Star Wars: The Naughty Batch, Lucasfilm’s next lively series from a galaxy far, far absent with , premieres on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar on Star Wars Day — that’s May 4, as in “May the Fourth” be with you. The Clone Wars spin-off is set in the aftermath of the eponymous war and follows Clone Force 99, a group of elite clone troopers, every of whom have genetic mutations that grants them unique skills. The Naughty Batch comes from Star Wars veteran Dave Filoni, who has prior to now worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, created Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance, and is now joint in-charge of the Star Wars cinematic universe with The Mandalorian writer Jon Favreau.
“We think of The Naughty Batch as a spiritual successor to The Clone Wars,” Brad Rau, supervising director on The Naughty Batch, told journalists over Zoom. “So there is a lot in common. When we start our first episode, we’re backing up a little bit, timewise, from what we’ve seen at the very end of the Clone Wars. It’s something that Dave Filoni wanted us to do. And it’s actually exciting to see how things come approximately, like Order 66. Having these characters that we only realize a little bit approximately from the last season of The Clone Wars gives us an possibility to carry on that legacy and storytelling of The Clone Wars, but through new characters’ eyes.”
In the Star Wars galaxy, Order 66 refers to a Sith plot masterminded by Sith Lord Darth Sidious — better referred to as Emperor Palpatine — that saw behavioural modification biochips planted in the brains of all clone troopers deployed by the Republic. With the flick of a switch, Order 66 was once executed. It termed all Jedi as traitors and their own clone trooper allies turned on them, slaughtering the Jedi Order in the process. Star Wars: The Naughty Batch begins kind of around the same time and finds the titular group now working for the newfound Empire, as are all of the other non-mutated clones.
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“That was once one of the vital exciting things for us to dive into with this series,” Jennifer Corbett, head author on The Naughty Batch, said. “When you talk approximately the end of the Clone Wars, what that if truth be told looks like for not only Clone Force 99, but the clones in general. And what the galaxy looks like because it isn’t the Empire that everybody is so used to from the original trilogy and from Star Wars Rebels, where it was once at the height of its dominance over the galaxy.
“It is the beginning stages of that. [The Bad Batch shows] what the galaxy is going through immediately when the war is over. How some planets and systems are happy the war’s over and are embracing the Empire on account of that. And others are a little bit wearier of the Empire and what their reign actually means. Relating to the Naughty Batch, it was once fun to sort of explore their feelings, because with the Republic, they were provided numerous freedom. But with the Empire. they run things a little otherwise, and we definitely wanted to show how the Batch reacts to that.”
“The Naughty Batch again is an engaging point of view on that because they are not ‘regs’,” Rau added, referring to steady clone troopers as regs. “Even the way they imagine their brothers. We maintain how they’re now on the contrary side in this growing Empire. The regs are suddenly the face of the enemy, just like we see in [Star Wars: Episode III –] Revenge of the Sith.”
Thanks to its setting and animation style, The Naughty Batch feels a lot like The Clone Wars. But that isn’t the only Star Wars series that it resembles. The Naughty Batch has elite warrior(s) who wear helmets in the lead. There’s also a young girl Omega (voiced by Michelle Ang) in the mix, who ends up under the care of Hunter (Dee Bradley Baker), the Naughty Batch’s unofficial leader. In the early episodes — I’ve seen two — Hunter has trouble having a look after Omega and even attempts to offload her to a circle of relatives, because he believes she will have a safer life with them. This all sounds a lot like the current Star Wars hit The Mandalorian.
“I think what’s connecting all of these shows, is the idea of change,” Corbett said when I asked her approximately the similarities. “And I see the similarities with The Mandalorian when it comes to how he is taking on this new role. And that’s the reason very much what the Batch is doing. Now that everything has changed, they’re questioning where they fit in and where they belong. Because the war is over, what is their purpose now, whether not to be soldiers?
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“And when you add a child into that mix, suddenly these elite soldiers who are used to with the ability to tackle any mission are totally fish out of water when it comes to how to bring and be a guardian for a kid. No less than with Omega, she’s older, she is her own person [as opposed to Grogu/ Baby Yoda]. And I think that the dynamic between them is so interesting because she’s very different in how she was once raised as opposed to how they were raised.”
Rau thinks the similarities are down to the truth that practically all Star Wars is approximately circle of relatives. “A few of these similarities might feel more common [here] or a minimum of they start more common,” Rau added. “If you’re talking approximately grizzled warriors and a young girl, like we are in our show, or anything else around it, the sense of how a circle of relatives works together as a military unit but more than that, just having a look out for every other — [those] are themes that are actually important in this show.”
Star Wars: The Naughty Batch will also share a character with The Mandalorian — Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), an elite mercenary introduced in the first season when Mando visited Tatooine. Shand was once seemingly killed in that episode but she made a miraculous return in The Mandalorian season 2, revealing that Boba Fett had saved her. Shand would later help Fett take over the Hutt palace — which established The Book of Boba Fett spin-off series that will also include her. For the reason that The Mandalorian takes place after the fall of the Empire, The Naughty Batch will feature a much younger Shand.
There are a minimum of two more ties to the larger Star Wars cinematic universe on The Naughty Batch. Resistance fighter Saw Gerrera (voiced by Andrew Kishino), introduced in The Clone Wars and later played by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, may be involved. And then there’s Death Star commander Grand Moff Tarkin — or reasonably Admiral Tarkin (voiced by Stephen Stanton) on The Naughty Batch, as he’s yet to ascend the role made famed by Peter Cushing in the original 1977 Star Wars film.
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“Something we try to do is retain this show true to what Star Wars is at its core, and that’s the reason something that Dave Filoni is at all times teaching us and urgent upon us,” Corbett said. “Relating to like characters that we get to see, it is so tempting to wish to use everybody, because we’re all fans of Star Wars. So we wish to play with all those toys. But it is a balancing act between why we use sure people, with also wanting to introduce everybody to new characters because this is a big galaxy. So we are not looking for it to feel too small. We wish to get to explore other people’s points of view and perspectives.”
Rau added: “When we do get a chance to receive a character to fit into this storyline, I intent we freak out. It is so fun just talking approximately it, it’s fun bringing it to life. Such a lot effort was once spent, technically, to honour the legacy of any character that we’re familiar with. And that isn’t only from a casting perspective but the musical cues we use, the way it’s lively, the lighting, the way that each one comes together. But we do be sure that someone who doesn’t realize who that character is could still follow along. But whether you do realize who it is, you might cry, you might laugh, possibly both, all of that.”
Star Wars: The Naughty Batch premieres May 4 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. It is going to debut with a 70-minute special episode. New episodes air Friday thereafter.