The Bad Batch is the result of a long and meandering journey for not just Star Wars fans, but the franchise itself. While immediate reaction to the 1977 hit release was to explore as many spin-off options, from already existing comics (by Marvel, no less) to novels and TV specials, it took some time before the expansion of the film onto other media was a success.
And while the Ewoks and Droids possessed relative goodwill in response, it would only be in 2003 that Star Wars would see a more universally beloved television spin-off with the animated Clone Wars micro-series produced and developed by Genndy Tartakovsky of Samurai Jack fame. Its success eventually led to The Clone Wars CG-animated series which ran for 7 seasons (having debuted with a film) over a six-year original run, and an additional year during the Disney+ era for its seventh season.
And while there’re many, many ways to enjoy all the animated Star Wars content, here’s what you need to watch to catch up on the current universe of stories.
The Clone Wars
A no-brainer, this now iconic series has been recognised as a must-watch entry, rivalling the significance of any Star Wars content outside of the Original Trilogy. Yeah, I said it–The Clone Wars is greater in significance even when compared to the Prequel Trilogy (though, obviously, they wouldn’t exist without the prequels).
Although largely driven by the adventures of Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan, the series spends a good bulk of time on the Clone Troopers themselves, as well as shining the spotlight on lesser seen Jedi from the films. Fan favourites such as Plot Koon, Kit Fisto, and Quinaln Vos were all given opportunities to live up to their off-screen reputations, while also introducing a wider galaxy to new fans.
The great thing about The Clone Wars is also that it can be re-watched in chronological order (as opposed to release order) to better get an understanding of the sequence of events during the wars. The right order can be found here on the official Star Wars page!
Also, of course, The Clone Wars gave us Ahsoka, arguably the greatest Star Wars character since Obi-Wan.
The Bad Batch
Picking up moments before Order 66, The Bad Batch is Star Wars’ latest animated instalment. While it remains to be seen how exactly the events of the series will play out, both the pilot and the follow-up episode two have been a great introduction to this largely unexplored era set immediately after the events of the Clone Wars.
With new episodes dropping weekly on Disney+, the first season of the series is expected to run for 16-episodes.
As great as The Clone Wars is, this one’s a personal favourite. Rebels follows the adventure of Kanan Jarrus, a would-be simple man trying to make his way in the universe. He also happens to be the padawan of fallen Jedi Depa Billaba.
Making his way in the universe, however, leads him to meeting Ezra Bridger, a Force-sensitive adolescent doing his best to survive in this Empire-dominated galaxy. With a classic combination of misfits for a crew, this team goes on to become one of the most influential forces in galactic history!
Forces of Destiny
A micro-series in the vein of the original Clone Wars, this web series returns to classic 2D and does the noble task of spotlighting female characters from various points of Star Wars’ history.
From Rey to Leia, and Jyn Erso to Sabine Wren, this series does a glorious job with portraying the smaller incidents that have certainly influenced magnitudes of the Republic, Rebellion, and Resistance.
The series also includes the original actors where it can, seeing the return of Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka, Daisy Ridley as Rey, and even Lupita Nyong’o as Mas Kanata among many other awesome actresses.
And, hey, there’s Ahsoka in this, too!
Star Wars: Clone Wars
Okay, so this one’s a little iffy in terms of canonical status, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s more preference over anything else. Aside from any directly conflicting incidents, it can be largely assumed that the series functions as a prequel to the 2008 CG-animated show.
If anything, this iteration of the Clone Wars still fits the events of the Prequel Trilogy significantly better than then 2008 one. Which is no surprise considering it was developed with the intent of bridging Episodes II and III.
Unfortunately, there is no Ahsoka in this. There is, however, Mace Windu taking on an entire droid army solo, and sans lightsaber for the most part before getting a drink like the badass motherfucker we all know him to be.
The Bad Batch is now available for streaming on Disney+!