2023 promises to be a massive year for the Star Wars franchise on Disney+, with Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, The Acolyte, Visions Season 2, and The Mandalorian season 3 all set to air within the next year. However, fans won’t have to wait too long to get back into the universe, as the second season of The Bad Batch is set to begin airing new episodes on January 4 with a two-part premiere. Like the first season, The Bad Batch season 2 consists of 16 episodes and is set to wrap up by March 29.
The Bad Batch had an interesting path to becoming a series. While a four-part storyline about an elite group of clone troopers with genetic mutations (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) was planned for a sixth season of The Clone Wars, the show’s cancellation ended up shelving the storyline. An unfinished story reel of the arc was included on the Blu-Ray release of the Netflix season The Lost Missions, but the arc was completed in its entirety for the seventh season that aired on Disney+ in 2020. Following the conclusion of The Clone Wars, plans were made by series creator Dave Filoni for an official spinoff.
The show follows the clone troopers Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, and Echo, all of whom have special advantages that distinguish them from their brothers-in-arms. Unlike the other clones, the Bad Batch is able to fight the programming of Order 66 to execute the Jedi. They struggle to adjust to their new role in the Galactic Empire when they’re called in by Admiral Tarkin (Stephen Stanton) for an Imperial mission.
A Change Of Mission
Inspired by classic war films like The Guns of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen, The Bad Batch’s cast of characters each have their quirks that come with their respective skills. Hunter has Matt Murdoch-esque sensory abilities, Wrecker is large and strong, Tech is a computer genius, and Crosshair is an incredible marksman. Echo was a fan-favorite character on The Clone Wars who was initially killed during the siege of The Citadel. However, the storyline involving the Bad Batch revealed he had been kept alive by Separatists to analyze his brain. Now enhanced as a cyborg, Echo chooses to bid farewell to the 501st Legion and joins the Bad Batch.
The turning point for the squad occurs after they track down Saw Gerrera (Andrew Kishino), a freedom fighter who served alongside the Republic during the Clone Wars. Saw has begun developing the rebel movement that he would lead in Andor and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the Bad Batch discovers that the “insurgents” they were sent to kill are simply refugees. While Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, and Echo choose to abandon their duty, Crosshair retains his loyalty to the Empire.
Enemies and Allies
Unlike the other clones that turned on their Jedi leaders, the Bad Batch does not have the inhibitor chips that force them to blindly follow orders. However, Crosshair has a chip enhanced by Tarkin, which only sharpens his abilities and turns him against his squadmates. The Bad Batch does get a new member of their team on their homeworld of Kamino when they rescue Omega (Michelle Ang), a young female clone whose genetic makeup is different from the other replicants of Jango Fett. Over the course of the season, Omega proves herself as a worthy member of the team with her unique abilities.
The season also reunites the Bad Batch with Captain Rex, who has evaded the Empire after helping to save Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) at the end of The Clone Wars. Rex aids the Bad Batch in removing the chips that had been forcibly placed in them, and introduces them to the fellow clone escapee Gregor (who would become Rex’s ally in Rebels). With an uncertain future in the galaxy under Imperial Rule, the Bad Batch begins taking odd jobs for the Trandoshan mercenary Cid (Rhea Perlman). Cid may claim to be “in it for the money,” but she’s a former Jedi informant with no love of the Empire.
Many other characters from the larger Star Wars universe appear throughout the season. The Bad Batch initially chooses to betray their orders when they rescue the Rebels hero Caleb Dume/Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) when he’s hunted down by the other clones. Prior to his live-action appearance in The Book of Boba Fett, the infamous gunslinger Cad Bane (Corey Burton) shows up with his droid Todo 360 (Seth Green) to trade blows with the gang. Ming Na-Wen from The Mandalorian also appears as her character Fennec Shan, who ultimately helps the Bad Batch in their fight against Bane.
Other characters include the Attack of the Clones’ Kaminoans Taun We (Rena Owen) and Lama Su (Bob Bergen), the Martinez sisters Trace (Brigitte Kali) and Rafa (Elisabeth Rodriguez), Rebels hero Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), the corrupt Ryloth senator Orn Free Ta (Phil LaMarr), and the clone deserter Cut Lawquane.
A Critical Mission
One of the revelations that the Bad Batch makes during a mission for Rex is that the Empire intends to retire the clones and have them replaced with constricted soldiers that are brainwashed to serve the Empire. The old clones (who age at half the rate) will simply die out, and the new Imperial Army will be under the direct control of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). In order to completely retire the clone program, Tarkin has Vice Admiral Rampart (Noshir Dalal) destroy the cloning facility in Tipoca City on Kamino.
While inside the facility, the Bad Batch narrowly escapes from the wreckage after Crosshair surprisingly chooses to help his old squadmates. Although he ultimately chooses not to join his former allies, Crosshair seems to be leaving his brothers on better terms. Before the Bad Batch departs on their ship Marauder, Crosshair even manages to make peace with Omega, and considers them “even.” Omega appreciates that Crosshair saved AZI-3 (Ben Diskin), a Kaminoan medical droid that has been assisting them.
While the cloning facility may be destroyed, the Empire isn’t letting all the Kaminoans go quite so easily. The Chief Medical Scientist for all of Kamino, Nala Se (Gwendoline Yeo), is a maternal figure for the clones that actually helps them during their initial escape. Curiously, Nala Se is brought to a secret Imperial Facility for a top-secret project.