The Bad Batch: A Project Stardust Roundtable

Featuring Anna, Jamie, Jennie, Lauren, Lindsay, Nessa, Patty, Staci, and edited by Liv

The Project Stardust team has decided to come together to have a roundtable after each episode of The Bad Batchseries, premiering May the 4th on Disney+! Each week we will be discussing the things we liked and the questions we have about this episode. We are kicking things off with a rewatch of episodes 1-4 of The Clone Wars season 7, which is the arc where Clone Force 99—“The Bad Batch”—are introducedSome of us have watched The Clone Wars series many times, some of us have only a few times or only certain arcs, and some are BRAND NEW to The Clone Wars (and we are REALLY EXCITED to hear about their thoughts!). 

Things We Loved:

Anna: Anything and everything with Echo. I loved it. I really enjoyed seeing what an asset Tech was. So capable on every level, from communication to combat. I loved seeing how a group of clones with different abilities (and unique looks—hello Hunter with your long hair!) were such a big asset and were valued as such. Also, Wrecker is a joy. He is the clone version of my mastiff.

Jamie: I loved Rex having a moment looking at the photo of Fives, Echo, Cody, and himself, seeing the Bad Batch on their first actual attack run in the trench after their gunship was destroyed, and Echo making the decision to join the Bad Batch and giving Rex the salute.

Jennie: An intro to new, different, rebellious clones. The others always just follow the orders of whomever is controlling them at that time. The return of Echo and how it seemingly paralleled of the return of Maul in certain aspects. The death of Trench. Kill ALL the spiders!!!

Lauren: I like how economical the storytelling is. You find out so much just within the first 10 minutes of the arc. I’ve only seen each episode of The Clone Wars once, so it’s nice to have a lot of exposition up front so that I’m all caught up with what I need to know to go along with the rest of what I’m about to watch. I like the camaraderie of the two groups of clones. Even though they have different methods and strategies in mind for accomplishing their mission, they find a way to make all of their individual talents work together as a strength for an ultimately successful outcome. I love how goofy Wrecker is. He just want to make things go boom. Yes, Wrecker. More booms.

Lindsay: As the newbie here, I liked getting to meet characters who are new to me! Plus, it was great to see how despite being clones, they were all distinctly different and didn’t fit a mold or use a certain set of tools to accomplish something – this might be something you see more throughout The Clone Wars series in general but since I have not seen much of it, it’s something I really appreciated. I also liked that ultimately Echo was welcomed as a member of the Bad Batch because of his own new differences – they learned to trust him despite what he’d been through and he became one of them.

Nessa: I liked how it linked in with other events in the Fall of the Jedi Era and the eventual rise of the Empire; I liked seeing clone dynamics and clone culture in a new light both in terms of how different clones see one another and in terms of clone loyalty and clone family; and I liked seeing what the Kaminoans considered “useful mutations” when it came to clone soldiers. 

Patty: First, I love the dichotomy that is set up between the Bad Batch and the rest of the clone army. From Crosshair, who clearly has some issues to work out, to Hunter who is kinder but still treats other clones as different, to their undefined command structure, the Bad Batch are clones that don’t fit in with other clones, and not just because of their modifications. That otherness has interesting implications when it comes to Order 66. Second, ECHO! My obsession with Fives and Echo is well known in the Project Stardust Slack. Those two are my absolute favorite clones, and the first time I watched this arc and realized ECHO MIGHT BE ALIVE? I went a little nuts. Now I can watch and have the anticipation of seeing at least one of my best boys coming back. I desperately need to see Echo find out about Fives, to have that grief to work through, and perhaps as a final gift from his brother, the brother he was closest to of all the clones, that Echo will be able to save some of the Bad Batch from Order 66. A girl can hope. Third, that Padmé scene. One of my favorite parts of The Clone Wars overall is the deeper exploration of Padmé and Anakin’s relationship, as well as Padmé as a character herself. The conversation between Padmé and Anakin is sweet, kind, and lets you see exactly what kind of couple they could have been in a different world. And the way the scene ends, with Rex being the worst at lying to Obi-Wan snarkily revealing what he knows, it is just perfect from beginning to end.

We Have Questions:

Headcanon: How Did Cody and The Bad Batch Meet?

Anna: I am sure Cody knows them, as he is one of the highest ranked clones. I hope they had fantastic and dangerous missions together full of excitement. Cody probably likes them because they do a good job and they clearly operate outside of regular Republic procedure.

JamieI’d like to think that since Cody is by title a Marshal Commander, the absolute highest rank a clone can hold in the Republic army, he knows a little bit about everyone. Or is at least aware of all of the things going on. When the Bad Batch arrives on Anaxes, I believe that’s the first time they actually meet Cody. 

Jennie: Cody was on and was waiting for a first date with “Wrecker” at a bar in the Outer Rim. It was actually Tech who had been talking with Cody, but he used Wrecker’s photo to get the date. The others sat across the bar and fed Tech lines to break the ice. Unfortunately, Cody had no interest and broke Tech’s heart. That’s why Tech’s very strange around Cody when he sees him now.

Lauren: I think that Cody already trusts the Bad Batch a great deal from the beginning of this arc, so I have a feeling that there may have been a mission-gone-wrong where that trust was earned. The other clones don’t have this same familiarity, so I imagine it may have been a situation where Cody was separated in some way from his squad and needed to learn this trust quickly for survival.

Lindsay: So I’m very new to the entire Clone Wars series and related stories, but I wonder if they met when they were created? Like was Cody cloned adjacent to the Bad Batch? Right before or after? And then they were separated by assignments and battles but still kept in contact? That’s what I think. I hope we find out.

Nessa: I have my theories about how Cody met these wild boys—my personal headcanon is that Cody helped train Clone Force 99. I feel like there might be a little connection between them and his scar—training gone awry, maybe?

Patty: In my dreams it is because Cody and Hunter were set up on a blind date. My actual theory is that Cody and Obi-Wan have been quietly called in to coordinate missions between the Bad Batch and other clone forces behind the scenes on several occasions in the last year or so of the war.

Is Crosshair Sus?

Anna: I am not sure. He appears to be the oldest of the Bad Batch. So, I feel like he faced the most amount of ridicule as a “non-conforming” clone and without the support of the “regs”. He made me think of an angry Martin Blank from Grosse Pointe Blank. I feel like he is the most capable of extremism, especially against conformity—and that may push him towards the Rebellion in the long term, but I am not sure. 

Jamie: Crosshair is very sus. The most sus. Like he has the lone wolf vibe, which works when you’re a sniper and all but at the same time you want to make sure you have a sniper that you trust. Crosshair is definitely the one that somehow doesn’t fit in with this group of mismatched soldiers and there will definitely be a change-up in the coming episodes.

Jennie: Definitely. He puts the bad in Bad Batch. I feel like he’ll betray them sooner or later. Side note, he’s basically the Clint Eastwood character of the group.

Lauren: He certainly doesn’t pass the vibe check! That’s honestly everything that I have to go on. He’s just bringing a different energy.

Lindsay: 100 percent sus. When I first saw him, I got some strong Grand Moff Tarkin vibes. I almost didn’t put together that he was a “good guy” at first.

Nessa: I want to believe he isn’t. I want to believe the Bad Batchers are too anti-establishment to be sus. But the fact remains that he is very sus and I just can’t overlook that. So, yes. Crosshair is sus and I look forward to seeing just how sus in the upcoming show.

Patty: Crosshair is entirely sus. At several points throughout the Bad Batch arc Crosshair has dialog that exists only to show that he thinks the Bad Batch (and by extent himself) are better than regular clones. There is a dehumanizing and ostracizing sense to how he speaks to other clones like Rex or Cody. That ease at making even your allies into the other? The Empire would be very happy with that, especially cleaning up after any clones that react poorly after the programming of Order 66.

One Question We Hope Is Answered in the Series Overall:

Anna: I really want to see what is going to happen with Echo. What is his armor going to look like? Is Clone Force 99 going to reconnect with Rex after his “death”? Okay, that’s three but whatever.

Jamie: One thing that I want answered is actually just an offshoot from the Bad Batch arc and I’d be very surprised if they touch upon it during the new show. Clone medic Kix is present for the entire arc. Now Kix has always been a member of the 501st, most notably seen in the Umbara campaign and during the biochip conspiracy. Both of those arcs take place before the Bad Batch arc. But listen here, Kix is not present at the Siege of Mandalore. It’s possible he was part of the 501st that went on with Anakin to storm the Jedi temple, but we’re not sure. I’m so fascinated by Kix’s fate because years later Sidon Ithano, the red helmeted pirate from The Force Awakens that Finn almost travels with, discovers Kix cryofrozen in a pod on a lost Separatist ship[1]. Kix is unfrozen, and it’s just as though it’s only been a few minutes for him. Sidon warmly welcomes him to his crew and they proceed to find out Separatist strongholds to pillage weaponry and other supplies. So somewhere between the events of the Bad Batch arc and the Siege of Mandalore, Kix is taken prisoner by the Separatists. He’s frozen, a hostage of the Separatists, but then the ship is lost for about 50 years until Ithano’s crew finds it. I want that entire story shown on screen because EVERYONE needs to know about the last surviving clone trooper, Kix.

Jennie: I know they were originally created with modified abilities, but I’m curious… Did any of their abilities change/mutate from their original creation intent?

Lauren: I think I’d like to know more about The Bad Batch’s origin. I feel like the Empire/First Order/Big Bad Guys all have done a lot of experimentation in pursuit of the perfect soldier, and I wonder what the motives were for creating this particular group and whether they were simply put together and bonded or if they somehow found each other some other way.

Lindsay: How will they adapt to survive, as alluded to in the trailer?

Nessa: I want to know what happens to Cody. It’s gonna hurt. I know it is. But I want to see what happens to him after Order 66 and the Reign of the Empire era.

Patty: What I am most interested in with The Bad Batch is watching Echo coming back to the land of the living. He is going to learn about the loss of Fives, and then be hit with Order 66 which will decimate their brothers. He also has his additional modifications to grapple with. This isn’t really a question, unless I go with Jeopardy rules and say “What is Echo’s emotional journey?”

Favorite Bad Batch Member

Anna: Tech. He is absolutely my Trooper. He is super smart, tech savvy, very capable, good with a weapon and a little awkward.

Jamie: Tech! Tech immediately was my favorite for one small reason, glasses. Within the animated setting at least this is one of the first times we see a character in Star Wars wearing glasses. (In live action being just recently in The Mandalorian with Dr. Pershing.) But aside from having glasses—which, looking back on it, they definitely could have given him Lasik eye surgery to correct it—Tech’s approach towards the battlefield is much more calculated and with specific reason. He’s usually in the support role for the team, but what he lacks in combat skills he makes up for with giving tactical instruction. Plus, seeing him step into the role as translator was a very cool addition, being able to see them relating and actually communicating with citizens of a Skako Minor was very refreshing.

Jennie: Being a technology nerd, I really liked Tech. He’s super nerdy, has cool toys, and seems to be a good clone. I want to know more of Hunter’s story though because something speaks to me about him, beyond the feeling he’s every bad date/relationship I’ve had in the past.

Lauren: I really love Tech. First of all, this is the spectacle representation I’ve been waiting to see in Star Wars. Second, I love that he is the human version of C-3PO, hitting you with facts, bridging the linguistic gap…he’s precious.

Lindsay: Honestly, Wrecker. And not just because he’s loud with a big personality. I totally feel him on his fear of heights.

Nessa: Wrecker. They each spoke to me in different ways, I feel like, and appealed to different things that I love about characters. That being said—Wrecker. I love him. He’s giant. He’s a little dumb. He’s well-meaning. He’s teetering on the precipice of being a full-out himbo (did we see how politely he put down that gonk droid?) and I love him for it.

Patty: Wrecker. Look. I know I should say Tech. My brain says I should say Tech, who’s so awkward yet kind and enthusiastic, he is a sweet one and just wants to do his best. But Wrecker appeals to my inner chaos porg. Sometimes it is just good to be a big, impulsive, smasher who might be rough around the edges but genuinely cares about the people around him. Now that we have Echo as an official Bad Batcher, I am likely going to be fully on board the Echo train once we get to the series proper.

Staci: Wrecker is my favorite. I think he was actually my favorite part of this arc. Especially when Anakin tells him to be stealth and he goes bonkers. He’s like a giant puppy! And he actually tears up at the end when he gets blow up everything!

What are you most excited about seeing in The Bad Batch? Who is your favorite clone? Leave us a comment on Instagram and tell us what you think! Join us next time when we will be discussing the first episode of The Bad Batch!

[1]      Landry Q. Walker, The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku (California: Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2015), e-book.