My Four Dads
The ragtag soldiers of Clone Force 99 return in The Bad Batch season two
EMPEROR PALPATINE doesn’t do sentiment. So while his Clone Army was instrumental in defeating separatist forces and all but wiping out the Jedi, the newly formed Galactic Empire is doing its best to create a hostile environment for its lab-grown soldiers.
In the first season of Clone Wars spin-off The Bad Batch, we saw ordinary humans being conscripted as protostormtroopers, and the cloning facilities on Kamino ruthlessly destroyed by the Empire. For Hunter, Tech, Wrecker and Echo – aka the specialist Clone operatives of the eponymous Batch – the only sensible course of action is to lay low, while working muscle-for-hire jobs for former Jedi informant Cid.
“When we first meet them in season two, a little bit of time has passed,” says head writer Jennifer Corbett, reluctant to confirm exactly how long. “The Bad Batch are in an interesting situation right now where they’re off the Empire’s radar. That is a blessing and a curse, because while they’re not, in the beginning, being sought after, how long can they avoid doing missions that attract the Empire’s attention?”
“The Empire is everywhere and growing, so that’s easier said than done,” chips in supervising director Brad Rau. “The Bad Batch are still working for Cid, but they are very careful about what missions they take. They’re questioning things.”
The Bad Batch is set in the immediate aftermath of the Old Republic consuming the Empire, meaning most citizens of that galaxy far, far away have little idea of the “joys” Palpatine’s reign has in store. As Clone Force 99 make their way through the universe, however, it’s going to be harder and harder to turn a blind eye to Imperial oppression.
“We’re so early into the age of the Empire that I think some planets don’t view the Empire as bad,” explains Corbett. “But as Clone Troopers, I think the Bad
At the heart of it, The Bad Batch is a story about the Clones
Batch have a unique perspective on what this new regime is.”
In season one, their brother Crosshair stayed fully committed to the Empire, but the Batch aren’t ready to give up on their former comrade just yet.
“These are friends who have been through missions together for years,” says Corbett, “and who doesn’t have a friend they’ve had a falling out with who they hope they’ll see eye-to-eye with again? I don’t think they ever want to give up on someone they viewed as a brother.”
But despite remaining loyal to the Empire’s cause, Crosshair may have to deal with being surplus to Imperial requirements when the show returns.
“It’s something we definitely get into in the narrative of season two,” explains Rau. “How Crosshair’s treated by the Empire, how he feels about that, and how things may or may not change is at the core of some really good episodes.
“At the heart of it, The Bad Batch is a story about the Clones,” he continues. “As well as the Bad Batch, we deal with the Clones as a whole to see what their fate is. In some ways it’s tragic, in some ways it’s triumphant, but we wanted to get into all the facets of it.”
Unsurprisingly, the show will continue to explore the Bad Batch’s relationship with Omega, the young Clone who helped them to escape from Kamino, and subsequently joined their ranks.
“We have so much fun with these tough guy soldiers as the dads of Omega,” says Rau. “In season one it was a new thing for them. Now that time has passed, we’re seeing how they’ve settled into those roles as a bunch of dads.”
Crucially, the show has yet to explain why the Kaminoans created Omega, a seemingly unique female Clone of Jango Fett, who ages at the standard rate, and wasn’t bred for war. “We definitely continue with learning about Omega’s background, and the reasons why she was with [cloners] Nala Se and Lama Su on Kamino,” Corbett teases. “But the Batch don’t care what she is. All they know is that she’s their sister, their squad member, and that’s it for them.”
Omega is also the sister of one Boba Fett – you may have heard of him – and has already had a run-in with the bounty hunter’s future partner-in-crime Fennec Shand. Even so, Corbett is quick to shoot down Red Alert’s suggestion that Omega might go looking for Jango’s most famous son. “Where Boba Fett is at this moment is a very different path to Omega’s. They’re on different journeys at the moment.”
It is, however, safe to assume that we’ll learn more about the final scene of season one, where Nala Se met an Imperial scientist wearing the same uniform as The Mandalorian’s resident geneticist, Dr Pershing.
“That’s not a coincidence,” confirms Rau, “but I don’t want to talk too much about what’s going on there. We’ve got to leave some things in the dark, but we do get into all of that, one hundred per cent.” RE
The Bad Batch season two is on Disney+ from 4 January.