For the past few weeks, I’ve been worried about Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Our group of heroes found a place to settle down, Crosshair made the redemptive action the show’s been building to for two seasons, and the clones have been replaced, shunned of their galactic purpose. Is this it? Is this the endgame? With no renewal for a third season announced I started to think the show was wrapping up – just one last rescue mission to Mount Tantiss remaining until it is all over. And then the second season finale surprised me. A rescue mission didn’t happen and instead of a triumphant end, we received a dark and depressing cliffhanger. I was beaming ear-to-ear. A third season, while not officially announced, is now a guarantee. I can’t help but look ahead and speculate, although responsibly, of course.
Tech is dead and I hope it stays that way. Sure, this is the franchise where just about every character, somehow, returns, but I was moved by Tech’s death and don’t want it undermined. It may have been a little similar to Kanan’s in Rebels but it was still effective. The show had been clearly building to the moment all season, making us care for the character before ripping him away. It’s emotional, and it should be. I don’t like the fan theories of him surviving, ready to pop back up all brainwashed on Tantiss. Besides, we have different characters to now focus on.
Scientist Emerie Karr was revealed to be another female clone of Jango Fett, perhaps the alpha to Omega’s, well, omega (unless that is still Boba). I don’t know exactly where this plot is heading but I trust the writers at this point. Hopefully it sheds light on Omega’s creation and greater purpose. I could see Emerie being in a few episodes for an arc at the season’s start or being a lead cast member, but hopefully she is positioned as something other than just ‘the new Tech.’
Crosshair provides an opportunity I desperately hope the series capitalises on: a true redemption arc. After decades of arch villainy, Darth Vader turned back to the light side of the Force… and immediately died. Kylo Ren once more embraced being Ben Solo… and (almost) immediately died. For such a big Star Wars idea, redemption – true redemption – has been barely explored in the franchise. I want to see Crosshair make the choice to side with his brothers and join them on their adventures. We could see his difficult reintegration with the Batch and face the consequences of his actions as a solider of the Empire. I want to see him challenged by his past actions and find a way to atone that isn’t sacrificing his life.
I’m glad Mount Tantiss wasn’t just a one-season-and-done story arc for the show, especially because we waited so long to see it again after its post-credits tease in season 1. There’s so much potential with the location and I hope we see a whole bevy of strange, unethical, imperial experimentation. Hemlock is working on something vital to the Emperor himself so it’s not a big leap to start thinking about the origins of his cloning work on Exogol which leads to his resurrection. It might begin here and maybe even be picked up again in the Mandoverse with Moff Gideon’s research. The brainwashed clones, like the assassin we saw in the mid-season two-parter, could be the fate of all remaining clones if the Batch don’t put a stop to it; perhaps this experiment leads to the first iteration of Dark Troopers or Death Troopers. And after 13 years waiting for the Zillo Beast to return, season 2 of The Bad Batch made that dream come true. It can’t end there. The beast has to be back and wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the Batch free it to wreak havoc as a distraction when they finally arrive at Tantiss.
There are a few supporting characters in the show which part of me would like to see return but at the same time I question whether it is necessary. Rampart was a good villain for the first season and a half and I loved the surprise twist of Palpatine pinning everything on him and seeing him arrested for his crimes by the tyrannical government he sold his soul to serve. I don’t see a practical way of him returning to the narrative if he is imprisoned, unless maybe he has information that the Batch need. Cid is in a similar boat. This could be it; she has served her purpose after betraying the Batch and exits the story much like DJ in The Last Jedi. Or she could seek redemption after learning of Omega’s capture, or get her comeuppance is she stands by her actions.
And, as I’ve been hoping since the show debuted, how can a series about a young clone who grew up lonely on Kamino not feature Boba Fett? I would love to see him interact with Omega; perhaps Hemlock has kidnapped him too. Boba just makes sense for this story. Maul however, as much as I want to see him build his criminal empire during this time period, probably wouldn’t fit. But hey, just give him his own series. And, finally, in regards to characters, I want more of Senator Chuchi in season 3, even though if she continues on her current course of clone advocacy she won’t make it out of this show alive.
The Bad Batch is a story of transition, of change. The lead characters have to discover their new purpose after the war ends and their government betrays them, as do all the clones, and the galaxy is shifting under the rule of the new empire. Season 2 continued this change, with Palpatine announcing his stormtrooper program, but there are still a few final steps that need to happen. The Venators need to be decommissioned with Star Destroyers taking their place. V-Wings are phased out and replaced by TIE fighters. And the TK armour of troopers will make way for the classic stormtrooper look. The second season literally gave us the first four notes of the Imperial March and the third will need to finish the tune. Yet once that transition is completed, the show needs to end.
As much as I feared the show’s conclusion coming at the end of season 2, I hope it does come with the end of season 3. Once the Empire is as we know it from the original trilogy, the animated Star Wars realm passes on to Rebels rather than The Clone Wars and its spin-off series. The Bad Batch was always more of an epilogue anyway. This second season had the smell of a darker second act about it, the show’s Empire Strikes Back, to use such a cliché, and one more season to act as the third act, hopefully a more triumphant one, feels right. All the pieces are in place: it’s time for The Bad Batch to end.
What are your hopes for the show’s third season and what did you think of the second? Let me know in the comments and be sure to geek out with me about TV, movies, and video-games on Twitter @kylebrrtt.