On Tuesday, Star Wars Day, Disney+ will debut the Bad Batch, a group of clone troopers who defy the rising Empire prior to the events of the 1977 Star Wars film.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch follows the success of the live-action film The Mandalorian and the final season of the anime series Star Wars: Clone Wars.
“Clone Force 99 is kind of another step beyond what I’ve been asked to do in the Clone Wars series,” Dee Bradley Baker, who voices clone troopers in both series, said at a Zoom press conference recently. “The differentiation is much tighter between characters.”
The Clone Wars were first described in Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) mentioned Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father, Annakin, served in the military. The prequel trilogy revealed the clones of Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) fought in the Clone Wars for the Galactic Senate.
In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) executed Order 66 to cause the clones to turn on the Jedi. Clone Force 99 was The Bad Batch who did not follow the anti-Jedi order.
Baker voices Hunter, the leader, Tech, the group’s gadget guru, Wrecker, the gang’s muscle, Crosshair, the sharpshooter, and Echo, an android.
“It’s fun to be Wrecker, because he’s so honest, so clear and funny,” Baker said. “Wrecker’s probably the furthest away from me of all of them.”
The original Clone Wars animated series focused on conflicts between the Clone Army and rebels attempting to establish the Galactic Empire. Baker could use the same voice for different sets of clones, but the Bad Batch created their own voices.
“The Bad Batch are much further apart from each other, which oddly makes it a little bit easier to jump from character to character to character,” Baker said. “It feels like I’m jumping from rock to rock on a stream.”
Jennifer Corbett, the show’s head writer and executive producer, said that she wanted Baker to record all of one character’s lines before recording another’s. She was fascinated with his ability to converse with himself as various characters.
“There’s no pause,” Corbett said. “He just goes right into it.”
The Clone Wars introduced the Bad Batch prior to the new series. Corbett said The Bad Batch series will explore the Batch’s adjustment to the aftermath of the Clone Wars as the Empire rises to power.
“I found it kind of interesting to show planets and places that were happy that the war is over,” Corbett said. “They don’t really understand the implications of what an Empire actually means.”
The Bad Batch, according to directing and executive producer Brad Rau, would fail to adapt to life after the Clone Wars.
“These clinical, best of the best soldiers [are] suddenly fish out of water in this changing galaxy,” Rau said. “None of them are really equipped to go out into the world.”
Rau cited seeking food in the absence of a structured mess hall and refuelling their spaceships in the absence of military protocol as indicators of adaptation. Corbett said that now that the war is over, the chain of command has broken down, resulting in further differences within the Batch.
“No one comes from the same background,” Corbett said. “Everybody has their different reasons for doing what they’re doing.”