It’s a strange time to be a Star Wars fan. On any given day, you’ll see thousands of tweets saying how they’ll never watch another minute of Star Wars again. So in a time where its impossible to please everyone, is it even possible for an animated Star Wars tv show that was last on the air in 2013 entertain Star Wars fans in 2020?
The return of Star Wars: The Clone Wars does exactly that. The first episode in season seven, titled The Bad Batch, reintroduces us to familiar characters such as Republic Clone Trooper Captain Rex and pairs them with new characters, modified clones with “desirable mutations” from an elite squad known as the Bad Batch. The action is spectacular, the story is intense and when the episode ends it leaves you wanting more. It’s exactly how Star Wars should feel, wanting to know what happens next.
Voice actor Dee Bradley Baker really shows off his skills in this episode. As the voice of an army that is a copy of one person it can be difficult to show enough difference between clones to give them their own personalities. Because of the focus on this new squad of clones the episode is almost entirely voiced by him. And he does a fantastic job showcasing their unique abilities and personalities through the voices he gives them. Only the best voice actors are able to make a conversation with themselves be entertaining television, but this performance puts Baker among the best.
I won’t spoil exactly what happens in the new episode. But know it calls back to some of the best story arcs in the series, such as Domino Squad, the Citadel and the Order 66 saga.
The animation of the series is the best its ever been. Clearly having over five years to let technology advance has allowed Dave Filoni (the apprentice of George Lucas and one of the show runners of The Mandalorian) to have his characters have less rigid facial expressions, and have the battlefield’s background feel like its really there as opposed to just being paintings. Clones that would normally keep I rewatched the 2008 movie that served as a precursor to he series and the look of the show feels like night and day.
Early on in The Clone Wars, the battles between the clone and droid armies felt more like small skirmishes. In what were supposed to be giant battles between a large number soldiers on both sides you never saw more than a handful on each side. As the show went on these battles eventually got bigger and better and started taking place over multiple episodes. The Bad Batch suffers from no such problem. Right at the opening montage makes the battle feel enormous and that there is total and complete devastation. The scene makes it feel like you are actually watching a war across the stars.
The Bad Batch is everything I hoped it would be. It focuses on returning characters that I love while introducing new ones into the mix. The action is on par with some of the greatest scenes in Star Wars. It makes me feel like that kid who first saw these characters on the big screen when he was 10 years old. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.
The final season of The Clone Wars will be released every Friday on Disney + for a total of 12 episodes ending on May 8. If you haven’t watched the entire series already, I highly recommend doing so before the series ends so you can enjoy the reveals as they happen.
It is hard to create a story that an audience will want to watch when they already know the end of the story (see the entire Skywalker Saga.) But The Clone Wars might just be what makes Star Wars fans fall in love with the saga all over again.