Hello and welcome back to My Geekology! I’m Ash and today we are going to take a look at one of the incredible animated shows in the Star Wars universe: Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021-Present)! Today, we are going to examine how the show explores the concept of family and creates for itself an identity apart from its predecessor. We will also explore how the writers of the show give a wonderful platform to people with disabilities to connect with Clone Force 99! We hope you enjoy it! See you on the other side!
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the currently ongoing second season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021-Present) is an animated series that conveys the journey of Clone Force 99 mostly after the events of Order 66. It addresses a number of themes but one of the largest is one we see explored over much of the animated media in the Star Wars franchise: family. If there is one theme that has proven central to the Star Wars universe, it is family. In all forms, including all its beauty and tumultuousness. Both the complexities and strain that can come with familial connection as well as the nuances of the bonds that become found families are explored over the franchise’s tremendous run across various media.
In this article, I will explore how the show explores its central theme and the difficult situations that influenced the evolution of their journey together. I will focus on experiences involving Omega and Echo primarily.
In a recent episode of the show titled “The Crossing,” Clone Force 99’s youngest member Omega and its technology and calculations expert Tech are separated from the rest of the group. Omega, like many characters in the universe, was someone who was forced to grow up very young. During the events of the show, we see her touch dirt for the first time as she had never left her home of Kamino. We also see her witness treachery for the first time. Tech, on the other hand, has seen almost everything as a longtime member of the group.
What follows is an incredible piece of dialogue. One of which helps push the show out of the shadow of its predecessor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014, 2020)). Omega is expressing pain about missing Echo, a member who recently left to join the fight against the rising Empire, and Tech is having a hard time understanding where her emotions are coming from.
Omega: Everything is changing, and you don’t even care.
Tech: I…am not sure how I should care about change. It is a fundamental part of life.
Omega: Echo left, why doesn’t that bother you?
Tech: I am aware that you miss him, but we have to adapt and move on. That is what soldiers do.
Omega: We are more than that. We are a family. Aren’t we?
Tech: Well…uh…yes, of course, we are.
Omega: Then why don’t you act like it?
Tech: Echo chose a different path as did Crosshair. I have to respect their decision. Even though it can be difficult to understand, we must carry on. I may process moments and thoughts differently, but it does not mean that I feel any less than you.
This was a pretty striking conversation to me when I experienced it for the first time. The characters are more similar than they look. They both have a very limited lens through which they view their world and their respective places in it. Omega because she was very young (and still is) when her home was destroyed and she was essentially adopted by Hunter and the rest of Clone Force 99. Tech, like other clones, was born with a purpose. That purpose and goal persist through whatever tribulations undergo their social world.
However, something they are discovering in this new version of their world is that they can define their place for themselves, for the first time. The key word Omega uses is “changing.” Tech can say he “feels” and they can recognize that their relationship as Clone Force 99 goes beyond military or mission-based, it is family. This is an idea and an evolution that is unique and helps give the show its own identity, and a strong one at that.
Echo is a character that was seemingly resurrected by the franchise. The last we saw the character before the appearance of Clone Force 99 during the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014, 2020) he was presumed dead in an episode called “The Citadel.” However, we come to understand that he has been the victim of horrific circumstances over that course of time. He was surgically modified and violated to be utilized as a tool of war.
Those events, understandably, affected Echo significantly. So much so, that with Captain Rex’s approval, he joins Clone Force 99. One of the biggest things that changed whenever Echo returned to the battlefield alongside Anakin Skywalker was his identity. He could perform different functions due to his loss and subsequent incorporation of an interchangeable right hand. However, he was not simply a soldier anymore.
In that respect, he connected with Clone Force 99. He was hindered by his awful experiences to a degree and had to see those memories living in his flesh in the form of the implantations that were placed into him.
I connected with this entire group as a whole, but Echo most of all. I am disabled as a result of a traumatic event as well. I think about it when it hurts when I see the rod in images, and when I have to use a cane for long distances. The change that Echo experienced, I felt myself. I wasn’t the same, but that was not bad. It was just different. It took adjustment and always will, but I am definitely not alone, just like Echo wasn’t. That is pretty cool.
I think that if the show keeps making room for this type of analysis, specifically in how these types of changes affect concepts of self and family, this show could have a long and beautiful life. It allows a lot of people who might only have found families, or have physical or mental disabilities that affect their lives to see a bit of themselves and their experiences in a world full of wonder. There is nothing wrong with that.
Thank you for coming on this journey as we explored the dynamics of Clone Force 99! We hope you had fun, and we’ll see you here next time at My Geekology!