As the series begins, the Clone Wars are coming to an end, one of the most fertile narrative windows in the “Star Wars” timeline. Yet as Emperor Palpatine invokes Order 66 – prompting the clone army to turn on the Jedi – members of the Bad Batch don’t respond in the same way, potentially setting them on a path at odds with this new galactic order.
Wisely, the extra-long 72-minute premiere incorporates a few familiar faces, including a younger version of Imperial officer Tarkin (not yet elevated to Grand Moff status), another potential benefit of this moment in the trilogies.
Yet that episode and the second in this series – developed under Dave Filoni, the keeper of “Star Wars” animation as well as an executive producer of “The Mandalorian” – are understandably devoted to the core characters, which include the group’s leader Hunter and the bruising, super-strong wrecker, basically the Mr. Fantastic and the Thing of this outfit. In a clever twist, all the main characters, being clones, are voiced by one actor, the remarkably versatile Dee Bradley Baker.
A child (not to be confused with the child) also gets involved in the story, garnishing the martial aspect – and there’s no shortage of action – with a dollop of heart.
Besides, “The Bad Batch” considered a tried-and-true development strategy in television: When programmers head into battle, they seek to improve the odds by making minor modifications to something that works, then send in the clones.
“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” premieres May 4 on Disney +, with new episodes every Friday beginning May 7.