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Star Wars Holocron

What’s New in Star Wars – July 2021

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

From new episodes of The Bad Batch to more in the War of the Bounty Hunters, exciting adventures in a galaxy far, far away continue this month with a host of new projects. Below includes a list and description of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of July. It is important to note all of these release dates are subject to change.

July 2 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Common Ground

The adventures of Clone Force 99 continue in the series’ 10th episode debuting this month.

July 6 – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Graphic Novel Adaptation

Alessandro Ferrari’s graphic novel adaptation of The Phantom Menace will be individually published this month after it was previously involved in a Disney-Lucasfilm Press release. The publisher’s summary is ass follows: “Experience the excitement and thrill of the epic Star Wars movies in this young-reader friendly adaptation of Episode I! Peace reigns in the Galaxy, guarded by the thousand-years old Jedi Order. But dark forces plot in the shadows to restore the power of the Sith, long believed gone. Unaware of this evil plan, two Jedi knights rescue Queen Amidala of Naboo and discover a young boy. Capturing the galaxy-spanning action of The Phantom Menace, experience Episode I as a beautiful graphic novel combining the epic wonder of Star Wars with streamlined, young-reader friendly designs.”

July 7 – Star Wars Adventures 6

IDW Publishing’s impressive Star Wars Adventures series continues in this new issue by Katie Cook and Shaun Manning. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Padme and Anakin have grand plans to have a romantic night together after a long separation. But before they get a chance to get together, Anakin is Jedi-napped by a group of outlaws! Now it’s up to Padme to use all of her cunning to infiltrate the outlaw group and rescue him. Then, get a glimpse into the times of The High Republic with a story of the Nihil!”

July 7 – Bounty Hunters 14

Ethan Sacks’ impressive Bounty Hunters series continues this month with another issue situated in the broader narrative of the War of the Bounty Hunters. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Hunted by the mysterious assassin DEATHSTICK, a wounded VALANCE and his reluctant partner DENGAR are running out of options! T’ONGA is outgunned and outnumbered… but she does have one last surprise up her sleeve! And the shadowy force behind all of the danger makes its move!”

July 11 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Devil’s Deal

The 11th episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch also debut this month.

July 14 – Doctor Aphra 12

After Durge’s explosive debut in canon, Alyssa Wong’s Doctor Aphra series continues this month with another issue crossing over with War of the Bounty Hunters. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “A MYSTERIOUS INVITATION leads DOCTOR APHRA and SANA STARROS to an exclusive party… teeming with scum and villainy! Will Aphra and Sana be able to survive the underworld social event of the century? Or will their cover be blown by A FAMILIAR FACE with an agenda of their own?”

July 14 – War of the Bounty Hunters 2

After the shocking appearance of Qi’ra in the first issue, the second issue of Charles Soule’s War of the Bounty Hunters comes out this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Notorious bounty hunter BOBA FETT has tracked his missing prize — heroic smuggler HAN SOLO, frozen in carbonite — to the remote, frozen world of JEKARA. But representatives from many of the galaxy’s most powerful factions have gathered, and they all want the same thing — Solo. Things go from bad to worse, as Boba Fett realizes that he himself has become almost as valuable to the galaxy’s hunters as Han Solo, and he must turn to the least trustworthy person in the galaxy for help…DOCTOR APHRA…”

July 16 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Rescue on Ryloth

The Bad Batch will seemingly journey to Ryloth in another episode of the series this month.

July 20 – Star Wars Mazes

An exciting and interactive activity book releasing this month will allow fans to navigate illustrated mazes of iconic scenes and locations throughout the Star Wars saga. From Chronicle Books, the publisher’s summary is as follows: “Expert maze creator and lifelong Star Wars fan Sean C. Jackson brings the saga to life through more than 30 beautifully illustrated mazes of iconic scenes and locations ranging from the forest moon of Endor to Bespin’s Cloud City, the dark side planet of Exegol, Jabba’s palace, pod races, clone armies, and much more. Each full-color maze includes notes about the environment and special bonus elements to find hidden along the way.”

July 20 – Star Wars Legends: The Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1

The entire Dark Horse Comics series Knights of the Old Republic and the miniseries Knights of the Old Republic: War are collected in this hardcover omnibus with terrific cover art by Brian Ching. The publisher’s summary is as follows: A“long, long time ago, the Star Wars galaxy was a very different place. Welcome to the Old Republic! When young Jedi Zayne Carrick is framed for murder by his own masters, he goes on the run with three unlikely allies: con artist Marn Hierogryph, fugitive scientist Camper and bodyguard Jarael. But can they survive long enough to clear Carrick’s name, uncover a conspiracy and maybe gain a bit of profit along the way? Strap in for an adventure that spans the galaxy as this ragtag group of heroes face corrupted Jedi, deadly Mandalorians, the power of the Sith and more! Collecting STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #1-50, STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC — WAR #1-5, STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC HANDBOOK and material from STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC/REBELLION #0.”

July 20 – The Star Wars Book of Monsters, Ooze and Slime

DK has a tradition of delivering exciting Star Wars books for kids, and the Book of Monsters, Ooze and Slime will hopefully continue this impressive track-record. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The strangest and yuckiest secrets of the galaxy. What does the Zillo Beast feast on for breakfast? Does slimy Jabba the Hutt ever have a bath? What are the three yuckiest things he eats? Take a trip on the wild side and discover the weirdest facts in the Star Wars galaxy! From gross creatures and strange bugs to dangerous deserts and sinister Sith, this icky picture book is the perfect gift for young readers.”

July 21 – Darth Vader 14

Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series for Marvel Comics also continues this month with its 14th issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “For decades, no figure has stood as close to the EMPEROR with so much mystery surrounding her. Who is the UMBARAN? What is her role within the EMPIRE and in the WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS? And what happens when she emerges from the darkness to challenge Darth Vader himself? Featuring an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Emperor’s inner circle — and the return of IG-88!”

July 21 – War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt 1

Jabba the Hutt is given the spotlight in this upcoming one-shot comic written by Justina Ireland. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “JABBA NEVER FORGIVES! JABBA NEVER FORGETS! JABBA THE HUTT is one of the most powerful and ruthless gangsters in the galaxy—and BOBA FETT, his most trusted bounty hunter, has failed him. How will Jabba deal with betrayal? VIOLENTLY. And what does this have to do with a bounty hunter with ties to the HIGH REPUBLIC?”

July 21 – The High Republic Adventures 6

Amidst all of the War of the Bounty Hunters content, this month also features a continuation of adventures in the High Republic with Daniel Jose Older’s comic for IDW Publishing. The publisher’s summary for the upcoming sixth issue is as follows: “As the galaxy prepares for the Republic Fair, Qort and Farzala leave their Padawan friends to join Leox Gyasi and the crew of the Vessel on a secret mission for the Jedi. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out: literally everything.”

July 23 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Infested

Another episode of The Bad Batch hits Disney+ this month, titled Infested.

July 27 – The High Republic: Out of the Shadows

Justina Ireland’s terrific young-adult novel in the High Republic hits bookshelves this month. And the publisher’s summary is as follows: “The darkest secrets are the hardest to bring to light….Sylvestri Yarrow is on a streak of bad luck with no end of sight. She’s been doing her best to keep the family cargo business going after her mom’s death, but between mounting debt and increasing attacks by the Nihil on unsuspecting ships, Syl is in danger of losing all she has left of her mother. She heads to the galactic capital of Coruscant for help, but gets sidetracked when she’s drawn into a squabble between two of the Republic’s most powerful families over a patch of space on the frontier. Tangled up in familial politics is the last place Syl wants to be, but the promise of a big payoff is enough to keep her interested…Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh has been summoned to Coruscant, but with no idea of why or by whom. She and her Padawan Imri Cantaros arrive at the capital along with Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus and his Padawan, Reath Silas—and are asked to assist with the property dispute on the frontier. But why? What is so important about an empty patch of space? The answer will lead Vernestra to a new understanding of her abilities, and take Syl back to the past…and to truths that will finally come out of the shadows.”

July 27 – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 2 — The Engine Job

This upcoming trade paperback collects issue 6 through 10 of Alyssa Wong’s Doctor Aphra series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Someone sinister has put a price on Doctor Aphra’s head… and it’s none other than Domina Tagge! Now Aphra finds herself running for her life, trying to shake every bounty hunter on her tail. But one of those hunters is Aphra’s angry ex Sana Starros — and for Sana, it’s personal! Aphra can’t out-think Domina or outrun Sana… so what choice does she have left? Perhaps locating a mysterious piece of tech that could shift the balance of the galactic civil war? Aphra’s desperate hunt takes her to Corellia — but unfortunately for her, that’s right on Sana’s doorstep. And our roguish doctor isn’t the only one with an eye on this prize…”

July 28 – The High Republic 7

After the terrific The Rising Storm, Cavan Scott’s incredible run in Star Wars continues with The High Republic 7. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “A JEDI FACES THE DARKNESS! KEEVE TRENNIS has put everything on the line to save her former master, but the scars run deep. As AVAR KRISS summons a task force to deal with the DRENGIR THREAT, a desperate NIHIL REMNANT attacks a distant outpost. Can Keeve fight back the shadows long enough to stand for light and life? Guest-starring ORLA JARENI, Jedi Wayseeker.”

July 28 – Star Wars 15

Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Lando continue their involvement in the deadly War of the Bounty Hunters in the 15th issue of Charles Soule’s Star Wars main line series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “LUKE SKYWALKER embarks upon an epic mission with WEDGE ANTILLES and the brave pilots of STARLIGHT SQUADRON to rescue a lost division of the REBEL FLEET. LEIA ORGANA, CHEWBACCA and LANDO CALRISSIAN attempt to save HAN SOLO from the evil clutches of BOBA FETT. But what hidden vision will the Force send to Luke about the troubles to come?”

July 30 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – War Mantle

The last Bad Batch episode of the month is ominously titled War Mantle…

For reference, a condensed list of upcoming projects in July without descriptions is included below:

July 2 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Common Ground

July 6 – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Graphic Novel Adaptation 

July 6 – Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Old Republic Vol. 4 

July 7 – Star Wars Adventures 6 

July 7 – Bounty Hunters 14 

July 11 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Devil’s Deal

July 14 – Doctor Aphra 12 

July 14 – War of the Bounty Hunters 2 

July 16 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Rescue on Ryloth

July 20 – Star Wars Mazes 

July 20 – Star Wars Legends: The Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1 

July 20 – The Star Wars Book of Monsters, Ooze and Slime 

July 21 – Darth Vader 14 

July 21 – War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt 1 

July 21 – The High Republic Adventures 6 

July 21 – Star Wars Adventures 7 

July 23 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Infested

July 27 – The High Republic: Out of the Shadows 

July 27 – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 2 — The Engine Job 

July 28 – The High Republic 7 

July 28 – Star Wars 15 

July 30 – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – War Mantle

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney+, Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, Titan Comics, Chronicle Books

Categories
Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 9

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 9: Bounty Lost

After last week’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger, the adventures of Clone Force 99 continue in yet another suspenseful and action-packed installment. Titled Bounty Lost, episode 9 sees the Bad Batch desperately try to rescue Omega, as the young clone attempts a mission of her own to free herself from the infamous Cad Bane.

Bounty Lost stands apart from previous episodes of the series so far by primarily centering on Omega, relegating the original members of the Bad Batch to only a few brief scenes here and there. This was a welcomed change of pace for the series as we got to see Omega on her own and in imminent danger, only relying upon herself to stay alive. While last week’s episode concluded on a note that was extremely reminiscent of events in The Mandalorian season 2, Bounty Lost departs from the structure of the other Disney+ series by showcasing how Omega takes the situation in her own hands.

It was interesting to see Omega, the true focal point of the series, caught in the middle of so many warring parties in Bounty Lost. Her new family, the Bad Batch, want to secure a safe return for Omega. Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand has intentions of her role as she tries to retrieve Omega. And, of course, Corey Burton’s Cad Bane wants to deliver the bounty to the dangerous Kaminoans for a hefty reward. More than ever, we get to see just how capable and intelligent Omega is and, once again, showcased how the new character is a highlight of The Bad Batch.

Bounty Lost also offered a number of intriguing insights into some lingering mysteries of the series. For starters, Tech (once again) delivers news that he was seemingly just waiting to reveal to the team: that Omega is an unaltered first-generation clone. This has a number of interesting implications for Omega and canon more broadly, including the fact that this reveal essentially makes Omega and Boba Fett siblings. Given the reference to ‘Alpha’ and the role bounty hunters have played in the series so far, it feels like The Bad Batch is setting up for a meeting between Omega and Boba, but we’ll wait with baited breath to see if that happens.

Also revealed this week was more about the motives of the different bounty hunters in the show. Although Fennec was a formidable foe earlier in the season, it seems that this formidable foe likely has interests that are more aligned with Clone Force 99 than Lama Su. Fennec’s conversation with Nala Se confirms that the Kaminoan doctor is secretly at odds with her leader Lama Su and merely wants Omega to be safe, even if this means remaining with the Bad Batch. From the get-go, the mystery surrounding Omega has been so compelling and episodes like Bounty Lost emphasize how the slow unraveling of this mystery is what we most look forward to seeing week after week.

Although we expected this, it was also revealed that Cad Bane is working for Lama Su in order to deliver Omega back to Kamino. It was mentioned last week, but it’s worth mentioning again – it’s incredible to see Cad Bane back in the fold again. His appearance last week was truly unexpected, but feels so natural within the context of the plot The Bad Batch is exploring. Corey Burton’s performance as Bane and the iconic design of the character really add a sense of gravitas and weight to the bounty Hunter. From top to bottom, Bane is a menacing presence on screen that you can’t keep your eyes off of.

Bounty Lost ends on a warm note with the return of Omega to Hunter and the rest of her new family. It was nice to see the episode not gloss over the horrors of being kidnapped and taken away from your family. Omega is frightened and desperately seeks reassurance from her father-figure Hunter. Although this theme still runs perhaps a little too close to The Mandalorian, it’s executed so well by Brad Rau, Jennifer Corbett, and colleagues that it’s easy to dismiss some of the more overt similarities. Hunter and Omega’s bond is at the heart of The Bad Batch, and we see the fear and eventual relief in Hunter as his daughter is safely returned to him. Hunter’s “promise” that he will keep Omega safe and that she will never return to Kamino was a lovely, yet haunting final note of the episode. Yes, Hunter gave Omega the reassurance she so desperately needed, but is this a promise he can keep? With Cad Bane, Crosshair, and others after them, it’ll be interesting to see if Hunter can keep this promise and protect Omega against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Verdict: 9/10

Star Wars: The Bad Batch picks up where it left off with an Omega-centric episode packed with brilliantly crafted fight sequences, interesting reveals, and heartwarming moments. The focus on Omega allows for the audience to grow more accustomed to this lovely new addition to the Star Wars universe and feel what it’s like to be in such peril. The mysteries surrounding Omega continue to unfold in interesting ways, and the episode concludes on a touching and worrying note as we head into next week’s installment.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

Categories
Star Wars Holocron

ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW: The Bad Batch’s Jennifer Corbett, Brad Rau, and Ming-Na Wen Talk the Mystery of Omega, Holiday Special, Cad Bane, The Mandalorian Parallels, and More

by @holocronGeorge & @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

WARNING: Contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 9: Bounty Lost

After following the adventures of Clone Force 99 in a quickly changing galaxy over the course of eight emotional and unpredictable episodes, Star Wars: The Bad Batch hit its halfway mark this week in characteristically superb fashion. We recently had a chance to attend a roundtable looking back at the series so far and orienting ahead as to what’s to come with supervising director and executive producer Brad Rau, head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett, and the voice of Fennec Shand herself Ming-Na Wen. Here are some of the highlights from the press event.

Ming-Na Wen became an instant fan favorite upon her debut in The Mandalorian and she has since reprised her role in The Bad Batch before appearing in The Book of Boba Fett later this year. In a response to a question posed by us at Star Wars Holocron, Wen spoke how excited she would be to see Fennec Shand appear in other mediums.

“Anything at all! Bring back the holiday special! Whatever! I’m excited about any venture into this universe. Of course, if I got to participate in a cinematic release of a film in the future that would pretty much make me pee in my pants! But yeah, anything. You know, I’m just excited to see the dolls and the toys that are gonna come out. Like I hear that one of the black series is coming out and I’ve collected Star Wars toys since I was little, so this is insane. It’s just unbelievable.”

Despite her sprawling role in a galaxy far, far away now, Ming-Na Wen was initially unaware of how important Fennec Shand would be, as revealed when she spoke to Endor Express.

“I had no idea [of the depth of my role], but, boy, am I happy it happened the way it happened. When Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni offered me this role, I was really excited, because my entire life has been trying to manifest this moment when I get to be a part of a Star Wars project, but when I read the script and she dies I was like, ‘…Oh.’ [Laughs]. That’s kind of sad. So, I wasn’t sure. But you realize, this may be my only opportunity so I gotta check this off my bucket list. And of course talking with Jon and Dave, it’s three people talking the same language, because we all love Star Wars so much.”

In The Bad Batch, Ming-Na Wen is not only approaching the character in a new medium, but at a different time in her life as a less seasoned bounty hunter. Wen revealed to Fantha Tracks how she sees the Fennec we see in The Bad Batch compared to the Fennec we see in The Mandalorian and beyond.

“I know that the 22 year old me is very different from me now. But, at the same time, I’m still that geek nerd girl [where], every time I get on a new set and see the Star Wars characters, I geek out and freak out like I would if I was a teenager. So those are the elements I try to bring into the young Fennec. Definitely less experience. More ambition. More of a drive to prove who she is and make her mark in the world. I think her energy and her focus and her tactics might be a little bit more raw and different. And I give her a slight, little pitch change, but not too much.”

Incredibly, in response to a question by Coffee by Kenobi, Ming-Na Wen revealed that she delivered her performance as Fennec Shand in The Bad Batch under interesting circumstances…

With live action, you have other actors to work off of. You have a set or scenery. You have a director to help you – producers, writers. You have costume, makeup. It’s a full-on process. When you do voice acting you could be in your pjs and in fact with The Bad Batch because of Covid, they brought in all this equipment. The computer – they delivered it all. The microphone, everything. I had to set it up in my home and the only place that I found to be really good for sound buffering was in my closet because of all the clothes. So I did the season of The Bad Batch in my closet. So can you imagine you had to like create this whole – like bring this character to life with your imagination while you’re surrounded by your clothes. It’s pretty crazy. I love it.”

Wen also spoke to the team at the Skywalking Through Neverland Podcast regarding how she draws upon attributes of the fennec fox when playing the bounty hunter:

“It’s interesting, because I watched a lot of videos of foxes, especially fennec foxes, and there’s a slinkiness to their walk. They’re loners and they listen, they’re mean. The fennec fox has huge ears, so they’re very, very alert and aware, and another thing that I actually said [Fennec] can read people or she thought she could read people really well except for that one time with Toro but, you know, he has no scruples. That’s why that’s a whole other thing. But for the voice, I wanted to kind of give a little bit of that quality to her so there’s like a sort of a more elongated slinky rhythm that, you know, came from the fox and so when she talks it’s there. There’s a little bit of an exaggeration and a stretching of words here and there, and whenever she does speak it’s, you know, there’s a pointed reason for it.”

When speaking to Dork Side of the Force, Ming-Na Wen spoke about her conversations with Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau about Fennec’s origins, but remained guarded as to what these conversations entailed.

“It’s kind of difficult for me to talk about that, because the stuff that Dave Filoni and I, and the writers of The Bad Batch discussed about what young Fennec Shand would be like and why she became a bounty hunter – we collaborated and we threw out a lot of ideas. You know, [we] threw a lot of ideas out at each other. So I don’t know what will stick and what won’t. So, I’m worried that if I reveal something from that conversation that hasn’t been explored yet or brought to life in the animation or in future episodes, in either, you know, down the line or in other venues, so I can’t discuss that. I really wish I could.”

One of the highlights of Star Wars: The Bad Batch so far has been the newest member of the crew – Omega. Ming-Na Wen spoke to Ion Cannon Podcast about the interesting dynamic between Fennec and Omega.

“I feel like with Fennec, especially young Fennec, she is good at reading people, manipulating, and playing a certain quality to invite herself into that particular person’s trust. So I’m not sure how sincere and genuine her care for Omega is, or if she sees her as a bounty and a gig that she had to fulfill. So, that’s really interesting…I’d like to think there is also a quality and a side to her that she connected with Omega in a certain way, but we’ll see.”

Ming-Na Wen spoke to Star Wars News Net and Fangirls Going Rogue about the role model figure Fennec is and how important greater Asian-American representation is in such expansive roles.

“I think it’s kind of cool to see sort of this young civilian female bounty hunter who’s able to kind of keep up, if not, be feared by the others and making a mark for herself. I think it’s a great role model, in many ways, for women even though she’s an assassin. I know okay, okay that’s a technicality, but I love roles like that. Where she’s sort of an outsider and yet she makes up her own rules, and she believes in herself. She believes in what she’s capable of doing and she’s fearless in pursuing her goals…For me, I’m just grateful that more characters have been incorporated…What was lacking early on was Asian characters and now there’s been so many [like] in Rogue One…It’s great. And I wrap Temuera [Morrison] in this expansive Asian blanket. It’s just wonderful and I’m so thankful that fans like her, because, as a big Star Wars fan myself, it’s a gift. I’m grateful and I hope that this sort of success story will only encourage them to create more Asian characters.”

On a touching note, Ming-Na Wen emotionally outlined to Syfy how much Star Wars meant to her during her formative years. 

“I grew up and I came to the United States when I was younger and I had to learn English in 3rd grade. I think for me science fiction and fantasy was always like a great form of escapism, and so I was already a fan of that genre. But, when Star Wars came out, I had no idea what it was. We didn’t have social media back then, you just kind of hear word of mouth that there’s another great movie out and everybody was kind of crazy about it. The experience I felt from the moment the music came on and the scrolling of the story, and then the big Imperial cruiser going over our heads as a young kid you’re just like it’s endless. It just went on forever. I just knew I was in for an amazing adventure and the connection I felt with Luke Skywalker especially at the time when he looked at the binary sunset. I think this might be for all of us – that one moment. It’s like 30 seconds of celluloid, but with the music and him staring out there thinking about ‘Will I ever fulfill my dreams? Will I ever be who I want to become?’ That was me. I totally understood that being a kid stuck in Pittsburgh – I mean not that I was stuck, but I felt stuck – and wanting and dreaming about being an actor, being Asian and being a woman, and knowing the obstacles ahead of me. So, I think it was just all of that. I mean the force became a religious experience the whole thing, and I’m sure for you guys too on many levels, right? It’s so cool. It unites us all. Oh! And then when I got on the set of The Mandalorian and that volume lit up and it was Tatooine with the binary sunset – oh you should have seen how much I freaked out! I cried. I literally cried! I was so happy and then I had the AD take a picture of me looking at the binary sunset.”

Supervising director and executive producer Brad Rau and head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett also spoke at the roundtable event, detailing a host of interesting information about the Disney+ series.

Rau and Corbett spoke to us at Star Wars Holocron about their favorite characters beyond Clone Force 99 to approach in an ensemble piece like The Bad Batch.

Rau: “I love Sid. Sid is so good because she gives everybody an equal amount of guff, and it’s just delightful. Rhea Pearlman is such an outstanding actress. It’s been fun seeing how her voice when we first started recording affected some of the future scripts – some of the way that Syd would talk. Then when our animation and lighting department started bringing Sid to life, it’s just this awesome character. It’s exactly the kind of character that I love as a Star Wars fan. So yeah, she’s a blast.”

Corbett: “I personally loved Cad Bane, just being a massive The Clone Wars fan and you know him being so terrifying to watch on screen and intimidating. Having the chance to just see how he interacts with the batch compared to a different bounty hunter and what’s changed for him in his life since we last saw him. So he was fun to bring back.”

Speaking of Cad Bane, Coffee with Kenobi asked about the evolution of the infamous bounty hunter from The Clone Wars to The Bad Batch.

Corbett: “When talking about the first half of the season, obviously the Kaminoans put this bounty to have Omega return to them and we knew we wanted to have the batch interact with Fennec Shand – just to see how they end up because they’re still not fully street smart yet. They’re still very much soldiers. They don’t really know how the galaxy works in different ways and while Fennec is new to the scene, she’s still very dangerous. To sort of compare that interaction with when the Kaminoans hire an even bigger gun, and just a completely different experience for the batch where Hunter was able to get away that first time, but this time no one is going to outdraw Cad Bane. So, it’s kind of like just a continuation of who this squad is interacting with, and how each interaction, each experience they’re learning something new about other threats that are out there in the world, and how that affects them moving forward.”

Rau: “I’ll say Corey Burton – he’s such an amazing, fantastic, decorated actor. We have such a blast working with him. For the design of Cad Bane we were looking at some designs that had never fully gone into production that were in progress in The Clone Wars both for his look, and also for his ship that you see in 109. It was a lot of fun to go back to those and sort of take them out of the garage and tinker with it , push it, and rework it a little bit so that Cad Bane and his ride felt familiar, and yet a little bit more nuanced. A little more detail, but yeah Corey and his performance – it just informs all of the animation and a lot of the blocking. He’s phenomenal.”

Cad Bane isn’t the only antagonist Clone Force 99 bump heads with though, as one of their own – Crosshair – shockingly allied with the Empire in the series’ pilot. In speaking with Dork Side of the Force, Corbett revealed what it was like to make Crosshair the central antagonist.

Corbett: “Early on in the development process we knew that Crosshair was going to be the one who would sort of be the foil to this group and and be our main antagonist, but you bring up a good point because one of the things we always try to talk about with this series and when The Bad Batch are dealing with the regs, is that question of choice. Because with the chips, they didn’t really have a say and they’re conditioned to follow orders. With Order 66, we see them execute that without hesitation, so what the regs are going through and what Crosshair is going through is something we continue to explore throughout the season. So we don’t want to give too much away, but the discussion of choice is a big topic.”

Rau detailed to Star Wars News Net the mystery surrounding Omega and the fact that she is, technically, Boba Fett’s brother.

Rau: “There’s definitely a mystery that we won’t go into too much today, but we’ve just had a lot of fun playing the mystery up, to be honest. Just to see that there’s something to this kid. Something that makes me excited is when we can show this kid whoever it is, wherever she’s from, whatever her deal is. When you see her training alongside these other guys and failing, honestly sometimes and then seeing her overcome, that’s the most exciting part of her character. More than anything else, but there are other parts of her story to tell that we will be excited for you guys to see in the future.”

The exploration of the era in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope has been one of the highlights of The Bad Batch so far. Rau and Corbett spoke to Fantha Tracks and Syfy about telling a tale while navigating the ins and outs of this interesting slice of canon.

Rau: “It’s something that we’re really excited about in this era that hasn’t been really explored in the Star Wars timeline. There’s so many things going on, there’s so much change. There’s like a kind of wild west sensibility, and yet, the rise of the empire. How does that look, are things that get us really excited for the stories that these characters go into 100%.”

Corbett: “The [Lucasfilm Story Group] keep us very honest. Because, as Brad said with this timeline, we have a bit of wiggle room before we start getting into Rebels and even Solo and A New Hope. There’s an opportunity for us to explore lots of things, but anytime we have a story discussion or an episodic discussion the story team weighs in on things that could potentially be an issue or things that could potentially be a tie-in. And if it makes sense creatively that’s something we discuss and talk about, but we’re never really confined by things. It’s just if we like to shoot for the stars and if it gets into a certain area we have to be careful about, then we have a longer discussion on what we’re trying to accomplish and if it can fit with anything else.”

Rau: “…in this era there are a lot of different characters sort of bumping around, so anytime we can maybe see one or two of them in our show we’re just super excited about that.”

Speaking of characters bumping around, Rau teased the inclusion of characters from Star Wars Resistance to Jedi News.

“That might be too loaded of a question actually, but I’ll just say Resistance was an awesome show with this amazing cast of characters. Our crew working on the show primarily is the same crew both here at Lucasfilm and overseas as well, and it’s interesting how that show and the production of that show has affected what we do as we continue to push forward in the animation process. As far as specific characters, I mean I’m not going to go into too many details. There is definitely a long amount of time from where we are to where Resistance was, but it’s an interesting question.”

The adoptive father-child bond and the theme of found family are not only at the heart of The Bad Batch, but also The Mandalorian too with Din Djarin and Grogu. Rau and Corbett spoke of the similarities and differences between the themes explored in the two series.

Rau: “Really, for us, there are some similarities for sure that rollover the idea of a found family especially with grizzled warriors sort of having parenthood forced upon them, and then learning how to deal with that for good and for bad is just this classic storyline that when we were looking at The Bad Batch, it made sense to go that way really quickly. Not intentional as a symmetrical nod to The Mandalorian necessarily, more so just to create interesting point of view that could get the audience into the series where you might not always identify as a super soldier or as a clone, but as a family as a big brother a little sister – whatever it might be – it seemed like a natural way to get into this show.”

Corbett: “I think, to ground it in real life, when you see different families on the surface, they all may seem similar or you know have similarities, but really when you get into their dynamic and what they’re going through, that’s where you see the different shades. So, I think that’s kind of true with Star Wars as well.”

The Bad Batch has made headwaves with many of the series episodes being written by women so far, another example of Star Wars’ commitment to representation in front of and behind the scenes. Rebel Cells – the Star Wars Animation Podcast asked Corbett and Rau what makes a successful writers’ room.

Corbett: “It’s definitely all about collaboration and it’s great to bring in so many excited writers who love Star Wars, and who just want to play in that sandbox. The enthusiasm they bring and then from story breaking on through the whole script stage, and then production, we work closely with each freelancer and then with Brad and his team to each step along the way fine-tuning, adding, giving it that extra Star Wars thing to really kind of make the episodes pop. And yeah if i could say anything it’s collaboration, collaboration, collaboration, and I owe a lot of that to to Brad and the production side, because we give them stuff written on a page, but then seeing how they execute it – it’s like they take it from here to here and each time I’m amazed with every script.”

Rau: “I’m gonna swing that right back to you Corbett. You are the best. I mean really this collaboration that we have is unlike any other show i’ve ever worked on because truly when these amazing scripts – and they are amazing – and they’ve gone through so many stages, there’s so much love, blood, sweat and tears on each page, you can just feel it, but once we launch into our story phase, and into animation and lighting, and all the way to the end – we’re constantly talking, we’re constantly reworking things, and making sure they line up. So it’s that part of the collaboration that is really great and not every show is like that. I think it’s one of the special things about Lucasfilm Animation.”

Especially after speaking with Brad Rau, Jennifer Corbett, and Ming-Na Wen, we’re more excited than ever to see what Clone Force 99 will be up to in the remaining episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. With Cad Bane on the table now, and the threat of Fennec, Crosshair, and the entire Empire looming over the Bad Batch, Hunter, Omega and the team will have plenty on their hands as The Bad Batch heads into its second half.

New episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch are available to stream on Disney+ every Friday! Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for more coverage of Star Wars: The Bad Batch!

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Padmé Tried to Kill Anakin: Revenge of the Sith’s Original Ending

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

The relationship between Padme and Anakin is at the heart of Revenge of the Sith, and comes to a devastating conclusion in the film’s final act. But their relationship went through several iterations in drafts of Revenge of the Sith, including one in which Padme attempted to kill Anakin.

Concept artist Iain McCaig revealed that George Lucas originally envisioned the final moments between Anakin and Padme on Mustafar differently.

In the final film, we see a troubled Padme arrive on Mustafar after Obi-Wan relayed to her the horrors committed by Anakin.

Padme is in disbelief and her love for Anakin blinds her to the truth: that her husband has turned to the dark side.

It isn’t until their final conversation that Padme realizes Obi-Wan was right, and Anakin’s rage takes over.

But this scene was originally viewed differently by George Lucas. 

After being told that Anakin had turned to the dark side, Padme arrived on Mustafar with more certainty about her husband’s actions. Yes, she’s devastated by what Obi-Wan has told her, but she doesn’t come to Mustafar for reconciliation with her husband, or to clear up what Obi-Wan told her. 

Instead, Padme makes an attempt on Anakin’s life, realizing the kind of man he has become. Storyboards show that when Anakin and Padme embraced on Mustafar, Padme would’ve approached Anakin with a knife, only to realize she was ultimately incapable of killing the man she loved.

For Game of Thrones fans, this will feel a little like the final moments between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen – the key difference being that, when Jon Snow realized the monster the love of his life had become, he was able to kill her.

The attempt on Anakin’s life aligned with Lucas’ original plans to depict how Padme gradually realized her husband was a monster throughout Revenge of the Sith. The Padme we see in the final film is largely in denial of this realization until her final moments with Anakin, whereas Lucas originally envisioned her recognizing her husband’s progressive fall to the dark side over the course of the film.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see the different ways Lucas conceptualized his characters and their relationships before arriving on the final version of the film.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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New Books Added to Del Rey’s Star Wars: Essential Legends Collection

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

The celebration of Lucasfilm’s 50th anniversary continues with a new batch of books in Del Rey’s Star Wars: Essential Legends Collection. After this month’s release of Heir to the Empire, Shatterpoint, and Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, this Fall sees the release of new, trade paperback editions of: Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn, The Last Command by Timothy Zahn, Darth Bane: The Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn, and Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole, all of which feature beautiful new cover art.

Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

Dark Force Rising is the second installment in Timothy Zahn’s acclaimed Thrawn trilogy of the 1990s. The new cover art is designed by the incredible Tracie Ching.

The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

The Last Command wraps up Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy in spectacular fashion and is another worthy addition to Del Rey’s Essential Legends Collection. This beautiful, new cover art was also designed by Tracie Ching.

Darth Bane: The Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn

Following Path of Destruction, Drew Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane: Rule of Two continues the story of Darth Bane, as he and his apprentice Darth Zannah navigate the aftermath of the Seventh Battle of Ruusan. The new cover art was designed by Simon Goinard.

Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

And, last but not least, Rogue Squadron sees the light again as part of the Essential Legends Collection. The first of the Rogue Squadron series features exciting new cover-art by Doaly and will receive a new, unabridged audiobook edition read by Marc Thompson.

All of these books will release on September 7th, and Del Rey will be continuing adding classic titles to their Essential Legends Collection in Spring 2022.

Images courtesy of Del Rey

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 8

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 8: Reunion

The Bad Batch marks the halfway point of its first season with one of the best efforts in Star Wars animation to date. Episode 8, titled Reunion, follows Clone Force 99 as Crosshair and his troopers show up on Bracca and pose the greatest threat to the Bad Batch yet.

After 8 episodes, Reunion really affirms what we’ve felt since the series’ pilot: The Bad Batch is more cinematic than anything we’ve seen from Star Wars animation yet. Although its run time hovers under 30 minutes, watching Reunion feels like you’ve sat down to watch a Star Wars movie – or at least a significant portion of a Star Wars movie.

The stakes feel higher than ever for the Bad Batch with the return of Crosshair. The former member of Clone Force 99’s allegiance to the Empire was heartbreaking and unexpected in the series’ pilot, but Crosshair has been conspicuously absent from the series’ third episode. In the meantime, we’ve seen the Bad Batch navigate life in the Imperial era and the growing bond between Omega and the other members of the ragtag team. But all this time, Crosshair’s absence has spoken volumes. Kind of like a slasher film’s villain disappearing for large stretches of the movie, we’re left thinking: when will Crosshair appear and what will happen when he reunites with his former teammates. This sense of dread was palpable in Reunion, which did not shy away from the danger posed by Crosshair nor the stakes at hand for the Bad Batch. 

The entire episode has a frantic, tense feel to it as Hunter and the others try to fight (and think) their way out of the perilous situation. With the exception of a few lovely moments at the beginning between Wrecker and Omega, the episode largely focuses on a series of suspenseful action set pieces. At times, shows like The Clone Wars or Rebels or even The Bad Batch have suffered from excessively action-centric episodes. But although Reunion marked a stark contrast from last week’s slow burn installment, the action was purposeful and brilliantly executed in this week’s episode. And the moments of ‘rest’ between action sequences proved more tense than the action itself. Hunter and Crosshair’s showdown was haunting. Crosshair seemed like a shell of the man he once was, and appeared unresponsive to Omega and Hunter’s calls for him to recognize the influence of the Inhibitor Chip.

The action came to a head with the ignition of the cruiser’s engine and how the Bad Batch turned this maneuver against their enemy. The scale of this entire sequence was incredible and added a welcomed variation on blaster and hand-to-hand combat. Crosshair’s defeat in the episode was unexpected and it was interesting to see such a powerful character reduced to a man in aid in Reunion.

Just when we think the Bad Batch are in the clear though, we’re greeted with shock and heartbreak. The shock comes with the appearance of none other than Cad Bane. The infamous bounty hunter was a highlight of The Clone Wars and it was jaw dropping to see him re-emerge in this series. It’s a testament to The Bad Batch so far that a show set in an era we know so much about manages to continually surprise us week after week. But it’s not longer after the shock and joy of seeing Cad Bane comes about that dread and heartbreak sets in. Cad Bane. Hunter and Bane’s Western stand-off was terrific and, coupled with Kevin Kiner’s superb score, felt like perhaps the most overt reference to the Western genre in Star Wars to date. The stand-off ends unexpectedly – Hunter is shot and Omega is stunned and captured by Bane. For better or worse, this really evoked Chapter 14: The Tragedy of The Mandalorian, in which Grogu is captured by the Dark Troopers despite the best efforts of his father-figure Din Djarin. The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian have closely shared a theme of found family and this reluctant father figure’s touching relationship with a child. For now, these parallels are acceptable given the emotional impact of The Bad Batch week after week, but some deviation from The Mandalorian’s core plot would be nice moving forward.

Verdict: 9/10

Reunion delivers shock, and heartbreak in abundance as The Bad Batch hits its halfway mark. Crosshair’s long-awaited return lives up to expectations and sets up a tense reunion with Clone Force 99. And just when the episode packs in some incredible action and emotion, we’re given a one-two punch with the return of Cad Bane and the capture of Omega, making it almost impossible to patiently wait until next week’s episode.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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EXCLUSIVE LOOK: Star Wars Insider 203

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

The long-running Star Wars Insider continues this month with #203, and we’re happy to deliver an exclusive first look at the upcoming release. Featuring a new The High Republic story by Justina Ireland, an interview with Star Wars and Indiana Jones producer Robert Watts, a lookback at the cultural phenomenon that is The Mandalorian, and more, the new issue (hitting bookstands on June 22 in the U.S. and July 8 in the U.K.) looks to be full of interesting pieces and insights for all types of Star Wars fans. Check out the exclusive preview below!

MANDO MANIA

How secrets, storytelling and fan-pleasing moments helped make The Mandalorian an instant pop-culture phenomenon.

How the secret of Grogu helped the first live-action Star Wars series make the space-fantasy saga a cultural phenomenon yet again.

ROBERT WATTS INTERVIEW

The veteran Star Wars and Indiana Jones producer looks back on his days scouting the world for galactic locations.

Of all the distant worlds of the original Star Wars trilogy, one fact remained consistent: They each needed to be captured on film at a more down-to-Earth location. It was part of producer Robert Watts’ job to scout the real-world setting that would make for suitable doubles for the likes of Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor.

REBEL ROUSERS

From the dawn of its foundation to its triumphant victory, we profile the top ten leaders of the Rebel Alliance.

At the heart of Star Wars beats a story of good and evil. While allegiances and choices can be complicated – not all Jedi make the right decision all the time, and scoundrels and bounty hunters can make some of the best allies – the stories always come back to people who fight for justice, kindness, and freedom from fear. That’s especially evident in the story of the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire.

And that’s not all Star Wars Insider #203 has in store…

PAUL BROOKE INTERVIEW – TEARS OF A RANCOR KEEPER

The British actor reflects on his scene-stealing turn as Malakili, the tearful rancor keeper from Return of the Jedi.

It may have only been a few days’ work for actor Paul Brooke, but the bereaved rancor keeper Malakili’s brief appearance in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) remains a standout moment in the saga. Star Wars Insider caught up with Brooke to look back at his time on set shooting the memorable scene.

A GALAXY ON YOUR DOORSTEP

A guide to the Californian filming locations for the forest moon of Endor, Tatooine, and even the Death Star.

The Star Wars movies have been filmed at exotic and often remote locations all over the world, but there are some that are within easy reach of residents of mainland U. S. A. Star Wars Insider takes a trip across California to find a galaxy far, far away that’s not so very far away at all.

NEAL SCANLAN INTERVIEW – A FORCE REAWAKENED

An exclusive conversation with the award-winning Star Wars creature and special makeup effects supervisor.

Creature and special makeup effects supervisor Neal Scanlan headed up the Star Wars creature shop for all five of the movies released since 2015. Star Wars Insider spoke to him about the part his team played in bringing the Skywalker saga to a close.

A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW

Star Wars expert Michael Kogge explores the best locations for Rebel Alliance and Resistance bases.

STAR WARS INSIDER #203 is on sale: US: JUNE 22, 2021 / UK: JULY 8, 2021

U.S. / CANADA SUBSCRIPTIONS

U.K. SUBSCRIPTIONS

REST OF THE WORLD SUBSCRIPTIONS

DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

Images courtesy of Titan Comics

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 7

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 7: Battle Scars

Tensions rise, questions are answered, and inhibitor chips are activated in the newest episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. The series’ seventh episode, Battle Scars, sees the Bad Batch join forces with Captain Rex as they seek out a way to deactivate the ticking time bombs inside their heads before it’s too late.

A stark contrast to the action heavy sixth episode, Battle Scars is a significant improvement – adopting a more slow burn pace that allows for plenty of suspense and intimacy. This is probably the most plot heavy episode since the terrific premiere and, while Crosshair, Tarkin and others are still absent, we’re treated to what ended up being a brilliant episode from start to finish. The return of Rex, while teased in promotional footage, was great to see and confirmed some suspicions after the appearance of a mysterious figure in last week’s episode. Rex’s inclusion added yet another sense of continuity between The Bad Batch and its predecessor series The Clone Wars. We’ve seen Rex in the waning days of the Clone Wars and his journey years later as a member of the Rebellion, but seeing him during this intermediary time added a new and interesting look at the character.

Rex’s inclusion also sparked the plot of this week’s episode: arrive at a medical facility and remove the inhibitor chips. And, due to this premise, there was a palpable sense of urgency throughout Battle Scars. Wrecker’s worrying headaches have increased and his utterance of “good soldiers…” was a chilling foretelling of what’s to come. It was a welcomed change of pace from last week’s episode with the slow burn, tension-building structure of Battle Scars.

In fact, there was relatively little action in this week’s episode, but, when blasters were raised, the action was intense and frightening. The moments leading up to Wrecker’s turn felt like every Bad Batch fan’s worst nightmare. Wrecker has been so endearing and sweet in the series so far, with Dee Bradley Baker conveying gentle giant energy to perfection. And his touching bond with Omega made Wrecker’s turn all the more gut wrenching. The sequence in which Wrecker tried to eliminate his friends, including Omega, was haunting and unpredictable. Will Wrecker remain this way as Crosshair did? Will we lose another member of the Bad Batch? Wrecker’s imposing strength also added a unique angle to this sequence as the brute force that often provides us with moments of humor suddenly became an imminent threat. This entire sequence was a “hold your breath” sort of moment and was executed superbly.

Speaking of superb execution, special attention should be drawn, once again, to the incredible animation on display this week. It was great to see Bracca make an appearance after its inclusion in Resistance Reborn and, more notably, Jedi: Fallen Order. The Bad Batch has done an excellent job so far in crafting unique settings for each episode, and Battle Scars continued this tradition. The wreckage on Bracca felt grand and vast, evoking what it was like to see massive collapsed Star Destroyers on Jakku in The Force Awakens. The beautiful water animation and design of the dilapidated ship were incredible to behold.

And, as the episode drew to a close, we’re left in an interesting position moving forward in the series. Rex encourages Clone Force 99 to join him in his efforts to defeat the Empire, but Hunter and the others are unsure what path to take. This concept of finding their way and their purpose in the changing landscape of the galaxy has been a central theme in The Bad Batch so far and it’ll be interesting to see how this continues to be explored in later episodes.

Verdict: 9/10

Greatly benefitting from a slower, more methodical pacing, Battle Scars tackles some important plot points in thrilling and chilling fashion. Tensions were high in an episode that saw Wrecker’s inevitable turn, and were beautifully balanced by touching moments of intimacy among the crew.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Breaking Down The Star Wars Production News

By @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Collider recently reported a series of updates on several upcoming Star Wars series on Disney+, including the highly anticipated The Mandalorian Season 3.

According to Collider, the new season of the Pedro Pascal led series won’t begin filming until late 2021 or early 2022, alluding to a probable fall 2022 release date. This would keep the show in the fall slot on the calendar, and it would debut roughly two years after season 2. This would give the show a consistency in its release date that Lucasfilm and Disney have reportedly been keen on recently. Given all of the other Star Wars shows in active development for the streaming service, there’s definitely enough content to keep fans happy until then.

One of these other series is The Book of Boba Fett, which was teased (and announced) in a post credits scene attached to the finale of The Mandalorian season 2. This series recently wrapped production last month, as Ming Na Wen’s social media posts revealed, and is still on track for a December 2021 release.

Fett and his accomplice, Fennec Shand, are set to be the two leads of the series, but there are more appearances of characters from The Mandalorian yet to be revealed, according to Collider. While they don’t state who these characters are, speculation suggests that Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth could make a return, among others. This would make sense given his history with Boba’s armor and his residence on Tatooine.

Interestingly, Collider also described The Book of Boba Fett as “The Mandalorian Season 2.5”, further emphasizing the connection between the two series that will seemingly be furthered by these mystery character appearances. Given Kathleen Kennedy’s comments about a culmination event to come from all of these series, it definitely seems like they’re building a mini interconnected universe of sorts, so Collider’s report does seem to make sense based on what fans have heard.

Finally, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is currently filming, is said to continue to be in production for several more months, which could be a reason for the delay of filming of The Mandalorian, which shoots on the same sound stage and the now famous Volume technology.

Source: Collider

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 6

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Action, action, and more action. That was the focus of The Bad Batch’s sixth episode, an episode light on characterization, but rich in tension and intrigue. Decommissioned sees Clone Force 99 continue their work with Cid by traveling to Corellia to claim a soon-to-be destroyed tactical droid.

As The Bad Batch progresses, it seems to have settled into a comfortable structure moving into its sixth episode. The initial episodes highlighted how the Clones navigated the immediate aftermath of the rise of the Empire, including their frantic attempts to escape, rescue Omega, and hide. With the continued inclusion of Cid (voiced by the wonderful Rhea Perlman), The Bad Batch is slowly building out their array of side characters as its animated predecessors did beforehand. And, in doing so, as the crew settles down so do the audience.

With this structure, the adventure of the week is an interesting premise: go to Corellia and retrieve the Separatist tactical droid. This premise works on a number of levels. For starters, we get to see Corellia again. The planet beautifully came to life in Solo: A Star Wars Story and it’s always great to see interesting locations like this be revisited in other projects. The retrieval of the tactical droid is also a point of interest in that writer Amanda Rose Muñoz and director Nathaniel Villanueva find a way to intelligently explore the ins and outs of the galaxy in such a transitional and tumultuous time. This is something the entire series has excelled with so far and it adds a feeling that this galaxy is really lived in – the Empire’s takeover has consequences. In this case, we see how the Empire dealt with the remnants of the Clone Wars in melting battle droids to scrap. It’s little things like this that really make the universe feel alive.

For better or worse, Decommissioned leans heavily into action set-pieces. The vast majority of the episode consists of a sprawling action sequence between the Bad Batch, the Martez sisters, and the police droids. The factory is beautifully designed and obviously evokes scenes on Geonosis in Attack of the Clones. The return of the Martez sisters was a welcomed surprise after their run in the final season of The Clone Wars. And Omega’s practice with her new weapon offered another endearing way to showcase her growing role in the team. Eventually, however, the action does grow tiresome. So far, The Bad Batch has struck a delicate balance between intimate character moments, overarching plot, and exciting action. But it seems that this balance was somewhat off in Decommissioned.

While the episode doesn’t delve much into the father-daughter bond of Hunter and Omega, it did offer a few points of intrigue worth noting. Wrecker’s progressive deterioration continued, and the utterance of “good soldiers…” felt daunting of what’s to come. It would be heartbreaking to see him turn the same way Crosshair did. We are also still left wondering who hired Fennec Shand to hunt after Omega, although it’s likely the Kaminoans are up to something. And, finally, who are the Martez sisters communicating with at the end of the episode? Although Ahsoka seems like the logical choice, she seems a bit too obvious for this reveal. Could it be Bail Organa? Or another rebel? The person was referred to by “he” (I think?). Regardless, this offered an unexpected mystery heading into future episodes.

Verdict: 7/10

Star Wars: The Bad Batch continued in fine form with an exciting and intriguing sixth episode. Although action set-pieces take up too much of the episode, Decommissioned offers plenty of cool throwbacks, locations, character moments, and surprises to make us eagerly anticipate what Clone Force 99 will be up to next.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+