The massively successful Star Wars: The Clone Wars spin-off The Bad Batch shows a lot of promise. BGN got the chance to speak with people from the show in an online press conference: Dee Bradley Baker (voice of the Bad Batch), Jennifer Corbett (producer and head writer), and Brad Rau (producer). They discussed the roles they play, what the audience can expect, and even a little about the characters they created.
The Bad Batch was introduced in the final season of The Clone Wars. For those who are not familiar with the Bad Batch, the group is composed of five main characters. We have Hunter, Crosshair, Wrecker, Tech, and the most recent addition Echo.
Can you tell us a little about each character?
Jennifer Corbett: Hunter is the leader of the pack. He’s got tracking skills and a heightened sense that helps him gauge the terrain. The next one is Tech, who is very technically oriented. He always has a handheld device that he’s working on and is super cool, super calm, and competent with all things technical. Then you got Wrecker who’s got incredible strength. Crosshair is the sharpshooter of the group, a contrary character and quite interesting in the dynamic. And Echo is a modified android clone from the Clone Wars episodes, who was brought on board with the Batch.
Who is your favorite character?
Brad Rau: I cannot decide, haha.
Dee Bradley Baker: It’s fun being Wrecker. I have great affection for all of them. They are all remarkably interesting fellows. But Wrecker is probably the furthest away from me. He’s great fun.
During this period, Order 66 takes place and the days leading up to it. This show shows yet another unique angle on those days. Can you talk a little bit about what’s happening in the galaxy when we pick up this show and the challenges that the Bad Batchers are going to face?
Corbett: This time is one of the reasons I got so excited about this show, other than the oddball group of characters. But I just found it intriguing and engaging to watch a series we’ve seen in the Clone Wars where it’s the height of the Clone Troopers doing what they’re meant to do and what they were created for. And the question became, “What happens after the war is over? What happens to clones when all they know is being soldiers?” Especially for the Bad Batch, who do things differently in the Republic. How do they fit in once it becomes the Empire? Because these are two very different regimes. How do they react to this new environment and the new way of doing things and new way of following rules? Which isn’t their favorite thing to do.
It was interesting to talk about the transition from the Republic to the Empire and what that looks like because it’s not what we saw in the original trilogy, where it’s the dominance of the Empire. It’s the early stages. I found it interesting to show planets and places that were happy that the war is over. They don’t really understand the implications of what an Empire actually means. And it’s laying the groundwork for what everyone knows the Empire will be later on.
We are introduced to a new character named Omega. She seems important. What can you tell us about her and how important she will be to the story? And Dee, I would love to know more about the dynamic here between Hunter and Omega because I’m getting those Mandalorian/Baby Yoda-like, reluctant-dad-in-armor vibe.
Baker: It’s a fascinating relationship that unfolds. Because at first, of course, the team is their own sealed unit. They’re certainly not used to having anybody else along or working with anybody else. Although they did bring along Echo and brought Echo on board after he proved himself to them, and they came together on that. Yeah, it’s interesting, in terms of the story and the writing, to have this personal relationship with the younger character and to see how that changes and how they accommodate that. It works because it’s more of an uncle/niece, or a father/child, dynamic, but not entirely. Omega is her own interesting character. It’s interesting to see all of that unfold. But I think it connects you to the story in a personal way. So it’s not just an action story, as Star Wars never is. There’s a personal story that’s also playing out as well, that connects you to the entire story.
Your performance as the Clones has always been incredible. Do you approach Clone Force 99 (The Bad Batch) any differently than you did in the Clone Wars in Season 7 now that they’re headlining their own series?
Baker: Clone Force 99 is another step beyond what I’ve been asked to do in the Clone Wars series. The tricky part for them is that the differentiation is much tighter between characters. It has to be decisive, and it has to be clear. The Bad Batch are much further apart from each other, which oddly makes it a little bit easier to jump from character to character. For me it feels like I’m jumping from rock to rock on a stream. I can see the rock. The writing is clear. And that’s what I jump to. I can see them, and I feel like I know them, and it helps that they’re further differentiated vocally and also in terms of their personality and their mood, shall we say? It comes off looking more like a magic trick than it does maybe with the Clones, but it’s still a fascinating process as a voice actor to have these scenes where I’m just talking to myself, just switching from character to character to character as we go through the script, which is typically how we do it. We just go straight through it.
Corbett: And it’s impressive to watch him do it in the room. When we first started, I thought he was going to go one character at a time. Watching him act out a scene with himself, with all of these Clones, there’s no pause. He just goes right into it. I was blown away. And each time we do one of these record sessions, I’m just amazed at Dee’s talent.
Thank you all. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is streaming exclusively on Disney+ starting May 4.
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Donnie Lopez is a gay Latino/Hispanic social and political commentator, writer, entertainment journalist, and professor. He writes on topics that affect Hispanic/Latino culture. With his novel insight, veracity, and sense of humor, he entertains as well as educates the world.