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Star Wars: The Bad Batch Release Date, Cast And Plot - What We Know So Far

Disney's 2020 Investor Day got the attention of Star Wars fans from all corners of the globe when it announced (or confirmed, in several cases) a slew of new projects taking place in the beloved galaxy far, far away. Some are movies, like Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron and an untitled film by Taika Waititi. Many, however, are shows, including the long-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi — in which Ewan McGregor will reprise the titular role and Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader — and Ahsoka, featuring Rosario Dawson as the fan-favorite Force-wielder after her one-off appearance on The Mandalorian.

Fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars are no doubt excited about Ahsoka getting her own series, but are probably equally pumped for Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Unlike many Star Wars stories, this one doesn't focus on the Force or the lightsaber-locking conflicts between the Light and Dark sides: it's all about clones. If you're wondering when The Bad Batch is releasing, who's going to be in it, and what it's about, you've come to the right place.

What's the release date for Star Wars: The Bad Batch?

At this point, it's no surprise that the majority of future Star Wars content will be found on Disney+, and The Bad Batch is no exception. Disney's 2020 Investor Day didn't mention any kind of release date, unfortunately, but on February 24, Star Wars' official Twitter cleared up all speculation on that count: The Bad Batch will release on May 4, 2021.

Aside from being relatively close, May 4 also happens to be Star Wars Day, lovingly referred to as May the 4th after one of the franchise's most well-known and oft-quoted phrases: "May the Force be with you." The holiday wasn't immediately recognized or celebrated by Lucasfilm originally, but the company has since embraced the festivities. On Star Wars Day 2020, Disney released the finale of The Clone Wars, so it makes sense to release a spiritual successor to the show on the same day one year later.

Who's in the cast of Star Wars: The Bad Batch?

Temuera Morrison may be the face of the clones in the Star Wars prequels, but Dee Bradley Baker has been their voice since season one of The Clone Wars. Having voiced so many clones for so long, Baker knows full well how to distinguish one from another, even though they all technically have the same voice. The clones that make up the Bad Batch first appear in The Clone Wars season 7: Wrecker, a big guy with even bigger muscles; Tech, the smartest of the bunch; Crosshair, marksman extraordinaire; Echo, who joins up with the team during the events that take place on the planet Anaxes; and Hunter, the tracker and leader of the crew. Baker will voice them all once again.

Other than the clones, Ming-Na Wen will reprise her role as Fennec Shand, the mercenary assassin first introduced in The Mandalorian's fifth episode. Porting the character over from live-action to animation shouldn't be a problem for the seasoned actress — after all, she's the voice of Disney's Mulan, and has plenty of other voice credits under her belt besides.

The Bad Batch trailer reveals one more important character from Star Wars history: Grand Moff Tarkin. Stephen Stanton voices the imposing character in The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, and will do so once again for The Bad Batch.

What's the plot of Star Wars: The Bad Batch?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Star Wars mainstay Dave Filoni revealed that the Bad Batch is George Lucas' brainchild: "He wanted to explore this idea that there were clones that were a little bit more unique from one another that were like a special forces unit that had enhanced skills.... [without] making them superheroes." And indeed, each member of the team — official designation: Clone Force 99 — has a specialty. Those specialties set them apart from other clones — who they call "regs" — and allow them to tackle the most perilous missions imaginable.

While it's not entirely clear what sorts of missions they'll be tackling, it is clear from the trailer that The Bad Batch takes place after Emperor Palpatine issues Order 66. As anyone who watched The Clone Wars and Rebels knows, some clones were able to outmaneuver Palpatine's galaxy-wide command, so the question is: what about the Bad Batch? It's hard to tell from the trailer alone, but based on their generally freewheeling nature established in The Clone Wars, they may not end up subservient to the Galactic Empire — at least not without a fight. 

The official synopsis on StarWars.com clearly states that they're trying to "find new purpose," but that could mean a lot of different things. No two clones are the same, despite their very nature (and often because of it, as The Clone Wars conveys time and again), and that's more true for the members of the Bad Batch than for any regs. We'll be sure to keep you updated as more information on The Bad Batch trickles in, so stay tuned.