With Disney+ having been on the market for about a year and a half, it seems Disney’s latest plan is to throw as much original television from its landmark brands at viewers as possible. For Star Wars fans eager for new content, this is nothing but good news with the latest series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, headed to Disney+ tomorrow, May 4—Star Wars Day. The show will follow the eponymous Bad Batch, a troop of clones who have left the Republic Army due to their … genetic quirks.
Originally introduced in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch will also be an animated series featuring familiar faces like Fennec Shand and Saw Gerrera. The Bad Batch series is expected to pick up where its predecessor left off, following the aftermath of Order 66 in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Whether you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan or new to the franchise, here’s what you need to watch to be ready before you check out the new series. (Everything listed in this guide is available to stream on Disney+.)
First, we’ll look at essential viewing to understand the backstories of the clones and The Bad Batch.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Start your binge where it all began. Follow Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi’s secret mission to the planet of Kamino as he uncovers a secret clone plot. Though Attack of the Clones is easily the weakest film of the prequel trilogy, the clones are pivotal to the overarching plot that will come into play. Plus, one of the most iconic lines in film history, “I hate sand,” appears in Attack of the Clones, and we learn the weird Boba Fett backstory no one asked for!
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
After completing the prequel trilogy, George Lucas and Dave Filoni decided to expand upon the clones’ stories in an entire television series of their own. While The Clone Wars is a bit of a slow start, it does what Star Wars does best: retconning. The series not only fleshes out many of the questions in the series (force ghosts, anyone?) but deeply characterizes the clones in a way that makes the prequel trilogy itself that much more gutting.
If you’re a big fan of Star Wars, you should watch the entire series anyway, but if you just want a crash course ahead of The Bad Batch, you should check out the episodes listed below in particular. Not only will these episodes introduce you to the Bad Batch, but the other clones who play a part in their story, as well as Saw Gerrera, who we’ll talk about more in the next entry.
- Season 1 Episode 5, “Rookies”
- Season 3 Episode 1, “Clone Cadets”
- Season 3 Episode 2, “ARC Troopers”
- Season 3 Episode 18, “The Citadel”
- Season 3 Episode 19, “Counter Attack”
- Season 3 Episode 20, “Citadel Rescue”
- Season 5 Episode 2, “A War on Two Fronts”
- Season 5 Episode 3, “Front Runners”
- Season 5 Episode 4, “The Soft War”
- Season 5 Episode 5, “Tipping Points”
- Season 7 Episode 1, “The Bad Batch”
- Season 7 Episode 2, “A Distant Echo”
- Season 7 Episode 3, “On the Wings of Keeradaks”
- Season 7 Episode 4, “Unfinished Business”
Next, we’ll look at what you should watch if you want to understand the guest appearances of Star Wars characters we know and love.
Star Wars: Rebels and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
While originally introduced in The Clone Wars, Onderonian resistance fighter Saw Gerrera makes an appearance in several Star Wars titles. After watching The Clone Wars, jump ahead a little bit in the timeline with Star Wars: Rebels to see where Gerrera ends up after the rise of the Empire. Rebels is a followup animated series to The Clone Wars, but its quality is overall not as high. However, you can expect to see many faces you know from The Clone Wars including Gerrera’s.
While existing in animated form on The Clone Wars and Rebels for years, Forest Whitaker brought the character to life in live action in Rogue One. The Bad Batch exists in the timeline between Gerrera’s appearances on The Clone Wars and Rebels, so it makes perfect sense for him to show up. However, if you want to understand the full scope of his story, watch The Clone Wars episodes above, the Rebels episodes below, and then Rogue One.
Watch these Rebels episodes:
- Season 3 Episode 11, “Ghosts of Geonosis: Part 1”
- Season 3 Episode 12, “Ghosts of Geonosis: Part 2”
- Season 4 Episode 3, “In the Name of the Rebellion: Part 1”
- Season 4 Episode 4, “In the Name of the Rebellion: Part 2”
Ming Na Wen’s Fennec Shand is a fan-favorite gunslinger who first appeared alongside Boba Fett in The Mandalorian. While we’ve learned that she’ll appear in The Bad Batch, we don’t yet know what her role will be, but hopefully we can learn more about the character’s origins and what exactly Shand was doing before she crossed paths with Boba. All of The Mandalorian is worth watching for maximum Baby Yoda cuteness, but to get to know Fennec Shand, simply watch the episodes below:
- Season 1 Episode 5, “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger”
- Season 2 Episode 6, “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”
- Season 2 Episode 7, “Chapter 15: The Believer”
- Season 2 Episode 8, “Chapter 16: The Rescue”
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