The Bad Batch: A Project Stardust Roundtable (Episodes 1 & 2)

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 Batch! Each week we will be discussing the things we liked and the questions we have about this episode In preparation for this new series, we watched the Bad Batch Arc of The Clone Wars season 7, and most excitingly, some of us were brand new to The Clone Wars! In the coming weeks, we will be discussing the things we liked and the questions we have about each episode. This week, this group made up of both Clone Wars veterans and more recent fans of Clone Force 99 will be tackling episodes 1 and 2 of The Bad Batch. As such, there are spoilers – if you haven’t watched the episodes yet, come back here once you have!

Things We Loved

Order 66 and the Tie-In to Rebels

Anna: I was both excited and horrified to see that they were bringing in Caleb Dume’s escape. For any who are unaware, Caleb becomes Kanan Jarrus in Rebels. I was so sad to see Order 66 being carried out again, pleased to see how Hunter and most of the Bad Batch were so confused as to what was going on (because I was wondering about how the chip would affect them) and THRILLED that Hunter let Caleb go.

Jamie: To me, it was perfect to be able to see Depa and Caleb’s final moments together. At the end of the day, the story was the same despite the differences. Depa died at the hands of the clones, sacrificing her life for Caleb, and gave Caleb the fuel to hate the clones because of this.

Lauren: Heading into The Bad Batch, I was really curious about what their role in Order 66 would have been. Once I realized where in the timeline we were, I thought, “Oh no…not again.” The answer, pleasantly enough, was that most of the Bad Batchers didn’t even know what that command was. So…I do love that a pretty important question was answered straight away.

Lindsay: I am kind of fascinated to see other sides of Order 66. I think there are still perspectives that could be explored, but it was so sad to see it from the Bad Batchers’ point of view, knowing that they knew it was wrong and were confused about it. Obviously, there was more to this opening that others have a lot of excitement about, but since I’m still on season 1 of Rebels, I think just knowing the Bad Batch (other than Crosshair) didn’t feel compelled to follow the order shows that they are different and helps to humanize them more.

Nessa: I cannot adequately describe the exact sound I made when I saw Depa Billaba on-screen, but I was beyond thrilled to see her (even if I knew the reality of what was coming next). She has been a long-time favorite of mine (shout-out to my fellow Depa fans!) and I was curious to see how this particular moment in Order 66 would play out on screen. While things were definitely retconned and rewritten from the Kanan comics, I still enjoyed (as much as one can enjoy Order 66 moments) seeing how it all shook down. And seeing that tangled knot of Caleb/Kanan knowing who The Bad Batch are? Such an awesome moment! 

Patty: As soon as I saw Depa my heart sank. Now I am also a big fan of Kanan’s comic mini-series which also covers the events of Kaller in a different manner (Star Wars: Kanan written by Greg Weisman) but honestly? The differences didn’t matter. The hope and awe that Kanan starts with, the absolute devastation of the loss, the parallels between Depa’s sacrifice and Kanan’s eventual sacrifice from a visual standpoint (as well as Depa’s grand Padawan, Ezra). And the way it ends, with Hunter trying so hard but the entire scenario playing out to reinforce Caleb’s suspicion and fear. 

Staci: I am fascinated by seeing the other side of the Order 66. In Revenge of the Sith it’s pretty quick. I liked that in this episode we saw the Bad Batchers actually confused about what was supposed to happen. We also see more of the perspective of the Jedi trying to fight off the clones. It was a bit scary how the clones chased down that Padawan though! But the scene added to some of the untold bits of the history. I hope we get more of these tidbits!

Crosshair

Patty: Crosshair. Look. I was going into the Bad Batch fully sus of Crosshair. You’ve seen my other roundtable answers. Crosshair rubs me the wrong way. His need for superiority, his disdain, I knew he would fall in line with the Empire. But the way he did? Somehow turning the utter violation of the inhibitor chip to even more of a violation was horrible. My heart breaks even more than I thought it could. The clones are all victims of the Empire, of Palpatine. We see how they become erased with Order 66, not just with the deaths of the Jedi but the erasure of Clone identity and culture that we see afterwards on Kamino. Sure, these are mostly new regs… but the identifiers, the identities, they’re erased. Hunter mentions the differences in how the regs are acting when they arrive on Kamino. And Crosshair’s is burned away.

Anna: I was heartbroken for Crosshair. 

Lindsay: Inhibitor chips might have been discussed elsewhere in the universe but it was interesting to learn more about them and how they could be adjusted to suit the needs of the Empire. Obviously it’s not surprising to see that’s the case, but it’s so ruthless. I like that the Bad Batch is able to remain a group of free thinkers not really impacted by the chip. You know, other than Crosshair!

Nessa: It’s particularly striking because the clones just had their entire perspective on the Jedi quietly and subtly flipped like a switch… but they don’t appear to have changed entirely that much, especially in terms of their interactions with one another. It makes me all the more curious about how, precisely, the inhibitor chip works.

Omega

Anna: I am so excited to see her, to see that there is a female presenting clone, who is an independent thinker, whip smart and capable. Her empathy for Crosshair is so palpable and touching. Her arc has been really fantastic so far and I can’t wait to see what they do with her character. I am really glad that she decided to stay with the Batch rather than go off with Cut, Suu and their family.

Jamie: It’s funny thinking ahead to compare Omega’s journey so far to our other young leads in the shows, but we’re just drawn to it. In most of our tales we’re given a young person who finds their family along the way, and somehow we’re given new ways every time to experience the world of Star Wars through the eyes of a child. We’re given a few scenes in “Cut and Run” that are direct parallels to Ezra and Rey’s journeys. Omega experiencing the sun, and literally something as simple as dirt on the ground, is so similar to Rey seeing the green on the trees for the first time on Takodana or rain for the first time on Ahch-To. All Omega had ever known was the rain and storms of Kamino. Her sheer wonder causes the entire Batch to stop and take a moment as well, just for her. Later, this parallel is very vivid to me, Omega is sitting in the rear gunner seat of the Batch’s ship, the Havoc Marauder, having an emotional time herself and holding her headband from Nala Se very close. Nala Se was all she had that she could consider family, and we still don’t know the full tale. That’s something else to unpack, but we’ll have to wait and see what that story is still. I cannot wait to see where Omega’s story takes her, and what kind of person she will grow to be. 

Lauren: Omega is such a great addition into this mix. I’m getting such Eleven and Hopper (of Stranger Things) vibes from her and Hunter. I can’t wait to see this dynamic blossom and just for Omega to come into her own power. The Found Family trope is STRONG in this episode with Omega making it clear that she has chosen to be where she is, but she is only there as long as she is accepted by the Bad Batch as one of their own. Echo has found a home with them and now, Omega has a place to belong.

Lindsay: When they were making their way through the ship and trying to stay unnoticed, Hunter raised his arm to stop the group and Omega copied the movement. Classic. In the second episode, Omega clearly sees the Bad Batch as her family, and quickly. Hunter tries to encourage her to go with Cut, but she isn’t having it. She is one of the gang and feels happy and accepted there. You love to see it.

Patty: Omega is quickly becoming one of my favorite clones and I can’t even help it. Her arc even just so far is absolutely wonderful. We don’t get to see much of the clones in their childhood outside of a few episodes of The Clone Wars, mainly centered around Boba. Omega is something entirely new. She wasn’t raised with the same programming as the clones and she wasn’t raised like Boba was. I did laugh that Hunter tries to do the same thing Din tried in “Chapter 4: Sanctuary” of The Mandalorian.

Staci: I absolutely love Omega! Is there anyone who doesn’t? I’m curious. I will admit that I am thrown by her coloring. How can a clone be sooo different from the original? And of course, different gender. I have lots of questions about Omega but that doesn’t stop me from loving her. She’s so fascinated by the guys in Clone Force 99 because they are like her, different. I love all the wonder in her eyes. I also love her accent. I’m not completely up on my Down Under accents but I do believe that is a New Zealand accent. I might be wrong. 

In the second episode, I absolutely love the scene when they get off the ship and Omega sees sun and dirt for the first time. How magical! She’s never set foot on land. I loved how she kicks it and thinks it’s cool. She is just as amazed by the plants and air. This episode also gave me major Anakin feels but in the opposite direction. He hates sand! He leaves a warm planet for the chill of space. Omega may turn out to be nearly as special as Anakin. I can’t wait to find out what her purpose is.

Saw, AZI-3 

Lauren: Sometimes I have a hard time remembering when we’ve seen certain characters before. In this episode, I thought this droid was ADORABLE and funny. Looking back though, I realize now that he was pretty instrumental in this same conversation we’re having now about inhibitor chips and how clones function or malfunction. I ended up watching Season 6, Episodes 2 and 3 of The Clone Wars over again just for more AZI-3 content which was golden, but those episodes ended up being a pretty good refresher for these episodes of The Bad Batch.

Nessa: What I loved most about both of these episodes is to talk about the connective moments that linked us with other events in Galactic history. AZI-3 popping up and getting this close to Echo after playing an integral role in Fives’ conspiracy arc? YES. Saw’s appearance and confrontation with the Bad Batch that harkens back to his continued Rebel activities? YES. The reappearance of Cut Lawquane, boss babe Suu, and their kids? VERY YES. I have a mild obsession with the tapestry-like nature of Star Wars and love pulling handfuls of threads and small moments together to see who has left impressions in certain places and see where paths have crossed or have almost-crossed. It’s such a treat to me to see how all of these amazing stories end up overlapping and interconnecting across time and space and The Bad Batch let me live through some of those moments.

Patty: I have a lot of complex feelings about Saw Gerrera. He is one of the most complex figures in canon, as well as being a connective tissue through many of the non-Skywalker Disney canon screen offerings, appearing in The Clone Wars, Rebels, Rogue One, Jedi: Fallen Order, The Bad Batch, and even working with Luke on a mission with the Partisans in the Star Wars comic line. Many of Saw’s appearances show Saw becoming increasingly extreme. Here though, Saw is in many ways continuing his sister Steela’s legacy, shown working to protect and defend instead of destroy. I sincerely hope we see more of Saw and the Partisans. Maybe in Andor… AZI-3 working on Echo after his injury broke me after I realized it was the same droid who had befriended and helped Fives to try and prevent this entire situation from happening. Fives and Echo share a bond that only a few clones share and unknown to either of them, AZI-3 was able to look after both of them, years apart, a connection between them even beyond death.

The Rise of the Empire

Jamie: The entire marketing team for the Empire is on point. It’s barely a week into this new Empire, and they have pulled out all the stops. New logo has been rolled out, new outposts have been implemented with new tech, all of the soldiers are blank slates, and there are new weapons out there that haven’t been in use before. But really, think about this. The transition from Republic to Empire has seemingly happened overnight. Echo observes the security booth with all of the new Imperial tech, he’s thrown off at first seeing everything being so different from the Republic tech. All of it is coming together very quickly, and the Batch is going to be forced to adapt and keep up.

Lindsay: As this takes place right after Order 66, we’re seeing how the early days of the Empire started to take shape. In this episode, that meant needing chain codes to travel on any kind of public transport, giving the Empire the ability to watch what everyone is up to and keep track of them. I will be curious to see how much more we will learn about the Empire’s infancy as part of this series.

The Small Yet Perfect Touches and Family

Staci: I loved that opening image. It comes in like The Clone Wars and burns away to The Bad Batch. That made me cheer out loud! It was a great visual for showing the change in eras. I was surprised at the direct connection since I wasn’t sure where in Imperial/Republic history the show would begin. I like how the second episode ties in the feeling of the time period. Also, I liked seeing a blended family in the Star Wars universe. Different species have always been able to get along but we never saw a family. It was so cute! I loved the kids and a clone just being a dad.

Lauren: I loved that we got to visit the Lawquanes again! To me, Cut and his family were a representation of what it could look like for our faves to cut ties from the life that was forced on them and live in peace with people of their choosing. Laying low, finding love, starting families…the good life. That and I also just like when Twi’leks bless my screen like this. More, please.

The Bad Batchers

Anna: Good grief, the “regs” can be real jerks to our boys. Everything on Kamino was SO uncomfortable on both a physical and emotional level. In an outside conversation, Nessa brought up the seats at the table at which they sat, and it was such a great point. Everything was designed for efficiency as soldiers, not as people. Having Tarkin there was unnerving as a viewer. I can/can’t believe Tarkin put the Batchers through a live fire exercise, but OH MY GOODNESS they did such a fantastic job.

Lauren: Wrecker throwing that knife for Crosshair to shoot and redirect into that droid was frackin sweet.

Lindsay: When they need to, our heroes take things into their own hands. Omega willingly takes on the job of delivering the chain codes when it’s looking a little dicey otherwise. Wrecker takes over for Echo when he can’t get the ship out of whatever magnetic lock it’s in, breaking the connection so they can actually leave. These are smaller moments that all contribute to the bigger picture of who these characters are and what makes them special. They don’t just do what’s expected (although none of this is particularly surprising) and it sets the stage for more drama in future episodes.

Nessa: I loved seeing the little exploration of clone culture that we get in the premiere, including seeing a bit more of what life is like for shiny clones still living on Kamino. That scene in the mess hall was enlightening. The food that they ate, the way they interacted with one another and with the Bad Batch, the way they weren’t afraid to throw down despite being observed… Even the furniture that they sat on, which appears to have been designed to avoid being comfortable. I’m loving the expanded dynamics between the Bad Batch men themselves. These soldiers stand apart from other traditional clones, so I felt that their personal dynamic as a squad would be very important. It’s clear that Echo is still finding his place among the Bad Batchers, and that there’s a certain kind of order among the Bad Batchers. Did it seem to anyone else that Crosshair gave off major little brother vibes? Is Crosshair the baby of the group? (And does this mean we’re going to get the “let’s go save our baby brother” episode?) It’s just really interesting to me to see how these little families interact and work together.

Patty: I NEED MORE TECH AND ECHO! Those two nerds coming up with an absolute nerd of a plan, just rolling with Omega being their little stowaway, both of them when she blatantly decides to not listen to them at all. Echo’s tired uncle energy. I need more of this duo, and more of the trio when you add Omega in. Just three nerds doing their best.

We Have Questions

Anna: I have about a million. I have so many questions about Omega, the exact difference in the mutations to Crosshair’s brain rather than the others (as he was affected by the chip more than the others and it was then exacerbated by the procedure), and what was up with Nala Se helping them escape?

Lauren: I get the sense that the Empire was really trying to find a way to engineer Force-sensitivity. I wonder if the Bad Batch as a unit is a collection of keys to those extra Force abilities. I think Hunter’s enhanced sensory abilities are where this thought takes off for me. I believe the Kaminoans were on the path to bringing those keys together before the cloning facilities were shut down and the Empire/First Order turned to other methods of creating soldiers who would not question authority. I think Omega understands herself to be different and meant for bigger things than being an assistant on Kamino, but it’s still unanswered what exactly is her enhancement and the extent of what she is able to do with those enhancements. I wonder if she is a more perfected version of one or multiple of the Bad Batch’s genetic codings.

Lindsay: Going back to inhibitor chips, will any of the rest of The Bad Batch be at risk at any point of having their chips changed to force them to act another way? Or are they too strong to be affected? And a bonus question: When will we see Crosshair again, and will he eventually fight back against his orders and his chip? We keep meeting characters who have some connection to the past, or some familiarity with other stories we’ve heard, so I’m wondering: who’s next? They mentioned Rex in this episode, but what other known characters will make an appearance? Will we see Vader at some point?

Nessa: I have one thousand questions, but the one that’s currently bothering me: is Omega a Jango clone or a clone of something else? The Kaminoans have been in the business of cloning for a long time, though the clone troopers based off of Jango Fett seem to be their largest and most outstanding business transactions. We know that Omega is a clone, according to the context cues (“parents?”, being hooked up to machines, Nala Se mentioning five unique clones, Tech confirming this later…) but are we absolutely sure that she’s actually a clone of Jango’s? (And if she is, why is she white? But that gets back to a whole range of other recently-written-about issues with The Bad Batch…).

Patty: Will we see Caleb again? Who was the Jedi under the sheet? Shaak Ti was killed by Anakin, she wasn’t on Kamino. What’s up with Nala Se and Omega? She helps Omega escape, and it doesn’t necessarily seem like the Prime Minister knew about the plan. Does she have her own? WHEN AM I GOING TO GET ECHO AND FIVES CONTENT? My guess is that it’s going to be when Rex shows up. I NEED IT! He’s mentioned this episode so hopefully soon…

Staci: Most of my questions have to do with Omega but here’s another rather random question. Why does Echo have a Lobot headset now? What do they even do? How will these soldiers be able to look after a kid on the run?

Batcher of the Week

Anna: Overall in the two episodes, Hunter. OMG saving Caleb, saving Omega, trying his best to be Clone Dad of the Year?! I was so impressed at how hard he is working to be the best parent figure he can be to her, even though she just joined them. His leadership was so important and it was really clear in both episodes as to why he is the leader. That being said, Tech continues to be my Bad Batch Boyfriend, and I was really happy to see how they have developed his character as both a warrior and as a VERY smart and witty person. 

Lauren: Hunter is on my mind quite a bit after the first episode because I think his enhancements/mutations look the most like Force-sensitivity. Episode 2, it’s Goofy Uncle Wrecker, who brings me boundless joy and I will never stop loving him.

Jamie: Huge shout-out to Uncle Wrecker! Wearing a space poncho no less. Oh gosh, did not expect for that scene to get so wholesome so quickly!

Lindsay: Wrecker was my favorite in the initial episode, for a lot of reasons. But also I felt a connection to him again, in part because of his connection to Lula. A man/clone/character after my own heart. I’ve been a Wrecker stan to date but Hunter really was the key character for me in the second episode, in part because of the strength of the relationship he’s forging with Omega. It’s almost as if he’s the father figure now, not just the leader.

Nessa: I’m a big mad Wrecker fan and I always will be, but my gods, there was something about Tech in these episodes that really caught my attention. Maybe it was the sass – yeah, it was definitely the sass. The fella seemed to be full of one-liners and snarky remarks. I also love that he’s just as competent as the other Batchers? I was a little worried that he would be made out to be slightly weaker or less skilled than the others in Clone Force 99, but he’s definitely more than fully capable. So, my love for Wrecker remains supreme but Tech impressed the heck out of me in these episodes!

Patty: In the first episode, it is going to be Wrecker again. “I like to blow things up because I LIKE TO BLOW THINGS UP!” Plus, he just immediately has Omega’s back. No one messes with kids while Wrecker’s around! Tech is a very close second though. Part of that is that the dynamic between Wrecker and Tech is absolutely wonderful. It’s hilarious, sarcastic, yet affectionate. They remind me so much of me and my own siblings. In the second episode, Tech finally inched above Wrecker. This episode shined on Tech so much, him and Echo, as I mentioned before being my adorable nerd team. And he is just so comfortable with the fact that Omega is going to do her own thing.

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