, uh, potential of-of powers. [LAUGH] Maybe. And, uh, and so it’s interesting to see all of that unfold. But it, I think, it connects you to-to the story in-in a personal way. So it’s not just an action story.
RAU: To have these clinical, best of the best soldiers as suddenly fish out of water in this changing galaxy, and to have this kid that they do, um, look to, to help raise in a very parental way. And-and it’s a two way street, honestly, the way-the way that that works, that none of them are really equipped to go out into the world. And how do they, you know, how do they eat? They don’t have a mess hall to go to. How do they get their gear fixed? How do they get fuel for their-for their ship? These are things that are, “Wait a minute, oh yeah, we didn’t-we didn’t have to deal with that la-last week, now we gotta deal with it.” Are all things we get into. It’s really interesting.
The Bad Batch also evokes Rogue One in being a story independent of Sith and Jedi and more focused on reluctant, rag-tag soldiers.
RAU: It is really interesting, kind of off of what we were just saying, to deal with this family dynamic. To have the stories be emotionally charged, and emotionally based gives, um, gives the action a lot-a lot more texture, honestly. ‘Cause I mean, we-let’s face it, we’re blowing stuff up and we’re, you know, [LAUGH] we’re having fun doing that but, to have the emotional, um, context of that is-is the challenge, I think, in any of these stories. And it-for us, I think, it helps that we are coming into characters that are familiar and yet, we don’t know that much about. And it gives us room to kind of play around with how those characters develop.
The team behind the scenes of The Bad Batch were impressed with the range and versatility of Dee Bradley Baker’s performances as the five titular characters.
CORBETT: It’s impressive to watch him do it in-in the room, because when we first started, I thought he was gonna go a character at a time. And just watching him like, act out a scene with himself, with all of these Clones. But and-but there’s no pause. He just goes right into it. And I-I was blown away. And each-each time we do one of these record sessions, I’m-I’m just amazed at Dee’s talent.
RAU: Same. Yeah, some-sometimes I accidentally say, “Okay, so Wrecker, oh wait, I mean, wait, Dee.” I’m losing my brain.
Corbett commented on how she drew on her experience in the United States Navy during the writing process of the series.
CORBETT: I understand [LAUGH] how, um, people in the military become like, brothers and sisters very closely when you’re sent on missions together. When you’re in close quarters and kinda the-the camaraderie and-and also the banter that comes with living with people, so closely, in high stress situations. So, I think, you know, that’s what I try to bring to it, is how-how this squad, even though they are these elite soldiers, they are this-this family. But they don’t have to agree all the time, and all the things. And all the different perspectives that each of them brings, because they’re all so very different. And, um, I think that speaks to, you know, the military. No one comes from the same background, everybody has their different reasons for doing what they’re doing. And, um, it is-it is a family dynamic in real life, so, yeah.
Hearing Dee Bradley Baker, Brad Rau, and Jennifer Corbett take a deep dive into their upcoming series was exciting to say the least. The Bad Batch appears to be yet another interesting installment in Star Wars canon, offering new insights into Clone Force 99 and their experiences in a galaxy post-Order 66.
Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for more coverage of Star Wars: The Bad Batch!
Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm