May the Fourth And “The Bad Batch” Pilot

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Unusually, this year’s May the Fourth did not surprise with big announcements (even though, or perhaps because, Disney has revealed its big long-term plan of future Star Wars releases a couple of months ago). On its official website, Lucasfilm made a showcase of commisioned fanart and Disney’s official channel received an addition in the form of 3-minute The Simpsons/Star Wars crossover. The video titled “The Force Awakens From Its Nap” stars Maggie Simpson and various The Simpsons protagonists reimagined as Star Wars characters.

The only major event marking this day was the release of the first episode of The Bad Batch. While the premise of the show did not look particularly enticing, especially to casual fans – just another animation, on top of all with five clones as the main protagonists – the pilot episode did its best to get the audience invested.

Spoilers below.

A poster for The Simpsons/Star Wars crossover short “The Force Awakens From Its Nap” published for May 4th, 2021.

Order 66, Take Three

I do not recall so many characters and important events making an appearance in one episode of The Clone Wars, Rebels or even The Mandalorian – certainly not in an opening one. Granted, this pilot was over an hour long, close to four times the length of a normal TCW episode. But it managed to show Order 66, young Kanan Jarrus (aka Caleb Dume), Tarkin, and Saw Gerrera. AND on top of that introduce (or re-introduce) five clones as completely distinct characters and a completely new protagonist who is interesting on her own.

There is really nothing to criticise about the pilot episode, and The Bad Batch shows a lot of promise. After the last season of TCW, it shows Order 66 from yet another angle, giving a more plastic impression of what it was like. (Something tells me this may not be the last time we are seeing Order 66 in a SW series – it seems to have become a new hobby of Dave Filoni et al.) The clones are also made very distinct – you certainly won’t be mixing them up; and making one of them a villain of sorts is yet another brilliant move.

The child Omega in “The Bad Batch” pilot episode.

Clones, Kids And “Dads”

What was definitely interesting (and what I hope the show will elaborate on) was seeing the rise of the Empire from the clones’ perspective. We are offered a look behind the scenes of how, when the war has ended, the clones are becoming obsolete.

And the addition of the character of Omega is certainly interesting. She fulfils some of the criteria of the “kid among adults who saves the day”-archetype, but not to the point that it would make her seem unrealistic, annoying or intentionally cute (she is not). I can see a bit of a repetition of the “rough dad(s) adopt an orphan”-trope that we’ve seen most recently in The Mandalorian. But then again, these are the clones of Jango Fett. The parenting is in their blood, literally.

I am very much curious about exploring Omega’s identity – starting with the fact that she is female despite being a clone of Jango Fett. I very much trust the creators that they are going somewhere with this, and I am eager to learn more.

May the Rest of May Be With You

While this year’s May the Fourth was not treated with particular care by Disney, The Bad Batch has started off on the right foot. Will it manage to retain its quality, or was the pilot episode only an explosive opening to get us invested? I am very much hoping for the former.

The Bad Batch series airs every Friday on Disney Plus, with second episode coming on 7th May.

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Dorothee Sölle, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.