- Release date confirmed for January 4, 2023. - Dee Bradley Baker returns to voice all of the Clone Troopers. - Likely to focus on the aftermath of the Clones being phased out by the Empire. - Some crossover with elements of The Mandalorian expected. - Could a young Boba Fett turn up this season?
The Clone Wars may be over but Clone Troopers still have a major role to play in that galaxy far, far away. The Bad Batch season 2 will continue the adventures of Clone Force 99, a ragtag group of unique troopers genetically engineered to possess traits that make them superior soldiers.
While the first run of 16 episodes took a while finding a reason to exist, the show eventually carved out its niche in Star Wars canon, with potentially significant implications for The Mandalorian. The Bad Batch season 2 seems set to expand the mythology further, as Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Echo, Crosshair and young sidekick Omega try to find their place in a universe where the newly formed Empire is starting to throw its weight around.
So, with the show’s return confirmed for January 4, 2023, we’ve sent our troopers on a covert mission to tell you everything you need to know about The Bad Batch season 2 release date, story, cast and more. Spoilers follow for season 1.
Release date: The show has been confirmed for a January 4, 2023 return on Disney Plus.
Cast: Dee Bradley Baker is back to voice the main cast of characters Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Echo, Crosshair and any other clones they might encounter. Michelle Ang will also return as Omega, along with Rhea Perlman as Cid.
Story: With Clones being aggressively phased out by the Empire at the end of season 1, we expect to see the galaxy changing further around our characters in season 2. The fate of the dispossessed standard-model Clones is also likely to be important in future seasons.
The Bad Batch season 2: release date
On August 5 2021, just ahead of the two-part season 1 finale, Disney Plus confirmed confirmed (via StarWars.com) that the show will return.
For a long time, it looked like The Bad Batch season 2 release date would be some time this year – in fact, the trailer that debuted at Star Wars Celebration in May teased a "Fall 2022" launch, which was later locked down for September 28, 2022.
At Disney’s D23 event in September, however, we learned that the wait would be a little longer. According to Deadline, The Bad Batch creator (and Ahsoka showrunner) Dave Filoni confirmed that The Bad Batch season 2 release date will be January 4, 2023. The new season will debut on Disney Plus with a double-bill of the first two episodes.
The Bad Batch season 2 trailer
The first proper The Bad Batch season 2 trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration in May 2022. As well as showing there's been a time jump since the season 1 finale (Omega has longer hair, Clone Force 99 have upgraded their armor), it also hints at a few key plot points for the new season – we'll explore those in the story section below.
There are also plenty of treats for Star Wars fans, with glimpses of Revenge of the Sith veteran Commander Cody, Clone Commandos, and Gungi, the Wookiee Padawan who first appeared in The Clone Wars episode ‘The Gathering’.
The Bad Batch season 2 story
Spoilers follow for The Bad Batch season 1. If you're yet to watch it on Disney Plus, proceed with caution.
So the big takeaway from The Bad Batch season 2 panel at Star Wars Celebration in May was that – as head writer Jennifer Corbett put it (h/t StarWars.com) – “some time has passed" since season 1.
In the finale episode, the Imperial fleet destroyed Tipoca City and the cloning facilities on Kamino, as Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Echo and Omega parted ways with ex-Clone Force 99 member Crosshair. Even though Crosshair told the Bad Batch that his Order 66-initiated inhibitor chip had been removed – a fact confirmed by head writer Jennifer Corbett in an interview with StarWars.com – his allegiance remains with the Empire.
As Crosshair is so fond of reminding his brothers, “good soldiers follow orders”, but the question remains: will the Empire value his services now that Clones are being phased out in favour of conscripted TK Troopers, the forerunners of Imperial Stormtroopers.
His brothers will clearly be holding out hope that he comes back to the good side, but as supervising director Brad Rau posed the question at the Celebration panel in Anaheim , “Does he want be redeemed right now? He’s a very interesting guy.”
The Bad Batch, meanwhile, must have had some big decisions to make when they departed Kamino in their ship, the Havoc Marauder. “We didn’t want to have everyone’s purpose locked in at the end of season 1,” Rau told StarWars.com. “It’s something that they deal with in a big way as we move into season 2. What is their purpose from all of their different points of view? It’s going to be a big deal, something we really wanted to dig into.”
With the galaxy entering what Emperor Palpatine ominously declares to be a “new era“, it'll be interesting to see what that means for Clone Force 99. The trailer offers up a few clues about the themes of the season.
“You can buy your freedom,” says Cid, the Trandoshan information broker who helped the Bad Batch find work when they first went AWOL. “You can have a future. Isn't that what you're after?”
“We already free,” replies Hunter, before Cid swiftly reminds him that, “Then clearly you're not paying attention to what’s happening out there.”
Although the Bad Batch are on the run from Imperial forces, we're yet to see them take up arms in earnest against the Emperor’s totalitarian regime. As they see more and more of the Empire's oppressive tactics employed against the populace, however, it seems likely they'll evolve into Robin Hood-type figures. “There are others out there who need our help," Echo points out in the trailer.
But will Clone Force 99 have a role to play in establishing the Rebellion against the Empire?
The Martez sisters’ appearance in season 1 strongly hinted the duo (who debuted in The Clone Wars) are involved in some kind of resistance movement, and their contact looked a lot like Rebel Alliance bigwig (and Leia’s adopted dad) Bail Organa. (That said, we know from Star Wars Rebels and Andor that the Alliance won’t come together for over a decade, so there’s a limit to how pivotal the Bad Batch can be in its formation.)
We also expect The Bad Batch season 2 to tell us more about the backstory of Omega, the unique female clone of Jango Fett who’s become Hunter, Tech, Wrecker and Echo’s travelling companion. Although still a child, she’s actually older than the members of Clone Force 99 who – like their Clone brothers – had their growth rate accelerated by the Kaminoans. Omega knows that the Batch were created with “desirable” genetic mutations to make them into superior soldiers – and there’s surely more to learn about her own origins.
We can also expect to find out more about how the Clones make their way in the universe after being forcibly retired by the Empire. “We will not let that storyline go undiscussed, for sure,” confirmed Rau.
The trailer indicates there'll be more Bad Batch action for Clone Troopers Rex and Gregor (who turned up in season 1), and also an appearance from Commander Cody, who fought alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith.
Speaking of Anakin Skywalker's old master, the second episode of the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV show (set around a decade after The Bad Batch) shows Obi-Wan giving some money to a veteran Clone Trooper sitting on the side of a Daiyu street. Examining what happens to these forgotten soldiers after the war they were bred to fight is over could be an intriguing new direction for that galaxy far, far away.
The Bad Batch season 2: how it ties into the Star Wars universe
The Bad Batch may be animated but it’s just as important to Star Wars canon as its live-action counterparts. As the first TV show or movie to dive into the early days of the Galactic Empire, it’s travelling to previously unexplored regions of the Star Wars timeline – and has surprisingly significant implications for The Mandalorian season 3.
The final scene of The Bad Batch’s first season saw chief Kaminoan scientist Nala Se arriving at an Imperial outpost – concept art suggests this is Mount Tantiss on Wayland, a planet that appeared in the (now non-canonical) expanded universe. Intriguingly, the Imperial scientist who greets Nala Se is wearing the same uniform as Dr Pershing, the geneticist who used Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) as a test subject in The Mandalorian.
It’s long been speculated that Pershing’s experiments are part of Palpatine’s long-standing plan to clone himself – a project that came to fruition in The Rise of Skywalker – so there’s a good chance Nala Se will be laying the groundwork for the Emperor’s nefarious schemes. “Where Nala Se is, what Nala Se is doing, should be a mystery to the audience,” Corbett told StarWars.com, “and we hope to explore that in the upcoming season.”
Bounty hunters – always integral to the Star Wars mix – also help to tie The Bad Batch season 2 into existing canon.
In the first season, Kaminoan prime minister Lama Su hired The Clone Wars’ biggest Clint Eastwood fan, Cad Bane, to track down Omega, prompting Nala Se to dispatch Fennec Shand to protect her. Shand’s presence is unlikely to be a coincidence.
The infamous Boba Fett saved her from death by on the surface of Tatooine in the first season of The Mandalorian, and the bounty hunting duo subsequently became associates – to the point that they’re the two leads in spin-off show The Book of Boba Fett. Could The Bad Batch – set more than 20 years earlier – detail the beginnings of their friendship?
With Fett still in his teens at this point in the Star Wars timeline, they’ll both be young bounty hunters making their way in the universe. We also know from The Clone Wars that the young Fett had associations with other representatives of the trade, including Dengar, Bossk and Aurra Sing.
Assuming Fett does turn up in The Bad Batch season 2 (Fennec Shand actor Ming-Na Wen was cagey when TechRadar asked her about his return back in June 2021), Fett is likely to have a particular interest in Omega. After all, like him, she’s an unaltered clone of their father, Jango.
With the show set between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy, most of the major characters in the franchise are potentially in play. While it’s unlikely Han Solo, Luke and Leia will make an appearance (the twins are just infants at this point in the timeline), the cargo bay doors are open for the likes of Darth Maul, Grand Admiral Thrawn and even Darth Vader to cross paths with Clone Force 99.
The Bad Batch season 2 cast
The confirmed members of The Bad Batch season 2 cast look like this:
- Dee Bradley as the Bad Batch/assorted clones
- Michelle Ang as Omega
- Rhea Perlman as Cid
Put simply, there would be no Bad Batch without Dee Bradley Baker. Having voiced legions of Clone Troopers throughout The Clone Wars, the actor plays the five lead roles in the show, giving unique personalities to Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Echo and Crosshair. He also voiced additional Clones in season one, including a couple of veterans of The Clone Wars and Rebels, Rex and Gregor. This season, he’ll add Cody to that list.
Michelle Ang also returns as Clone Force 99’s ‘sister’ Omega, while the Bad Batch season 2 trailer confirms that Cheers’ Rhea Perlman is back as Cid.
Beyond those regulars, we’re into less predictable guest star territory.
With Kaminoan scientist Nala Se now working at an Imperial facility, we’d expect to hear more from Gwendoline Yeo, while Noshir Dalal is likely to lead the Empire’s pursuit of Clone Force 99 as Vice Admiral Rampart.
On the bounty hunter front, we’re predicting returns for Ming-Na Wen and Corey Burton as Fennec Shand and Cad Bane, respectively – especially after Bane went live-action in The Book of Boba Fett finale. And if Boba Fett does make an appearance in The Bad Batch season 2, that could mean a return for Daniel Logan, who played the young version of the bounty hunter in both Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars.
As for the Imperials, it’s likely Stephen Stanton will crop up again as future Grand Moff Tarkin. A Palpatine cameo, meanwhile, would probably prompt the return of Sam Witwer, who voiced the character in Rebels and later episodes of The Clone Wars – as well as playing Darth Maul. (While Ian McDiarmid reprised his live-action role as Palpatine in the first episode of The Bad Batch, the scene was lifted from his performance in Revenge of the Sith.)
Part of the fun with any of the Star Wars animated shows, however, is listening out for big-name actors cropping up in the soundtrack, whether they’re Star Wars legends (Billy Dee Williams appeared as Lando in Star Wars Rebels), or simply fans of the franchise (Simon Pegg cropped up as bounty hunter Dengar in The Clone Wars). The Bad Batch’s first season featured a cameo from Fleabag’s Sian Clifford as a protocol droid.
Behind the camera, the principal production team remains largely unchanged, with Jennifer Corbett as lead writer, Brad Rau as supervising director, and Dave Filoni (a veteran of The Clone Wars and Rebels, the creator of The Bad Batch, and Lucasfilm’s executive creative director) serving as executive producer.
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Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.