Executive Producer/Supervisor Brad Rau and Executive Producer/Head Writer Jennifer Corbett tell StarWars.com what fans can expect from the next leg of Clone Force 99’s journey on Disney+.
Clone Force 99 is at a crossroads.
The war has come to an end and with it the Galactic Republic they served. The destruction of Tipoca City on Kamino in the season 1 finale of Star Wars: The Bad Batch meaning that the Empire now believes that the elite squad is gone. And if they lay low and play their cards right, they can keep themselves and their newest member, Omega, safe in Season 2, with a two-episode premiere now streaming on Disney+.
“We intentionally ended Season 1 by closing a chapter,” executive producer Jennifer Corbett, who also serves as the show’s lead writer, tells StarWars.com. “It was kind of a reset for the show. The idea was that now that Tipoca City was destroyed, the Empire believes the group perished in that attack, so they have this relative freedom. They can do missions now and stay a little more under the radar.” But laying low is no easy task for the morally driven Batch. “We wanted to very quickly pull them back in as they keep getting sucked into the larger galactic conflict,” Corbett adds, “and things get a little more complicated for them.”
Corbett and executive director/executive producer Brad Rau both have their own head canon about what Batch has been up to in the months between seasons. “They went from being these Republic soldiers who were probably taken care of in terms of the best equipment, the best equipment, the best missions,” says Corbett, to working to stay fed, scraping by with worn armor, and doing the assignments they may have. can safely visit. “I envision it as a family road trip,” she says with a laugh. “Cross-country, and you’re in the middle, and you still have a long way to go.”
“It became part of our poster for Celebration: The Long Road Ahead,” says Rau. “We wanted to put them in a place where things are not good. What are they going to do? What’s their next decision? The empire is everywhere and the empire is growing, so you can’t really do whatever you want. It’s a smaller world .”
“Dare to be great”
Beyond Clone Force 99 – Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Echo and Omega – series, which spun off from an arc in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, will also explore what it means to be an ordinary clone trooper in a post-war galaxy. Captain Rex and Commander Cody will appear alongside former Bad Batcher Crosshair, who has sworn allegiance to the Empire despite the removal of his inhibitor chip. “Don’t worry, Crosshair fans,” says Corbett. “He’s in there.”
The series is also executive produced by Dave Filoni, who took Rau and Corbett’s plans for a Crosshair-centric episode featuring a day in the life of a regular clone post-Order 66 and suggested the familiar face of Commander Cody as a cameo. The character’s reveal in the teaser trailer at Star Wars Celebration of Anaheim, along with the first glimpse of Wookiee Jedi youngling and Order 66 survivor Gungi from “The Gathering” arc in The Clone Warsgot such an enthusiastic response from the fans that it made the whole floor shake, recalls Corbett.
Filoni regularly challenges the team to push the boundaries of what they thought was possible, say Corbett and Rau. “He will remind us of ‘Dare to be great,'” says Rau. “I think it’s important for everyone to hear that. We have to push as much as we can.”
Since Season 1, the Bad Batch has grown and evolved as a unit, trying to find its place in a changing galaxy. “In the opening episode of Season 2, we wanted to do a crossroads mission for the group where they could either walk away from it or take a risk to get this war chest and hope that maybe their wildest dreams could come true,” says Corbett. The Separatist world they settled on, connected to the wider galaxy, was none other than Serenno, formerly the home of Count Dooku. The goal? Dooku’s Palace. “It’s scary and there were a lot of treasures in there, so we jumped at it,” says Corbett. “Dave adds that special sauce to the episodes.”
The Dad Batch
The creators work hard to keep the show accessible to fans of all ages, filling stories with issues that can exist in our world as well as the galaxy far, far away. “It has to be something our viewers can relate to,” says Corbett.
Omega, the heart of Clone Force 99, certainly helps, providing a more innocent lens through which to view the world and its difficulties. In the wake of Order 66, Bad Batch has become something of a Dad Batch to their youngest recruit, protecting her and teaching her the skills to survive.
While Season 1 explored Omega’s connection to Hunter and Wrecker, this season will delve more into her relationship with Echo and Tech, the creators promise. “Echo is so great, and we really wanted to make sure we figured out enough space for how he affects Omega and what he teaches her,” says Rau. “Same thing with Tech,” Corbett adds. “We have to have a lot of fun with him and give him a little more, delve a little more into their relationship.”
Omega changes and grows with her found family. In the months between seasons, fans find a slightly older and wiser Omega, with nods to her more mature outlook inherent in her design and refined energy arc skills. “At the end of Season 1, Omega got to see for himself the power of the Empire and how truly dangerous they are,” says Corbett. Not only has it made the character lose some of his innocence, it’s the kind of thing that would make anyone want to run and hide.
But there are bright spots in the galaxy, like newcomer Phee Genoa, played by Wanda Sykes. The villain, described as a cross between Han Solo, Jack Sparrow and the real-life pirate Anne Bonny, is the perfect foil for both the no-nonsense Bad Batch and business-minded Cid. The creators even talked about the character — in code — while in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, Rau says with a laugh. “Wanda is incredible and she brings so much to this mysterious character with so much bravado… a villain who has a bit more style. If Cid gives a thumbs up to these guys, who will give a thumbs up to Cid?” asks Rau. “It’s Phee Genoa. On purpose, when we filmed her introduction, you get to meet her by her bootstraps up on Cid’s desk. And that tells you a lot about this character.”
And this season, fans will catch up with Nala Se, who was rescued from Kamino by Imperial forces, and Emperor Palpatine himself. “In the trailer, fans got to see Palpatine in the Senate, so we’ll possibly explore Coruscant a bit this season,” Corbett teases. “And maybe connect with people who would be there at that time and place.”
The harsh reality of the Imperial regime forces Bad Batch and Omega to ask themselves some tough questions this season, as they encounter others struggling amid tyranny and ne’er-do-wells.
“Later in the season, we have this really sweet moment where Omega lets it out to one of the dads,” says Rau. “‘This is terrible. What are we going to do? And he tells her sometimes all we can do is try to help as much as we can and move on.'” It’s a minor moment of kindness and compassion in a larger conflict, but an important lesson, especially for younger viewers at home who may be overwhelmed by matters beyond their own control in this galaxy. “What are we to do when things are terrible? Sometimes can you just do your part. Sometimes it’s worth it to just do a little bit to help. We think that’s really important for kids to see, and we really wanted to make that point.”
And even in a dark time in the galaxy, there is always a glimmer of hope. “We always try to have the element of hope in there,” says Corbett. “That’s really what I think Star Wars is about. So we always want to make sure that’s ingrained in those stories… There’s a lot of heart in Season 2. I’m so excited for fans to really see where we take this story and experience it.”