Review: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ A Solid, If Unspectacular, Start To New Animated Series

May 4, 2021, 12:11 PM | Updated: 12:31 pm

Andy Farnsworth reviews movies & TV shows for KSL TV and hosts the “Fan Effect” pop culture podcast for KSL NewsRadio.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – One of the great things, to me, about “Star Wars Day” is not the sales on Star Wars items or the ability to wear Star Wars clothing to work — which make no mistake, I do enjoy — but the new content.

New stories to be told and new shows to watch. It’s been almost six months since Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” ended, and many Star Wars fans like me … well, we want more. And that’s what we get on May the Fourth with “Star Wars: The Bad Batch,” a new animated series from Lucasfilm on Disney+, the first two episodes of which I was able to preview.

This new show follows the exploits of five specific clone troopers who were introduced in a previous Star Wars animated series, “The Clone Wars.” In the “Star Wars” universe, clone soldiers were bred to be almost exactly the same (hence the term, “clones.”) However, the five troopers we follow in “The Bad Batch” came out defective when they were made, thus they ended up with one particular skill or physical trait that was extremely enhanced.

Hunter is essentially the team leader and he can track stuff really well (you can tell because he wears a headband); Wrecker is kind of like the Incredible Hulk of the team: Huge & strong, but not too bright; Tech — no surprise, an expert in technology and strategy; Crosshair is an expert marksman; and Echo used to be a regular clone, but events from the “The Clone Wars” TV series left him as a type of cyborg who has the ability to actually interface with machines.

All the clones are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, who does amazing work creating similar, yet at the same time distinctive speaking styles for each of the clone characters — and there are MANY had to create. That might be the most impressive and laudable feat of all in the whole Star Wars galaxy.

With a conscious effort to avoid spoilers for those who want to be surprised, I can say the series begins during the events of the movie “Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” specifically the final moments of the Clone War, where the Jedi order led by Yoda, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi were betrayed and destroyed by the clone troopers they once led.

“The Bad Batch” will apparently take place during the time period right after the events of that movie, specifically examining what does the government do with all the clone soldiers who were specifically created to fight in a war that is now over? They’re still living beings and not just robots they can turn off, though they were in a sense created to be disposable. Also, what’s it like for all the regular citizens of the galaxy who have watched their government change from a republic to an empire pretty much overnight?

If these questions interest you, then you are someone who will probably like “The Bad Batch.” If you are more of a casual fan of “Star Wars” and the Jedi, or Darth Vader or any of the main movie characters like Luke, Han Solo, or Rey are what you love most about Star Wars, unfortunately, none of them are in the first two episodes of “The Bad Batch,” and even if they do show up at some point, it will be a short cameo because this will not be a story is not about them.

This series feels more like it was created for those fans who want to add layers to the overall “Star Wars” story tapestry. There are references to events from the movies, references to both previous animated series “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels,” and it has already been announced that a character from “The Mandalorian” will show up in this series (and no, it’s not the Mandalorian or Baby Yoda.) The character Fennec Shand, played by Ming-Na Wen on “The Mandalorian” and who will lend her voice to the role in “The Bad Batch,” is scheduled to appear at some point during this first season.

But that very contrast, one of the big guest appearances on this show being a secondary character of another series, summarizes what I mean as far as to whom this series will appeal most. Fans of “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” — those who want to know all the different parts of the Star Wars universe and who love making those connections between the shows, the books, the movies and the comics — should definitely tune in.

For those who are more casual fans, “The Bad Batch” is a solid, if unspectacular start to a Star Wars animated series, at least through two episodes. But it is worth pointing out that Dave Filoni is producing this series, just as he did with the previous “Star Wars” animated series. Both “The Clone Wars” & “Rebels” took several episodes to really get going. But when they finally did, they were amazing.

So the best advice I can give to all who are considering watching the series is to be patient and keep expectations in check. The first two episodes were surprisingly and seemed to be intentionally more kid-friendly, so I might also suggest watching it with younger kids. They’ll probably like it regardless, and it’s also more likely to grow on you that way.

“The Bad Batch” is streaming exclusively on Disney+. The first of 16 episodes dropped on May 4, and it’s over an hour, clocking in at 71 minutes. Future episodes will drop every Friday, starting on May 7, and those episodes will clock in at a shorter, 22-25 minute range.

Hopefully, you & your family found this review helpful! I invite you to check out some of my other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV shows on KSLTV.com.

KSL 5 TV Live


view of a rectangular building from a wide street in Salt Lake City...

Carole Mikita

Curtain set to rise on Eccles Theater 2024-25 season with old favorites and new twists

The old and the new, funny and bittersweet, the 2024-2025 Eccles season will bring musical productions for every age. And three more very popular shows return to the Eccles as "extras" for the season.

3 days ago

Beyoncé is pictured at the 2024 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Mandatory Credit:	Kevin Mazur/Getty ...

Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

Beyoncé debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and makes history

Beyoncé’s new song “Texas Hold ‘Em” debuted in the top spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart on Tuesday.

5 days ago

FILE - Portrait of British pop group The Beatles (L-R) Paul McCartney, George Harrison (1943 - 2001...

Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer

Beatles to get a Fab Four of biopics, with a movie each for Paul, John, George and Ringo

The Beatles are getting the big-screen biopic treatment in a Fab Four of movies that will give each band member their own film.

5 days ago

Cillian Murphy, winner of the leading actor award for 'Oppenheimer', poses for photographers at the...

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

‘Oppenheimer’ wins seven prizes, including best picture, at the British Academy Film Awards

Atom bomb epic “Oppenheimer” won seven prizes, including best picture, director and actor, at the 77th British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, cementing its front-runner status for the Oscars next month.

7 days ago

FILE - Paul McCartney performs during his "Got Back" tour on June 16, 2022, at MetLife Stadium in E...

Brian Melley, The Associated Press

Paul McCartney’s stolen bass is found and returned more than 50 years later

Paul McCartney no longer gently weeps for his original bass guitar. A five-year search by the manufacturer of the instrument that was aided by a husband-and-wife team of journalists helped reunite The Beatles star with the distinctive violin-shaped 1961 electric Höfner that went missing a half century ago and is estimated to be worth 10 million pounds ($12.6 million).

7 days ago

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Frankie Muniz, driver of the #30 Hair Club Ford, waits on the...

Mark Long, AP Sports Writer

‘Malcolm in the Middle’ star Frankie Muniz back at Daytona and rising up the NASCAR racing ladder

Actor Frankie Muniz will try to make his Xfinity Series debut in the No. 35 Ford for Joey Gase Racing at Daytona International Speedway.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Review: ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ A Solid, If Unspectacular, Start To New Animated Series