Disney Orders More Helpings Of Filoni with “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” (2021) | Column from the Editor

Dave Filoni will have his hand in yet another “Star Wars” TV show, as a “The Clone Wars” spinoff series featuring Season 7’s Bad Batch Clones has been ordered by Disney, set to release on Disney Plus in 2021. 

The Bad Batch are a group of clones with specific mutations that give them each a singular unique trait that makes them elite soldiers. In the final season of “The Clone Wars”, they helped Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) in their final mission before the events of “Revenge of the Sith,” at the end of which Order 66 is executed, kicking off the Jedi Purge that Skywalker would head as the infamous Darth Vader. 

It is unknown whether or not James Earl Jones (age 89) will reprise his role as Darth Vader in “Bad Batch,” like he did in another Filoni-piloted show “Star Wars: Rebels.” But so long as he is up for it and is able to, I think the legendary voice actor will return in “Bad Batch”, especially if the role of Vader has a similar amount of screentime as it had in “Rebels” (4 episodes). But if he’s not, my money is on Scott Lawrence, who voiced the Sith Lord in the video game “Jedi: Fallen Order”; or Matt Sloan, who voiced him in “Star Wars: Battlefront II (EA)” and in both “The Force Unleashed” video games. But no matter what, I am expecting some Darth Vader in “The Bad Batch,” not only because of the unit’s past relationship with Vader, but also because I think it is almost fundamentally impossible for Filoni to make a “Star Wars” TV show that takes place immediately after “Revenge of the Sith” and not feature the Empire’s premier Jedi hunter. 

It’s also yet to be seen if the Bad Batch clones obeyed or resisted executing Order 66, as while the organic inhibitor chip each clone has in their head makes them physically unable to disobey the order, the Bad Batch clones are so heavily modified that their chips might either no longer be functional, or they might have the ability to stave the chips off long enough to remove them. Regardless, expect to hear a lot of Dee Bradley Baker, the voice actor for all Clone Troopers, who will be able to display much more variety in his performances, because of how unique the Bad Batch clones are compared to normal clones. 

Filoni hasn’t let us down yet, and I don’t expect him to do so through “The Bad Batch.” Worst case scenario, “Bad Batch” has 2-3 seasons and runs through 2021-24, and then fizzles out. Best case scenario, we get a darker version of “The Clone Wars” as told through the eyes of the Bad Batch during the early days of the Galactic Purge, which I imagine would be very similar to Karen Traviss’ Republic/Imperial Commando novels, that will run for many years.

I’m looking forward to this series, though I hope it does not diminish Filoni’s role on “The Mandalorian,” or stop him from ascending to greater influence in Disney’s live action “Star Wars” films. 

The man is the closest thing to Kevin Feige Lucasfilm has. While Filoni’s shows are excellent, he’s not someone they should confine to only the small screen. 

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