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What You Need To Know About Clone Force 99 Before Watching Star Wars: The Bad Batch

The future of Star Wars seems to be pretty bright, with Disney+ offering more opportunities to expand the galaxy far, far away with an impressive slate of upcoming TV shows. One of those projects is The Clone Wars spin-off, The Bad Batch, which fans recently got an extended look at via a new action-packed trailer. The series follows the genetically unique soldiers in Clone Force 99 after the end of The Clone Wars. In the time of the new series, the Empire rules the galaxy with an iron fist, and the Batch has to resort to mercenary work to survive. 

Their journey partners them with a spirited young girl, while they try to evade capture by Grand Moff Tarkin, one of the Empire's top leaders, who was originally played by Peter Cushing in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. Tarkin is just one of the many exciting characters coming to the new series

Surprisingly, there's not long to wait until the show from Dave Filoni and Lucasfilm Animation arrives on the streaming service, as The Bad Batch debuts appropriately on May the Fourth. Let's take a look at what you need to know about Clone Force 99 ahead of The Bad Batch.

The unique clones

Clone Force 99 was brought into the series during The Clone Wars' final season, which aired on Disney+ after a painfully long hiatus. The elite squad were put together because they each had specific genetic mutations, which made the team a superior force on the battlefield. Commander Cody (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) makes use of the unit on Anaxes, because their chaotically spontaneous nature short-circuited the Separatists' droid army, which couldn't predict their plans.

Sergeant Hunter leads the group. He has heightened senses that also allow him to detect electromagnetic signals on any planet. Crosshair is the designated sniper (if you couldn't tell by his name), and has quite an abrasive personality, while Wrecker is a little more friendly, but his bulky physicality and love for explosives make him a vicious fighter. The team's tech backup is called, well, Tech. Luckily, he's a little more captivating than his name suggests, and he's even the key to saving a long-lost trooper from the Separatists.

Echo is the final member of Clone Force 99. He was originally thought dead after a mission on Lola Sayu went awry. He was actually being used by the droids as a way of predicting all the Clones' military strategies, which is why the Bad Batch were called to Anaxes in the first place. His new cybernetic implants give him the edge over a number of digital systems, as he works in tandem with Tech. They are all voiced by the crazy talented Dee Bradley Baker.

The squad is named after a minor Clone Wars character

Clone Force 99 might sound like an incredibly generic name for a squad of soldiers, but their designation actually calls back to an earlier season of The Clone Wars. Not every member of the Republic's army develops into a fierce warrior. One such "malformed" clone named 99 (you guessed it: Dee Bradley Baker) staying behind on the cloning planet Kamino to work on the maintenance crew. The Bad Batch are actually named after this failed clone.

99's heroic sacrifice during a Separatist assault on Kamino earned him the high honor of immortalization as the name of the most feared and reviled unit of reject clone troopers in the galaxy far, far away. 99 was killed in action when he leapt in front of blaster fire in an attempt to get more grenades for soldiers pinned down by the droids; it was an honorable death that he would've been pleased with. Who knows — it's not impossible that he could make a brief reappearance in The Bad Batch through flashbacks.

Clone Force 99 was originally created by George Lucas

Since original Star Wars creator George Lucas created The Clone Wars, it isn't surprising that he filled it with an array of colorful new characters. When speaking to Entertainment Weekly while the final season was airing weekly on Disney+, Dave Filoni revealed that the team was Lucas' original creation for the animated series. "The Bad Batch themselves, that was all right from George. 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."

Although Lucas isn't directly involved in the new series, his influence will still be felt in the episodes when they arrive on Disney+. When speaking to The Star Wars Show in December 2020, Filoni explained The Bad Batch will feel a little similar to the original series; "It's very much in the vein of Clone Wars. It follows the legacy that we started way back with George [Lucas] of telling very, very exciting adventure stories in the style of Clone Wars. It does aspire to the look and scale of those adventures ... the audience really demands to have the animated series be epic."

So if you've been aching for more Star Wars TV content after the end of The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian season 2, then it sounds like The Bad Batch is definitely going to scratch that itch. Star Wars: The Bad Batch will premiere on Disney+ on May 4, 2021, with new episodes airing each Friday.