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Disney+ releases 'Bad Batch' clone troopers for Star Wars Day

From left to right, Crosshair, Echo, Wrecker, Hunter and Tech are Clone Force 99 in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.
From left to right, Crosshair, Echo, Wrecker, Hunter and Tech are Clone Force 99 in "Star Wars: The Bad Batch." Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

LOS ANGELES, May 4 (UPI) -- Disney+ is introducing the Bad Batch, a squad of clone troopers who defy the rising Empire prior to events of the 1977 Star Wars film, on Tuesday, Star Wars Day.

The new animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, follows the success of live action series The Mandalorian and the last season of animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars.

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"Clone Force 99 is kind of another step beyond what I've been asked to do in the Clone Wars series," Dee Bradley Baker, voice of clone troopers in both series, said in a recent Zoom press conference. "The differentiation is much tighter between characters."

The first mention of the Clone Wars came in Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) mentioned Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) father, Annakin's, military service. The prequel trilogy showed that clones of Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) fought for the Galactic Senate in the Clone Wars.

In Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) executed Order 66 to cause the clones to turn on the Jedi. Clone Force 99 was The Bad Batch who did not follow the anti-Jedi order.

Baker voices Hunter, the leader, Tech, the group's gadget guru, Wrecker, the gang's muscle, Crosshair, the sharpshooter, and Echo, an android.

"It's fun to be Wrecker, because he's so honest, so clear and funny," Baker said. "Wrecker's probably the furthest away from me of all of them."

The previous Clone Wars animated series depicted more of the battles between the Clone Army and separatists trying to form the Galactic Empire. Baker could use the same voice for other sets of clones, but the Bad Batch developed individual voices.

"The Bad Batch are much further apart from each other, which oddly makes it a little bit easier to jump from character to character to character," Baker said. "It feels like I'm jumping from rock to rock on a stream."

Head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett said she expected Baker to record all of one character's lines before recording another's. She was impressed he was able to have conversations with himself as different characters.

"There's no pause," Corbett said. "He just goes right into it."

The Clone Wars introduced the Bad Batch prior to the new series. Corbett said The Bad Batch series will explore the Batch's adjustment to the aftermath of the Clone Wars as the Empire rises to power.

"I found it kind of interesting to show planets and places that were happy that the war is over," Corbett said. "They don't really understand the implications of what an Empire actually means."

Supervising director and executive producer Brad Rau said The Bad Batch will struggle to adjust to life after the Clone Wars.

"These clinical, best of the best soldiers [are] suddenly fish out of water in this changing galaxy," Rau said. "None of them are really equipped to go out into the world."

Rau said some examples of adjustment include finding food without an organized mess hall, and fueling up their spaceships without military protocol. Corbett said that now that the war is over, the chain of command breaks down, and the Batch have more disagreements.

"No one comes from the same background," Corbett said. "Everybody has their different reasons for doing what they're doing."

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John Williams (R), watches C-3PO, a human-shaped, protocol droid, take a hand at conducting the Boston Pops during rehearsal. Williams wrote the score for all six "Star Wars" films. UPI File Photo | License Photo

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