Every time an episode of The Clone Wars lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the first episode of season seven – The Bad Batch. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.
“Embrace others for their differences, for that makes you whole”
The battle for Anaxes! One of the Republic’s largest shipyards is under attack from Admiral Trench’s Separatist forces. Jedi Generals Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker lead a two-pronged assault on the ground and in the air.
But after weeks of heated battle and mounting losses, the Republic’s grip on Anaxes begins to slip away….
When The Clone Wars ended back in 2013, after its big screen debut and 5 successful seasons, fans could be forgiven for believing the show to be dead and buried. The 13 episodes that made up The Lost Missions were an unexpected surprise, a sixth season after the Disney purchase and the imminent launch of Star Wars Rebels, but just as fans in 1983 hardly dared dream of episodes 7, 8 and 9, so Clone Wars fans believed the show was done. Finished on Cartoon Network and revived by Netflix, the news in 2018 that 12 more episodes would be completed and released on Disney Plus in 2020 was a genuine surprise and that day is now here.
As a gift to its (thankfully) persistent and faithful fans, the first episode of the seventh and final season doesn’t bother to recap or dive into exposition. Instead, it throws us into the action as we journey to the Core World planet of Anaxes, on the Perlemian Trade Route. Loyal to the Republic, Anaxes is attacked by Admiral Trench and it’s here we join our heroes as Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker oversee a gruelling, weeks long battle that looks destined to end in failure until Rex realises that their strategy is being outwitted at every turn. He suggests a mission behind enemy lines and brings in Clone Force 99, better known as the Bad Batch of Hunter, Wrecker, Tech and Crosshair.
There’s an immense confidence in just diving back into the battlefront like this, the shows debut episode on Disney Plus. It benefits from prior knowledge of events but is no less effective without them and as such wastes none of its 23 minutes hand-holding us through the plot. Awash with beautifully rendered imagery and accompanied by a lush soundtrack this is The Clone Wars dialled up a notch. The animation is a tad crisper, the design and execution just that bit smoother than at the start of the last decade. How much this cost in comparison to the older Lucasfilm episodes produced under the pursestrings of George Lucas would be fascinating to know, but regardless of that this episode takes us back to a less complicated, pre-sequel trilogy era in Star Wars storytelling as the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith was traversed with the galaxy at war and the fate of the cosmos – and peoples souls – at stake. Next week can’t come fast enough.
Since the announcement that The Clone Wars was ‘saved’ (ironic given that it was Disney that cancelled the show originally) fans young and old have been eagerly awaiting the episodes that will make up series 7. With ‘Series 6 – The Lost Missions’ seemingly signalling the end of the show, save for a few work-in-progress which aired on StarWars.com, fans and creators alike never really got the ending they felt the show deserved, so for these episodes to air finally is a massive bonus.
And what a bonus, from the outset of The Bad Batch we’re dropped straight back into the action, with no real scene setting or explanation (I’d be interested to know where this fits in the overall timeline, which I’m sure will become public knowledge at some point). If you’ve not seen any of the previous series you may think it would be hard to get to grips with the characters, but the basic premise of the Clone Wars era is pretty widely understood so don’t let this put you off.
The episode centres around the involvement of Clone Force 99 – The Bad Batch – a team of ‘desirably mutated’ clones in a mission to understand how the Separatists are seemingly one step ahead of the Republic battle strategies. Their mutations mean they have different personalities and skills and compliment the ‘regs’ (regular clones) brilliantly in the mission.
The animation is a neat continuation of the style fans of the series have come to love, and the music by Kevin Kiner is every bit as imposing as it always has been – if the budget for these 12 episodes is lower than the rumoured $1m per episode George Lucas was spending then it’s not immediately obvious. A nice cliffhanger to end as well, means I’m back in to my Clone Wars groove in a big way.
It is so fantastic to have an animated series that I loved so much to be back! Everything is perfect from the animation, to the sound effects to the voice acting and of course the awesome music! It made me feel like the show never left! Of course Dee Bradley Baker steals the shows as all the different clones. I love all of the clones in the Bad Batch and I cannot decide which one is my favorite yet!
Dee Bradley Baker is not the only one that spends the majority of the episode talking to himself, but Matt Woods as well as all the Separatist droids! Love hearing him say Roger, Roger! I also loved that he was able to bring A New Hope reference to his performance!
I cannot wait to watch the next episode and see what more is in store for us!
Boy have I missed this show. From the opening music to the end credits, I had a massive smile on my face! Some great Easter eggs in this episode for fans of the Clone Wars, Rebels and the Original Trilogy.
Throughout the episode my eldest son was on his feet cheering we this has always been his favourite show and the Clones his favourite characters. Can’t wait for next week’s episode and the rest of the run!
Long have I waited… for Star Wars: The Clone Wars to return and it is finally here! I (like many) had issues getting the long anticipated show to stream properly on Disney Plus, however, once my R2 unit fixed my Xbox, we were golden. After that title card flew by and Kevin Kiner’s score kicked in, I was locked and loaded. Time to blast some clankers!
Granted, it’s difficult to determine how season 7 will stack up against its predecessors from this episode alone, but I firmly believe that this is a step in the right direction. I was primarily concerned about the tone of the final season. While I trust in the creative mastermind that is Dave Filoni, (if anyone knows Star Wars it’s him), The Clone Wars series ended abruptly with Disney’s takeover of Lucasfilm. No one could have predicted what this season was going to be, or if it would live up to the standards that had been previously established. Thankfully, it seems like Filoni’s initial vision for these episodes is coming to fruition. This episode is nearly identical to the roughly animated story reel, “The Bad Batch,” (available on YouTube). One can only hope the rest of the episodes will follow suit as they capture the mature tone of the original episodes.
And as always I’m sure we are in for some surprises along the way. After all…it’s Filoni!
The Bad Batch are an odd group of clones… and I absolutely love them! This is a group that lives up to the hype and delivers on so many levels in this single episode. I have to applaud the clones’ voice actor, Dee Bradley Baker for his fantastic performances throughout the series, especially now. He is able to flawlessly craft a unique personality for each individual clone, and there’s no exception when it comes to the Bad Batch. No two are alike and they truly stand on their own, but when they come together, they transform into something much more. A cohesive unit that takes you on a memorable joyride in the Star Wars universe.
I am confident that this final season of The Clone Wars will present some of the best Star Wars content to date. How couldn’t it? As these episodes are expected to depict some much anticipated story arcs like the Siege of Mandalore, Ahsoka’s journey after leaving the Jedi Order, and most importantly, explore more of Anakin’s turn to the dark side of the Force.
My only concern moving forward, is the fact that this season only has 11 episodes left. Is a 12 episode season enough time for Filoni to conclude the series the way he saw fit? I certainly hope so, because the fans deserve a truly satisfying ending to the journey that started over a decade ago.
“Embrace others for their differences, for that makes you whole”
The opening message says it all imo and with that, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is back! And it’s better than ever! Granted, the 1st episode is a rendition of an unfinished arc, but its beauty isn’t about the rendering, it’s the story as a whole.
The Clone Wars isn’t just about the Dark Times of war, it’s about the message, the underlying lesson each episode puts forth. In this case, The Bad Batch are different not just physically, but in aptitude too! It’s the 1st episode of the final season and straight out of the gates Star Wars is teaching us to embrace our differences because that’s what makes us stronger as a group/team/community!
Star Wars IS about family and that’s what’s so powerful about it. (Carrie Fisher)
I had been anxiously anticipating the premiere of this episode since it’s announcement and it certainly did not disappoint. The biggest standouts for me were:
1) The amazing evolution of the animation. I think the best example is the finely tuned minutiae in the facial expressions of the characters.
3) Kevin Kiner’s soundtrack. Enough said.
4) The resemblance of “Hunter” to “Rambo”. Specifically, the “Rambo: The Force of Freedom” animated version.
I loved the episode, I can hardly wait for the next. The only problem I have is the use of the word “Final” in the season title.