The seventh season of The Clone Wars was a triumphant return and finale of the beloved series, serving as the crowning achievement of Lucasfilm animation and the popular show. But it’s also becoming more and more apparent that it’s the direct predecessor to the latest animated Star Wars show, The Bad Batch.
I remember all the way back when Dave Filoni revealed which arcs would be included in the final season and discussed them at Celebration, some fans were frustrated by the choices. Even after the season aired, some fans complained about the stories included, wondering why they made the cut when plenty of other options and untold stories remained sidelined.
Filoni’s reasoning at the time made sense. He argued that the two main characters of The Clone Wars were Ahsoka Tano and Rex, so the final season included an arc featuring each of them, before then bringing them together for the Siege of Mandalore – which was all along planned to be the final story of the series and was the large motivating factor behind this final season to begin with. So in other words, the season was comprised of three arcs, and the final one was the Siege of Mandalore. Between the first two, then, there would be one with Rex and one with Ahsoka.
That turned into the arc about the Bad Batch (which also featured Rex quite a bit) and about Ahsoka and the Martez sisters (which focused on Ahsoka dealing with not being a Jedi anymore and trying to find her place in the galaxy). The arcs also represented a progression, with the first arc bearing more similarities to the previous six seasons of the show, the middle arc being a bit of a transition, and the final arc blowing away everything that came before it stylistically, visually, and thematically.
All of that was clear at the time. But just six episodes into The Bad Batch, it’s clear that there was a lot more involved in the decision-making behind including these arcs, since they were not designed as one-off appearances.
That’s most obvious with the first arc, since the four episodes literally focused on and introduced this group of experimental clones, the Bad Batch. It’s a cool arc that was long-planned, but when Lucasfilm announced that they would be the focus of the next animated series it became even more clear why it was included. These episodes function as a pilot for this new series, introducing us to the members of the team, showing us them during the Clone Wars, and seeing them work alongside familiar faces like Anakin Skywalker and Rex.
But with the most recent episode of The Bad Batch, “Decommissioned,” it’s also now becoming more clear why the arc with the Martez sisters was included. The biggest reason was the way it helped explore where Ahsoka was at, but it’s also now clear that the Martez sisters aren’t just one-off appearances in one arc of the series. They showed up in the episode at first competing with the Bad Batch and then working with them, and it was revealed that they are working for a mysterious client. And it seems that they still have connections to Ahsoka, since they have her droid, R7.
So my point with this article is simple: sometimes we can’t make judgments on why a certain story is told, or why a certain decision is made, right away. With the seventh season of The Clone Wars it was already apparent why these stories were included, whether fans enjoyed them or not. But now, a year later, we’re seeing that The Bad Batch is really strongly connecting with the first two arcs of the final season of The Clone Wars, telling us that there were more plans for these characters and stories than just the episodes of that one season. Maybe that’s an important reminder for us.
And then, of course, the entire theme of The Bad Batch so far seems to be on these clones finding their place in a rapidly changing galaxy as the Empire rises to power, and that serves as a loose follow-up to the Siege of Mandalore, which saw Order 66 take place and the clones serving as the ‘antagonists’ for a change, fighting against Ahsoka and Rex. The galaxy is continuing to change, the inhibitor chip and Order 66 are continuing to be a focus, and that’s not even mentioning Rex – who will appear in The Bad Batch before long.
So yes, it’s no secret that this show is a follow-up and a sequel series to The Clone Wars, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s especially true of the seventh final season of that show. And that’s a really great thing.