Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” Episode 3 “Replacements.”
“Star Wars” — in some ways — has been a mystery story. We learn something, but then we want to know why things are the way they are. So we learn more over time. We met Darth Vader in “A New Hope.” We wanted to learn his backstory, so we learned it in the prequel trilogy.
One question on so many minds — especially after “Attack of the Clones” — was what happened to all of the clone soldiers? We see clones fighting in the Clone Wars, but we don’t see them down the road in the original trilogy. Fast forward all of these years to now with “The Bad Batch.” We’re finally learning why.
The third episode — titled “Replacements” — is a darker episode of an animated “Star Wars” show that shows us the beginning stages of what happened to the clone troopers between the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War between the Rebellion and the Empire. We’re seeing the start of how the clones are weeded out and why real recruited soldiers became a big deal for the Empire.
This may seem small, but it’s a big deal. “The Bad Batch” is rewriting the “Star Wars” canon, giving us a new perspective on everything we’ve already seen.
It’s a really dark episode for a ‘Star Wars’ animated series
This episode also introduced the Empire’s first so-called “Elite Squad,” a squad of real soldiers and not clone troopers. This squad resembles the stormtroopers we see in the future “Star Wars” films, who are often recruits and not clones.
And the “Elite Squad” are a bad crew, and we see that play out on screen. There’s a dark scene about midway through the episode where the squad kills a handful of civilians without remorse. There’s some pushback from one soldier, who is then killed. Then, the entire squad unleashes a flurry of attacks on the civilians for no real reason.
This is one of those dark moments that show how gritty “Star Wars” can be when it wants to be. It showed how adult and mature these animated shows can be. They’re not only for children or young adolescents. They’re telling a story we couldn’t see elsewhere.
Just be mindful of this episode for the dark Elite Squad moment if you’re watching with your child. It’s a little much for an animated show, though the point of it is to show how dark the Empire can be.
The future of the clone troopers, revealed?
It’s cool to see the fallout from Order 66 and the Clone Wars on this show. It’s powerful to witness the clones lose their importance in the universe and real soldiers taking over. This shows the fallout of the Clone creators on Camino and why we never really see clones again in the original trilogy.
But is this rewriting the entire point of the Clone Wars? The Clone Wars brought clone soldiers into the story, suggesting all stormtroopers are actually clones of each other. This storyline seems to wipe that way, suggesting that the Empire took a more personal approach with selecting its soldiers.
There’s probably not proper way for the show explain why there were so many clones during the prequel trilogy era and none to be seen in the original and sequel trilogy era. So this is the best we’ll get. But still, it’s a little disheartening to know the characters we supported throughout the “Clone Wars” animated show are becoming less important, once again highlighting how the entire creation and implementation of the clones was all from the thoughts of Emperor Palpatine, a sick and twisted who wanted nothing but unlimited power.
Will the Bad Batch turn?
There was a subtle moment that might have an impact on the future episodes of “The Bad Batch.” At the beginning of the episode, the soldier Tech said he’s building a scanner to find their inhibitor chips — the device that made all the clone troopers turn on the Jedi for Order 66. He said, in theory, their inhibitor chips wouldn’t lead to anything and nothing would change. But, it’s a theory.
This could easily be a hint that the Bad Batch will turn and become similar to their counterparts. The Bad Batch could still become anti-Jedi soldiers of the Empire without a freethinking mind to make their own decision. It’s something to watch moving forward.