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REVIEW: The High Republic: The Rising Storm

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

The flagship novel in the second wave of The High Republic projects brilliantly follows Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi in delivering a novel with unique worldbuilding, intriguing twists and turns, and, perhaps most of all, an array of compelling protagonists to root for. Author Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm sees Chancellor Lina Soh’s grand plans for the Republic Fair disrupted by the insidious Nihil and their leader Marchion Ro. In response, Jedi Stellan Gios, Bell Zettifar, Elzar Mann, and more set out to preserve the symbol of unity that is the Republic Fair and offset the damage fostered by the Nihil’s carnage.

While the first phase of High Republic novels were all centered around the events of the Great Hyperspace Disaster, this second phase adopts a similar approach in focusing on the Republic Fair. Broadly speaking, grounding these different tales around a common event allows for plenty of the worldbuilding and interconnectivity we all love about Star Wars. Offering different looks at the same event across projects adds a sense of purpose and stakes to the events in The Rising Storm that is gripping from beginning to end. 

Now that the first phase of novels have plummeted viewers into this new era in Star Wars lore, Scott takes full advantage of this opportunity. The Rising Storm is very much a sequel to Light of the Jedi, making it difficult, if not impossible, to leap into this novel without at least some exposure to the events and characters in Soule’s novel. This level of interconnectivity may be off-putting or daunting for some, but The Rising Storm excels as a story unto itself. Yes, reading other phase two novels like Out of the Shadows or Race to Crashpoint Tower will further your appreciation of the events that unfold in The Rising Storm. But, ultimately, enjoyment of Scott’s novel isn’t reliant upon the works of others.

The Rising Storm largely adopts a similar narrative structure to that of its predecessor Light of the Jedi. There’s a fair bit of jumping from character to character initially as different Jedi are introduced and the Republic Fair begins, before the threats emerge and all-out action ensues. At times, this array of introductions feels a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t take long to settle into the story and welcome the frequent shifts in focus throughout. This ‘calm before the storm’ approach to storytelling benefited Light of the Jedi and definitely benefits The Rising Storm here. Especially with a novel full of so many different characters to keep track of, it’s approachable for a reader to progress through a story that spends ample time setting up the threats. 

The threats I refer to here are the Nihil, who once again are an ominous and mysterious presence throughout the novel. Light of the Jedi spent a lot of time constructing the mythology of the Nihil, depicting their organizational hierarchy, rules, brutality, and more. Scott takes full advantage of Soule’s work on these antagonists by expanding on them in unique and unexpected ways. A concern heading into the High Republic era, overall, was that this is meant to be a period of peace in the galaxy, making us question what sort of formidable threat could our heroes face in these novels. Scott, once again, disspells any of these initial concerns by delicately navigating the era in which his book is set in. It’s really interesting to see what the galaxy is like under the rule of an ambitious and well-intentioned, yet somewhat naive and over-confident Republic. 

Verdict:

It was a difficult task to follow the excellent Light of the Jedi, but author Cavan Scott triumphs here. Fans of Soule’s novel will enjoy its follow-up and its similar approach to tension-building and character development. The Jedi all feel like unique, fleshed out individuals, the Nihil continue to be an interesting and formidable threat, and the novel leaves us with a painfully menacing cliffhanger that will have us counting our days to the next adventure in the High Republic.

STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC: THE RISING STORM is on sale 6/29/21

Image courtesy of Del Rey

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 4

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 4: Cornered

Star Wars: The Bad Batch continues to exceed expectations as the action-packed and emotional series heads into its fourth episode. Cornered follows Clone Force 99 as they continue to avoid the grip of the newly formed Empire. The team heads to Pantora, where their attempts to blend in and fix their ship are thwarted by a dangerous bounty hunter.

While last week’s detour was relatively flat and uneventful, the same criticisms can’t be lodged at episode 4. At a brisk 25 minutes, not a second is wasted in Cornered. The episode is expertly paced, striking a healthy balance between methodical build-up and high octane action. Cornered doesn’t propel the overarching narrative of The Bad Batch forward in any groundbreaking ways, but it doesn’t need to. We continue to see what it’s like for a galaxy transitioning into Imperial rule, and the experiences of Clone Force 99 as they navigate this tumultuous period. There’s a palpable sense of tension reverberating throughout Cornered as the team is desperate, on the run, and out of supplies. The entire episode adds gravity to the decisions made by Hunter and his team in the series’ pilot to disobey their orders despite the hefty consequences that accompany this decision.

The series’ lead protagonist, Crosshair, takes a backseat in Cornered and Ming-Na Wen’s Fennec Shand assumes this position with tremendous effect. Fennec’s appearance in The Bad Batch was revealed in promotional footage for the series, but it’s still really cool to see the character come to life in this new medium. It also adds a sense of interconnectivity to events in the Star Wars saga as we get a little insight into what Fennec was up to prior to working with Boba Fett in The Mandalorian. And, as she does in The Mandalorian, Ming-Na Wen conveys the calculated and lethal nature of her character to perfection in The Bad Batch. Fennec is a formidable foe for the Bad Batch and her attempts to ingratiate herself with Omega highlighted just how dangerous she can really be.

Hunter’s paternal instincts kicking in to protect Omega continue to flesh out their father-daughter bond in touching ways. As we’ve stated in previous reviews, it’s clear that the emotional crux of the series will be Omega’s relationships with the members of Clone Force 99, in particular Hunter. And, on this front, the series continues to succeed. Little moments exchanged between Wrecker and Omega, for instance, are endearing – it’s clear that this gang of misfits truly care for the well-being of Omega and that she is most certainly one of the Bad Batch now.

I would be remiss if I didn’t, once again, comment on the stunning animation on display in this week’s episode. Pantora is easily one of the most beautiful locations seen in Star Wars animation to date. The landscapes are breathtaking, the architecture brilliantly draws upon features of the real world, and, perhaps most striking of all, the planet feels really alive. Streets are bustling, people are talking, vehicles travel in a manner reminiscent of Coruscant in Attack of the Clones. The activity on the planet evokes what it’s like to behold Mos Eisley in A New Hope – every character in the background has a story, there’s always something interesting visually, and the location just feels really lived in. To such an extent, in fact, that Pantora feels like a character unto itself in Cornered and most certainly a location we hope to revisit soon.

Verdict: 9/10

The Bad Batch continues to impress with a visually stunning and tension-filled fourth episode. Ming-Na Wen’s appearance as Fennec Shand is a highlight in an episode that doesn’t advance the overarching narrative significantly, but continues to flesh out these characters and their relationships in superb fashion nonetheless. 

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 3

by @HolocronJosh and @HolocronJulie for @sw_holocron

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 3 – Replacements

Clone Force 99 returns for the third episode of their Disney+ series, a dark and yet somewhat conventional installment titled Replacements. The episode sees the Bad Batch attempting to repair their ship after crash landing on a dangerous and desolate moon. Meanwhile, Crosshair and the Empire’s first elite squad go on a mission to eliminate Saw Gerrera.

Replacements adopts a different structure from The Bad Batch’s initial episodes by dividing its attention between two narratives. The adventure of Clone Force 99 largely feels like a detour from the central narrative, something Star Wars series like Rebels and The Mandalorian excelled with. And, inevitably, the results vary when the central narrative takes a backseat in favor of a more standalone adventure. The Bad Batch’s plot line in this episode is serviceable, but doesn’t really make a significant emotional or narrative impact. These parts of the episode are certainly watchable and entertaining; they’re just not particularly engaging or captivating. This focus of the episode largely plays like Han, Leia, and company’s detour amidst the Hoth asteroid belt in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s not a particularly suspenseful plot, although there’s definitely intrigue regarding Wrecker’s mysterious ‘headache’ and Omega getting her own room at the end was very touching.

The focus on Crosshair, however, was the most captivating aspect of Replacements. It’s interesting to see the behind-the-scenes mechanics of the Empire as officials like Tarkin and Rampart navigate the necessity of Clones and the usage of alternative soldiers in this new era. This provides added relevance to The Bad Batch in offering insights into this era that further builds out canon. And it’s with this part of the episode that Star Wars animation delves into some of its darkest territory yet. The mission Crosshair and his new squad (like a Badder Batch) go on sees the crew mercilessly slaughter civilians. This definitely went into darker territory than expected heading into this episode, but it was effective in highlighting how the inhibitor chips corrupted good men and just how evil the Empire really is. The positioning of Crosshair as the series’ villain was startling and poignant, and this journey continues in episode 3 and is one of the most intriguing elements of the series moving forward.

The Bad Batch continues to impress with outstanding visuals and voice work. Director Nathaniel Villanueva and the entire animation team keep pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in this medium of Star Wars content. The landscapes and characters are breathtaking and really add a cinematic quality to the episode. As does Dee Bradley Baker, whose performances as the various clones continues to be the backbone of the series. It’s easy to watch an episode like Replacements and get lost in the plot or the action, but Baker’s performances warrant immense praise. It continues to be amazing to see a series like this showcase his brilliant talents.

Verdict: 7/10

After an outstanding first two episodes, The Bad Batch continues with an entertaining, yet somewhat uncaptivating installment that delves into unexpectedly dark territory. Moments of intrigue, such as Wrecker’s potential susceptibility and Crosshair’s transformation, and emotion, such as the growing bond Omega has with the Bad Batch, offset an otherwise conventional episode. 

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Dates Moved Up to May 26-29, 2022

By @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim will arrive sooner than expected. Previously slated for August 18-21, 2022, the new dates have the convention set for May 26-29, 2022.

Celebration Anaheim was originally scheduled for August of 2020, yet was pushed back considerably due to the pandemic. Now, fans can look forward to the convention returning next year in a little over 12 months from now.

Those who purchased tickets to the 2020 event who still want to attend will have their tickets automatically transferred to the 2022 convention. Fans also have the option of a refund if they wish, which must be submitted on or before June 11, 2021.

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim is set to be a remarkable event, and one in which fans can finally return to rave about their favorite franchise in person and safely.

Last time out in 2019, we got our first look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including the epic trailer, title reveal, and, of course, the announcement of Emperor Palpatine’s return. We also saw a brief glimpse at The Mandalorian, as well as many interesting panels from those in a galaxy far, far away. With so much on the upcoming Star Wars slate, including Andor, The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and The Mandalorian season 3, next year’s Celebration will surely be full of announcements and surprises.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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Could The Mandalorian Crossover Be an Heir to the Empire Adaptation?

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

It’s incredible to think that this month marks the 30th anniversary of Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. A quote from Dave Filoni perhaps best encapsulates what Heir to the Empire meant to Star Wars fans when it was released in May 1991. 

Filoni once said, “You couldn’t have grown up a Star Wars fan without encountering Thrawn in Heir to the Empire. It was a dark time when there weren’t any movies, and it blew our minds that there could be more.” 

But, now, three decades after its release, the legacy of Zahn’s novel still lives on. So much so, in fact, that we have a theory as to how the upcoming crossover event in The Mandalorian will be an Heir to the Empire adaptation.

For those not as familiar with Heir to the Empire, the novel is Legends or Expanded Universe content now. It was set five years after Return of the Jedi and the fall of the Empire, and is well known for introducing some fan favorite characters, including Mara Jade and, of course, Grand Admiral Thrawn. 

Essentially, the story looks at the aftermath of the Empire’s fall. We see Han and Leia married as they navigate the politics of the New Republic. And we see Luke Skywalker taking the mantle of the leader of a burgeoning Jedi Order. It’s what’s happening on the outer edges of the galaxy, however, where the plot really kicks into gear. 

One of the Emperor’s last warlords – Thrawn – develops a strategic plan to overthrow the New Republic and restore the Empire. With the help of his personal bodyguard Rukh and the mad clone of a dead Jedi master, Thrawn kicks off a chain of events that have dire consequences across the galaxy.

So, why do we think The Mandalorian may adapt Heir to the Empire in one way or another. If we take a step back, The Mandalorian has a lot of similarities with Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy already. Both tackle the aftermath of the Empire with a struggling New Republic and a relentless Empire that doesn’t want to seem to go away. There’s also quite a bit in the Thrawn trilogy involving the underworld, gangster elements of the Star Wars universe, something that is core to the story of The Mandalorian.

It’s also interesting to look at the similar functions The Mandalorian and Heir to the Empire share with one another in the broader Star Wars universe. Both take place after Return of the Jedi and, largely, serve to bridge the gap between what came before and what’s to come. For The Mandalorian, as creator Jon Favreau has spoken of previously, this means connecting the original trilogy to the sequel trilogy, highlighting the origins of the First Order. For the Thrawn trilogy, we get the set up for the events that unfold in Dark Empire, the Second Galactic Civil War, the Yuuzhan Vong War, and much more.

Now, let’s take a step back to December 2020, when Kathleen Kennedy, during Lucasfilm’s Disney Investor Day Presentation, announced a slew of new Star Wars projects, including several Disney+ series. These included a new season of The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Rangers of the New Republic, and Ahsoka. Perhaps most interestingly though, Kennedy revealed that these series will crossover in an epic, interconnected event at some point. 

Immediately, this raises the question: what will this crossover event entail? Well we have several clues to suggest it may be something akin to Heir to the Empire. 

In Chapter 13: The Jedi, we find out that Ahsoka is hunting after Grand Admiral Thrawn. The last we saw Thrawn was in roughly 0 BBY, in the series finale of Rebels. Ezra and Thrawn are plummeted deep into hyperspace into the unknown. Then, five years later, we see Sabine and Ahsoka reunited on Lothal, presumably teaming up to find their mutual friend. 

But, the revelation in Chapter 13 makes it very clear: Thrawn is back, he’s still a threat, he seems to have quite a following, and Ahsoka is out to stop him and retrieve Ezra. 

With a crossover event incoming, there needs to be a threat notable enough to warrant all of these different shows and characters intersecting and Thrawn may well be that threat.

Now, I’m not saying The Mandalorian will straight up adapt Heir to the Empire. It’s unlikely Mara Jade is showing up anytime soon. The Thrawn trilogy sees Leia give birth to twins. But, nonetheless, the barebones of Heir to the Empire – Thrawn claiming the Katana Fleet and strategizing a master plan – seems more than feasible in the crossover event.

Also of note is the character Jorus C’baoth in Heir to the Empire. 

Jorus is a mad clone of a Jedi Master, who allies with Thrawn and attempts to turn Leia’s unborn twins and Luke to the dark side. It’s not entirely inconceivable that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni find a way to make Ezra the Jorus C’baoth of canon. 

We know that Ezra is highly likely to appear in live-action, with Aladdin star Mena Massoud reportedly helming the role. And the last we heard of Ezra and Thrawn they were together. So, it’s possible that Ezra is somehow worked into this crossover event as a reluctant ally of Grand Admiral Thrawn, either a clone version of Ezra or some kind of mind-altered version of Ezra.

Nonetheless, it’s exciting to look back at Heir to the Empire and see its continued legacy to this day. Dave Filoni has intelligently incorporated elements of Legends throughout The Clone Wars, Rebels, and now The Mandalorian, so it’s possible he leans into EU content once again in crafting the upcoming crossover series, witn Jon Favreau in the driver’s seat.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 2

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 2: Cut and Run

After a stellar pilot, Star Wars: The Bad Batch continues the momentum into its second episode with the unexpected appearance of an interesting character and a furthering of the father-daughter bond between Hunter and Omega. Episode 2, titled Cut and Run, sees Clone Force 99 continue their evasion of the newly-formed Galactic Empire by reuniting with an old friend on the planet Saleucami.

In its second episode, The Bad Batch largely leans into a number of motifs and themes explored in other Star Wars projects, while adding its own really interesting, unique layers. Cut and Run largely plays like Chapter 4: Sanctuary of The Mandalorian. Our central characters flee from Imperial forces to what appears to be a safe haven, where they rely on locals for safety. We’re treated to a number of callbacks from Cut Lawquane’s appearance in The Clone Wars (we’ll get to him in a second). Omega’s amazement at the greenery of Saleucami captured Rey’s childlike wonder after taking in the beauty of Takodana. And, perhaps most touching of all, the Hunter-Omega bond mirrors that of Mando and the Child in presenting a reluctant father figure taking care of a gifted, mysterious youngster. It’s this bond that appears to be the emotional backbone of The Bad Batch moving forward. Omega has an immediate, intangible connection to Clone Force 99, in particular Hunter. But, Hunter, being a renegade Clone on the run from the most powerful entity in the galaxy, wants to protect Omega and thinks she would be better off with Cut and his family. The parallels between this and The Mandalorian are striking and perhaps some may find the two projects to be a little too similar, but, at least for the time being, their burgeoning relationship is really captivating.

Also captivating is Omega as a character herself. Her inclusion in the series, as evidenced by her role in Cut and Run, excels on a number of levels. Omega is somewhat of the audience’s entry point into the Bad Batch. This crew are hardened, experienced soldiers, each with their own unique abilities and personalities. They’re seasoned and products of war. Omega is not. Omega enters the scene with bright, curious eyes – she is taking in these new characters and this new world just like we are. In addition, Omega’s appearance in promotional material for the series led to much fan speculation and, after two episodes, much mystery still surrounds the new member of the Bad Batch. Star Wars always excels in presenting these mystery boxes to unfold, whether it be Rey’s parentage in the sequel trilogy or everything to do with Grogu in The Mandalorian. Omega adds a certain intrigue and gravity to The Bad Batch – this is not just a story of Clones post-Order 66, which would be incredibly interesting on its own. No, this is also a story that appears to have broader relevance with more wide-reaching implications than we realize yet.

One of the highlights of Cut and Run is the titular character, Cut, and how the Bad Batch’s interactions with his family provide insight into the quickly changing structure of the galaxy. The Skywalker saga films present really broad-based pictures of the most important events in the galaxy’s history, but it’s projects like The Bad Batch that really deepen the mythology and make the universe feel truly lived in. We don’t just see Order 66 happen in Revenge of the Sith and left to speculate what effect this had on the galaxy. Instead, we, along with Cut and the Bad Batch, are experiencing what it’s like to live amidst the beginning days of the Empire. 

Verdict: 9/10

Cut and Run continues the impressive start to Star Wars: The Bad Batch with an interesting detour that draws upon various elements through Star Wars lore. The episode excels in its depiction of the growing father-daughter bond between Hunter and Omega, while depicting what it’s like to experience the change from Republic to Imperial rule.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Episode 1

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

And, as the Clone Wars end, the era of the Empire (and the Bad Batch) begin. The newest Star Wars series finally hits Disney+ after months of anticipation and, thankfully, does not disappoint whatsoever. Viewers are treated to an epic and cinematic 70-minute premiere episode full of unexpected appearances and moments, unique character development, and an episode that brilliantly lays the foundation for what’s to come in Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

It’s hard not to associate The Bad Batch pilot with the words “epic” and “cinematic.” The extended length, jaw-droppingly detailed animation, and an unexpectedly deliberate pace makes the first episode of The Bad Batch feel more like a feature film than anything we’ve seen in Star Wars animation to date, with the exception of the Siege of Mandalore arc in season 7 of The Clone Wars. Every sequence is meticulously crafted top to bottom and every department is firing on all cylinders in this pilot. Kevin Kiner’s score adds a grand sense to the whole episode, evoking many of John Williams’ themes from the prequel trilogy, while also carving out a distinct tone for Clone Force 99. The dialogue from writers Jennifer Corbett and Matt Michnovetz perfectly suits the tone of the new series. And, of course, the animation is stunning to say the least. The episode feels like a Star Wars film given the extent to which our lead characters hop from planet to planet, each of which are beautifully animated and really come to life in this episode.

From a narrative perspective, The Bad Batch clearly forges its own tale moving forward, while honoring what came before it and the era it is situated in. The pilot very much feels like a sequel to The Clone Wars, but, as the minutes and scenes go by, it becomes increasingly clear this is its own show – this is The Bad Batch. One of the most interesting things about this pilot was how it explores what it’s like to be a Clone amidst the changing structure of the galaxy. We’ve seen projects like Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story highlight the efforts of rebels fighting to overthrow the tyrannous Empire in the years before the Battle of Yavin. And we’ve seen a lot to do with the seedy underbelly of the Star Wars galaxy during this era, perhaps most notably Solo: A Star Wars Story. But, The Bad Batch adds a different layer to this era that was perhaps the highlight of the series so far. What is it like for a Clone Trooper following Order 66? How do you adjust to the fact that your comrades, the Jedi, are all of a sudden gone? Do you adhere to the directions of a new government or do you follow your own moral backbone? All of these questions and more are intricately explored in The Bad Batch and make it stand out from other projects set during the Imperial Era.

The episode also excels in the extensive character development it’s able to achieve in its 70+ minute premiere. Clone Force 99 featured in four episodes of The Clone Wars’ final season, but they were largely servicing a broader narrative populated with established characters like Rex, Cody, and Anakin. Now, the Bad Batch truly take center stage. All of what we learned about this rag-tag crew from their arc in the Clone Wars is expanded on tenfold here. Yes, each character has their own, distinct abilities as a soldier, but they also have truly unique, idiosyncratic personalities that complement one another brilliantly. It’s a testament to the direction and writing of this pilot that we really get a solid feel for each of Clone Force 99, without a disproportionate focus on a single character. We intimately see and feel what it’s like for Hunter to lead his team amidst this changing galaxy and navigate his own morals and duty to the Empire. We see and feel what it’s like for Wrecker, who is naturally predisposed to destruction, but is confused by the state of things and always apt to unleash his inner child. The crew comes together brilliantly in this episode, in large part due to Dee Bradley Baker’s spectacular performances as the titular characters. Baker has been a staple in Star Wars for many years now, but The Bad Batch feels like the best opportunity yet for the talented voice-actor to get the much-deserved spotlight. Baker deftly transitions from character to character and really makes each member of Clone Force 99 feel like their own individuals. 

As all good pilots do, The Bad Batch sets up a number of interesting plot threads ripe for exploration in subsequent episodes. This is a spoiler-free review, so no worries if you haven’t had a chance to catch the episode yet, but let’s just say there’s more than a few appearances and plot choices that took me by surprise. Some of the most intriguing elements of this premiere pertain to Omega, the new character teased in promotional material. Her origins are unknown, as is her purpose on Kamino, but it’s certain that she will play a significant role in the series moving forward. Her inclusion definitely evokes elements of The Mandalorian in more ways than one. 

Verdict: 9.5/10

Star Wars: The Bad Batch kicks off with an epic and cinematic 70-minute premiere full of intrigue, suspense, and humor. Extremely polished and refined, the series feels like a sequel to The Clone Wars and features plenty of unexpected appearances and moments. It evokes some of the best elements of The Mandalorian and features a captivating opening act that ranks up there with some of the best Star Wars animation to date. A deliberate, slower pace allows for each of the titular crew to develop as unique characters, making us eagerly anticipate what’s to come for Clone Force 99.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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INTERVIEW: Dee Bradley Baker, Brad Rau, and Jennifer Corbett Talk The Bad Batch, Exploring Clones Post-Order 66, Omega, and More

by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The newest Star Wars series hits Disney+ this month with Star Wars: The Bad Batch, following the adventures of Clone Force 99 in a quickly changing galaxy. We recently had a chance to attend a press conference previewing the new series hosted by Ash Crossan of Entertainment Tonight with supervising director and executive producer Brad Rau, head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett, and the voice of the Bad Batch Dee Bradley Baker. Here are some of the highlights from the press event.

In providing an overview of the members of Clone Force 99, Dee Bradley Baker identified Wrecker as his favorite of the batch.

BAKER: It’s-it’s fun to be Wrecker, because he’s so honest and…so clear and funny. Uh, but I have great affection for all of them. They’re all very interesting fellows. Uh, but Wrecker’s-he’s probably the furthest away from me as-from all of them. [LAUGH] And, uh, and he’s great fun.

Brad Rau and Jennifer Corbett spoke about what it was like to collaborate with Dave Filoni on the series.

CORBETT: I got to work with Dave on Star Wars Resistance, which was such a great experience. And getting the chance to develop the series with him, uh, you know, it’s kinda like a master class in writing Star Wars? And he, you know, with this being a-a sequel series of sorts, to-to the Clone Wars, it was kind of crucial that-that he be, you know, involved in this process very much. Because these are characters that he’s created and it’s the world that he knows, but, um, every-every day, every script is, uh, is a learning experience.

RAU: Dave-he’s awesome. I’ve known Dave for a long time. Uh, when he was starting Clone Wars, I first met him up at-up at the ranch-Skywalker Ranch, and I happened to just be starting my own animation studio at that time. So I was unable to join the force of the Clone Wars. It was one of my regrets that I rectified later on in Rebels, to join as an episodic director. And then on Resistance. And he’s-he’s an awesome guy, a good friend. Really good, you know, I couldn’t think of a better mentor. Especially for Star Wars. The stuff he tells us every day, is-is fantastic. And amazing. And yeah, just-just collaborating with him and-and-and being able to work with you, Jen, so closely on this show’s been awesome. It’s been a dream come true.”

One of the things head writer and executive producer Jennifer Corbett found interesting about the show was the possibility of exploring the immediate aftermath of Order 66 from the perspective of Clone Troopers.

CORBETT: We’ve seen the Clone Wars where it’s the height of-of the Clone Troopers doing what they’re meant to do, and what they were created for. And you know, the question became, “What happens after the war is over? What happens to clones who all they know, um, is being soldiers?” Especially for the Bad Batch who do things differently as it is with the Republic and how they fit in once it becomes the Empire…it was interesting to just sort of talk about the transition from the Republic to the Empire and what that looks like, because it’s not-it’s not what we saw in the original trilogy, wh-where it’s the dominance of the Empire.

The team behind the Bad Batch spoke about similarities between their show and The Mandalorian, especially in relation to the mysterious new character Omega.

BAKER: It’s interesting, uh, in terms of the-of the story and the writing, to have this kind of personal relationship with the younger character. And to see how that-how that changes and how they accommodate that and how-how that works. Because it’s more of like an uncle/niece, or a father/child, uh, dynamic, but not entirely. Because Omega is her own interesting, um, uh, potential of-of powers. [LAUGH] Maybe. And, uh, and so it’s interesting to see all of that unfold. But it, I think, it connects you to-to the story in-in a personal way. So it’s not just an action story.

RAU: To have these clinical, best of the best soldiers as suddenly fish out of water in this changing galaxy, and to have this kid that they do, um, look to, to help raise in a very parental way. And-and it’s a two way street, honestly, the way-the way that that works, that none of them are really equipped to go out into the world. And how do they, you know, how do they eat? They don’t have a mess hall to go to. How do they get their gear fixed? How do they get fuel for their-for their ship? These are things that are, “Wait a minute, oh yeah, we didn’t-we didn’t have to deal with that la-last week, now we gotta deal with it.” Are all things we get into. It’s really interesting.

The Bad Batch also evokes Rogue One in being a story independent of Sith and Jedi and more focused on reluctant, rag-tag soldiers.

RAU: It is really interesting, kind of off of what we were just saying, to deal with this family dynamic. To have the stories be emotionally charged, and emotionally based gives, um, gives the action a lot-a lot more texture, honestly. ‘Cause I mean, we-let’s face it, we’re blowing stuff up and we’re, you know, [LAUGH] we’re having fun doing that but, to have the emotional, um, context of that is-is the challenge, I think, in any of these stories. And it-for us, I think, it helps that we are coming into characters that are familiar and yet, we don’t know that much about. And it gives us room to kind of play around with how those characters develop.

The team behind the scenes of The Bad Batch were impressed with the range and versatility of Dee Bradley Baker’s performances as the five titular characters.

CORBETT: It’s impressive to watch him do it in-in the room, because when we first started, I thought he was gonna go a character at a time. And just watching him like, act out a scene with himself, with all of these Clones. But and-but there’s no pause. He just goes right into it. And I-I was blown away. And each-each time we do one of these record sessions, I’m-I’m just amazed at Dee’s talent.

RAU: Same. Yeah, some-sometimes I accidentally say, “Okay, so Wrecker, oh wait, I mean, wait, Dee.” I’m losing my brain.

Corbett commented on how she drew on her experience in the United States Navy during the writing process of the series.

CORBETT: I understand [LAUGH] how, um, people in the military become like, brothers and sisters very closely when you’re sent on missions together. When you’re in close quarters and kinda the-the camaraderie and-and also the banter that comes with living with people, so closely, in high stress situations. So, I think, you know, that’s what I try to bring to it, is how-how this squad, even though they are these elite soldiers, they are this-this family. But they don’t have to agree all the time, and all the things. And all the different perspectives that each of them brings, because they’re all so very different. And, um, I think that speaks to, you know, the military. No one comes from the same background, everybody has their different reasons for doing what they’re doing. And, um, it is-it is a family dynamic in real life, so, yeah.

Hearing Dee Bradley Baker, Brad Rau, and Jennifer Corbett take a deep dive into their upcoming series was exciting to say the least. The Bad Batch appears to be yet another interesting installment in Star Wars canon, offering new insights into Clone Force 99 and their experiences in a galaxy post-Order 66.

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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Star Wars Holocron

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kevin Kiner Talks The Bad Batch Score, Influences on the New Show, His Time Working with Dave Filoni and George Lucas, and More

by @holocronGeorge and @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Kevin Kiner has been a familiar name to Star Wars for over a decade now, and his brilliant work in a galaxy far, far away continues with Star Wars: The Bad Batch. The composer of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels returns to the fold this month scoring the newest Star Wars show streaming on Disney+. We had a chance to speak with Kevin Kiner, who opened up about scoring The Bad Batch, his work in the Star Wars franchise, collaborating with Dave Filoni and George Lucas, musical influences, and more.

Kiner spoke of his long history with Clone Force 99 as he first composed the music for the animatic story reel, before scoring The Clone Wars season 7, but how he didn’t expect to be working with these characters for so long.

“No, I had no idea. The theme for Bad Batch was co-composed Sean and Dean [Kiner’s sons], and, you know, we wrote them for that episode before The Bad Batch came out in The Clone Wars. We had no idea they were going to be that big of a deal. Having said that, I’m really happy with that theme and it plays a large part in the show now.”

Similar to his work on The Clone Wars and Rebels, Kiner collaborated with his sons Sean and Dean on the score for The Bad Batch.

“We were worked all of season 7 of Clone Wars. Quite a lot of Rebels, almost all of Rebels I believe. You know you’d have to go back to season 6 or 5 of Clone Wars when I was not writing with my sons when they were still at university. It’s become kind of a team endeavor for five, six, years or whatever. It’s really fruitful. It keeps me fresh. It helps take a load off of me, because I’ve been doing this for 35 or 36 years. I’ve been doing Star Wars since ‘06 since I started with George and Dave when I first auditioned…’06 or ‘07, something like that. So that’s, you know, 14 years there.”

In terms of the process of composing the music for The Bad Batch, Kiner noted some minor logistical issues due to the pandemic, but, overall, noticed his work was not affected by the state of things.

“Film and television composers are kind of lone wolves out in our little cave. Composing is a bit of a solitary life. So, you know the pandemic didn’t really affect that at all. There were some logistical things that continue to be with orchestras. And we had a time where we went to Budapest, Hungary, and Prague when they were not having much problems there. So, we were able to record at times when we were completely locked down in the States…That’s just logistical. In terms of writing process, it’s not different at all.”

Unlike The Clone Wars, Kiner isn’t playing around with as many established characters with his work on The Bad Batch. Kiner spoke about what it was like composing music for a new series characterized by five central characters with five unique abilities and personalities.

“As always with Clone Wars, a lot of the great direction comes from the showrunners. Dave Filoni set up Clone Wars and he set up Bad Batch as well. One of the bits of direction he gave us, because he’s not really running that show anymore. One of the bits of direction he gave us was that the Bad batch are a group of misfits, sorta like the dirty dozen. So we went and watch dirty dozen and listened to the soundtrack. Guns of Navarone, another one called Kelly’s Heroes. So you’ll hear a harkening to a gang of misfits, they don’t really fit in, and yet they end up winning the day in a very unconventional way. Very similar to those great caper films and so that is an element you’ll hear in Bad Batch.”

Kiner also commented on what it was like to work on The Bad Batch with less direct involvement from Dave Filoni:

“Brad Rau is now the showrunner of Bad Batch. He’s really stepped into that job and we’re having a great collaboration with him too, super fun guy to work with. Really pays attention, knows what’s hes doing. Its amazing how Lucasfilm is able to find these people. I mean, I really feel like I was the right call for music and I try to live up with it everyday. And I know so many of the people I’m surrounded with were totally the right call. Look at Dave Filoni. George handpicked him. And it was pretty good choice [Laughs]. Everyone has their own personality and [way of] dealing with things, but, overall, it’s been seamless. And one of the cool things, Dave didn’t just say, “Bad Batch / Dirty Dozen! See you later!” He’s still involved, he still watches the show, he still listens to the things we’re doing and gives comments and stuff. And he’s doing this with Brad and Athena and all of the people involved, so it’s just been seamless…The transition has been seamless.”

In reflecting on his work in the Star Wars franchise, Kiner noted that it’s been one of the most demanding challenges of his career.

“It’s definitely the hardest gig I’ve ever had, on so many different levels. Filling John Wiliams’ shoes, which really is impossible, so I’ve never really filled his shoes. But I try not to wreck what he started. And I try to do it justice and I respect it. I’ve tried to, for instance, be really big on melody and he writes the greatest melodies ever for film, so there’s a huge challenge there. And his orchestral chops are insane. And I’m a rock and roll guitarist, I played in garage bands when I was kid since I was 10 years old. I was playing in bars way before it was legal for me to play in bars. There’s a different tradition that I come from. You know, I’ve educated myself on classical music. I continue to educate myself on classical music and study scores, study John Williams’ scores. And then the best I think is to study who he studied: Korngold, Stravinsky, all of the real greatest, Boulez. A lot of these fantastic composers and orchestrators and guys that came before. Star Wars is just in another league. It’s harder than anything for sure. It’s really rewarding, you know, once you’ve gotten through it. And the process is rewarding too. Because your brain doesn’t sit still.”

Throughout his work in Star Wars, Kiner has noticed it has become easier to strike a balance between honoring the work of John Williams and executing his own, unique style.

“I always…use this parallel, as a guitar player you’re starting to learn to solo and, as all of us guitar players, love to shred, right? That’s what we live for. So, maybe you copy a Jimi Hendrix solo or even a Joe Pass jazz solo or I copied the solo on Stairway to Heaven, Jimmy Cage. You don’t do that so you can play that solo over and over every night when you’re gonna play that song…The reason you learn that solo is so that it gets under your fingers, so when you do your own solo, some of those motions, whether it be physically or whether it be tonally or pneumatically, they’re kind of under your fingers, they become a little bit of you, they become an influence. But you don’t play them note for note, but now I can move in that direction if I want to. As much as I’ve studied John Williams, I don’t really worry about it. Some of his licks and stuff have gotten inside of me and I express them in my own way now. I’m not really concerned…I don’t think about it any longer. I used to think about it a lot, like I said it wasn’t a great strength of mine so I feel like I overcompensated for my lack of classical background for a long time.”

Beyond Star Wars, Kiner is proud of his other work in various different franchises.

“I had a great time doing the Bond games. I did Goldeneye and Bond Legends. That was really, really fun. It would be awesome to work on a Bond film or something like that. Everything I’m working on…I worked on Superboy in the 80s… so now here is Superboy and he shows up in Titans and it’s 30 years or something like that, it’s crazy. And I get to work with, here’s Batman, and Nighthawk and all of the different iterations and Robin. And Doom Patrol. I’ll tell you, I’m really most interested in the new stuff coming out. There’s a couple things I can’t really talk about, but when I see some of the new things coming across my desk I’m like ‘Wow, I can’t imagine enjoying something more than what I’m doing.’..Also, look at how good Clone Wars is. It’s such a great property…You could argue Clone Wars has done a tremendous amount for Star Wars as a franchise, I don’t even think that’s an argument – it’s a fact. To be involved in that is a complete dream. And to be involved with any kind of project that is really well respected. I’m working on this third season of Narcos Mexico. What a great show that is, the drama is fantastic. Really, really different score. It keeps me really fresh. And the style is very different.”

Following John Williams’ cameo appearance in The Rise of Skywalker, Kiner was asked if making a cameo appearance would be of interest to him.

“Man! I gotta ask them about that! Next time I talk to Brad, they gotta animate me…This guy has a museum, he used to work with Lucasfilm. He’s up in the Bay area. He’s got so much Star Wars memorabilia. A lot of it is fan art. He’s got the entire cantina band, you know all posed in the cantina, and there’s a picture of me sitting in with the band there…That’s what it should be. I should be in the club….I’m gonna bring that up now.”

Looking forward, Kiner hopes that his time in the Star Wars universe doesn’t finish any time soon.

“I certainly hope it’s not the end of myime. I hope I’m doing Star Wars for the next 20 years. Like me and John Williams, we’re not going to quit. Pry it from our cold dead fingers, I guess. That’s my attitude.”

Finally, in speaking of the members of Clone Force 99 in the upcoming series, Kiner included a little tease of what’s to come in The Bad Batch…

I think I can say, there’s not just 5 central characters…”

It was an honor to be able to speak with Kevin Kiner about his work on The Bad Batch, his career, and more. His thoughtful and insightful comments have made us even work excited for the upcoming Disney+ series. 

You can check out Kevin Kiner’s website for an in-depth look at his career and the projects he has worked on.

Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for more coverage of Star Wars: The Bad Batch! And look out for our video interview with Kevin Kiner coming soon!

Images courtesy of Disney+, Lucasfilm, Netflix, and kevinkiner.com

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Star Wars Holocron

What’s New in Star Wars – May 2021

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

From new TV shows, books, comics, and more, there’s a wealth of exciting new Star Wars material coming our way this month. The highly anticipated Star Wars: The Bad Batch finally drops this month, as does the kick-off to the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event. It is important to note all of these release dates are subject to change. Below includes a list and description of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of May:

May 4 – Episode 1 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

After making their canon debut in last year’s final season of The Clone Wars, Clone Force 99, a.k.a. The Bad Batch, take centerstage in their own Star Wars series. Fittingly debuting on Star Wars Day (May the 4th), the series will kick off with a 70-minute premiere episode spotlighting Hunter, Echo, Tech, Crosshair, Wrecker, and more.

May 4 – The Mandalorian: Magnetic Fun

The Mandalorian: Magnetic Fun looks to bring some enjoyment to younger Star Wars fans on this year’s Star Wars Day. The publisher’s summary for the upcoming activity book written by Grace Baranowski and published by Studio Fun International is as follows: “Young Star Wars fans will love following along as the Mandalorian, the Child, Cara Dune, and others journey throughout the galaxy in this fun, interactive magnetic book with 12 included magnets. Following the fall of the Galactic Empire, a lone gunfighter travels to the outer rim of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. There, he retrieves a mysterious bounty. Join the Mandalorian and his allies Cara Dune, Kuiil, Greef Karga, and IG-11 as they attempt to save the mysterious Child from the former Imperial Commander Moff Gideon. With magnetic pages and 10 included magnets, this interactive book is perfect for young Star Wars fans!”

May 4 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Volume 1

Studio Fun International are also debuting a new children’s book covering the events of The Mandalorian’s first season for younger readers. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Relive the first season of The Mandalorian as Mando, Cara Dune, Kuill [sic], and Greef Karga attempt to save the Child from Moff Gideon and what remains of the Galactic Empire in this beautiful storybook. After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. Star Wars fans of all ages will enjoy reliving the first season of The Mandalorian in this beautiful storybook.”

May 4 – Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: The Official Collector’s Edition

Titan Comics have an incredible collector’s edition debuting this month that features various interviews, pictures, stories, and more from the entire Skywalker Saga. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” For more than five decades, the Skywalker saga has thrilled generations of fans who have grown up with one of the greatest stories in cinematic history. This sprawling epic of nine episodic films covers 67 years of unforgettable action, featuring thousands of iconic characters, from Star Wars: A New Hope to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And the Star Wars Insider magazine has been there every step of the way, gaining exclusive access to cast, crew, and creators. Now, collected together for the first time, this movie companion chronicles the story behind the making of the Skywalker saga, as told by the writers, directors, designers, and crafts people who built and shaped a legend. From George Lucas’ thoughts on embarking on the making of A New Hope to Ewan McGregor on stepping into the shoes of the late Sir Alec Guinness to play Obi-Wan Kenobi to Daisy Ridley taking on the role of Rey in the final trilogy, this is a must-have for anyone touched by this incredible story.” 

May 4 – Star Wars: Galactic Baking

Insight Editions will soon release a cookbook of Star Wars-inspired baking recipes. We’ve had a chance to try out some of the delicious treats so far and we can’t wait to get our hands on what else the cookbook has in store. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Embark on a baking journey through the Star Wars galaxy, and craft scrumptious treats inspired by fan-favorite planets. Get ready to tour the galaxy with this baking cookbook inspired by the snowdrifts of Hoth, the wastelands of Tatooine, and beyond. Star Wars: The Official Baking Cookbook is the most delicious way to experience the planets, flora, and fauna of the Star Wars galaxy. Whether you’re throwing a watch party or hosting members of the Galactic Senate, this cookbook is a must-have for fans of all ages. Over thirty mouthwatering recipes: Star Wars: The Official Baking Cookbook features recipes such as Mustafarian Molten Lava Cakes, Cloud City Marshmallows, Life Day Cake, Loth-Cat Kibble, Keshian Spice Bread, Dagobah Bog Pie, and more. Bake your way through the galaxy: Packed with stunning food photography that’s sure to inspire your inner chef, this cookbook will transport you to planets such as Kashyyyk, Jakku, Endor, Bespin, Coruscant, and everywhere in between. For all skill levels: All types of bakers—from Padawans to Jedi Masters—will be able to enjoy recipes based on the Star Wars galaxy, from the Skywalker Saga to Star Wars Rebels. Own the official Star Wars baking cookbook: This officially licensed guide to the galaxy’s best sweets and treats will be a delectable addition to your Star Wars collection.”

May 4 – Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1

Titan Comics are also releasing a collection of Star Wars Legends short stories this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Star Wars Insider, the official magazine of the Star Wars saga, presents an amazing collection of tales from the galaxy far, far away. Featuring short stories starring familiar characters such as Han Solo, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian and Darth Vader, this collection also includes tales featuring supporting characters such as Darth Plagueis, Hondo Ohnaka, Captain Rex, and Darth Revan. Featuring renowned best-selling Star Wars authors including Jason Fry, Matthew Stover, John Ostrander, and Paul S. Kemp, this volume also includes stunning art from some of the sagas [sic] best-loved interpreters, including Joe Corroney, Brian Rood, Jan Duursema, and Magali Villeneuve.”

May 5 – The High Republic Adventures 4

Daniel José Older and IDW Publishing’s fourth issue of The High Republic Adventures debuts this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Zeen has followed the Jedi to the Starlight Beacon, where she learns what it means to be a Padawan and begins her own training. Meanwhile, her best friend Krix tries to survive on a Nihil ship, fighting their way through a Republic blockade, as he wonders who the mysterious person who rescued him truly is.”

May 5 – War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha 1

One of our most highly anticipated projects of the month sees the start of Marvel Comics’ War of the Bounty Hunters series. This new crossover will begin with a prelude to the series written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Steve McNiven. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE STAR WARS COMIC EVENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! The notorious bounty hunter BOBA FETT has finally landed his greatest prize – HAN SOLO, frozen in carbonite for easy transport. Fett will bring the smuggler to TATOOINE to collect the massive bounty placed on Solo’s head by the fearsome crime lord JABBA THE HUTT. Sounds easy. What could go wrong?”

May 7 – Episode 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Akin to the release schedule of The Mandalorian’s first season, we are due to get two episodes of The Bad Batch series released in the first week!

May 12 – Star Wars 13

War of the Bounty Hunters continues in the 13th issue of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “PRELUDE TO WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: “THE HUNT FOR HAN” CHEWBACCA has heard from an old friend with intelligence on the location of notorious bounty hunter BOBA FETT, known to be in possession of HAN SOLO.

Along with LUKE SKYWALKER, the loyal Wookiee sets off in search of his lost friend, on an adventure to Nar Shadaa… [sic] the SMUGGLER’S MOON! But will this mission prevent plucky astromech droid ARTOO DETOO from passing along a crucial message to Luke, one that will affect the fate of the entire Jedi Order…?”

May 12 – The High Republic 5

Cavan Scott’s The High Republic series for Marvel Comics continues in this month’s fifth issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “ATTACK OF THE HUTTS! The HIGH REPUBLIC JEDI clash with HUTT forces. GAMORREANS! NIKTO! BATTLE RANCORS! STARLIGHT BEACON over-run by a creeping alien horror! Can VERNESTRA RWOH and her Padawan IMRI CANTAROS find a way to save Starlight’s infected masses? Plus, KEEVE TRENNIS learns the terrible secret MASTER SSKEER has been carrying for so long. Can she ever trust him again?”

May 14 – Episode 3 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

The adventures of Clone Force 99 continue in episode 3.

May 18 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One

We recently debuted an exclusive first look at Titan Comics’ Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One, an incredible and insightful look into the hit Disney+ series with amazing character files, behind the scenes images, concept art, and more.  Check out our exclusive preview here before the collector’s edition releases later this month.

May 19 – Bounty Hunters 12

Ethan Sacks gets his hands on the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event with the 12th issue of his Bounty Hunters series for Marvel Comics. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “PRELUDE TO WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: “THE THREAT IN THE SHADOWS” As VALANCE and his reluctant partner DENGAR race to intercept BOBA FETT and his precious cargo, who are the deadly pursuers that are after them? A dark secret from Valance’s past connection to HAN SOLO may get him killed all these years later. But who is the mysterious leader of an assassination squad that is driving Valance into a life-and-death confrontation with his old friend?”

May 19 – Star Wars Adventures 5

Katie Cook and IDW Publishing team up for the fifth issue of the Star Wars Adventures comic series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Padme [sic] and Anakin have grand plans to have a romantic night celebrating a recent victory. But before they get a chance to get together, Anakin is Jedi-napped by a group of outlaws with their sights on a holocron in the Jedi temple! Now it’s up to Padme [sic] to use all of her cunning to infiltrate the outlaw base and rescue him.”

May 21 – Episode 4 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

The adventures of Clone Force 99 continue in episode 4.

May 25 – Star Wars: I Am a Clone Trooper

Golden Books are releasing another exciting Star Wars book for young readers this month. The publisher’s summary for I Am a Clone Trooper is as follows: “Meet the Clones from the Star Wars saga in this Little Golden Book! From Captain Rex to Commander Cody to the Bad Batch, this Little Golden Book will introduce young readers to all the Clones from the exciting Star Wars saga. Featuring stunning retro stylized illustrations, this book includes epic scenes from the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series on Disney+. It is perfect for Star Wars—and Little Golden Book—fans of all ages.”

May 26 – Doctor Aphra 10

Alyssa Wong’s incredible Doctor Aphra series continues with its 10th issue, which will be a part of the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “PRELUDE TO WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: “THE INVITATION” DOCTOR APHRA and SANA STARROS find themselves cornered by VUKORAH and the UNBROKEN CLAN! Can they pull off a daring escape–even if that means surrendering the NIHIL HYPERDRIVE? And what sets them on a collision course with one of the most deadly BOUNTY HUNTERS in the galaxy?”

May 26 – Darth Vader 12

Greg Pak and Darth Vader get in on the action in War of the Bounty Hunters with this 12th issue of the Marvel Comics series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “PRELUDE TO WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: “RESTORATION” Returned to the fold after his rebellion against the EMPEROR, DARTH VADER faces the horrors of reconstruction in the secret laboratories of CORUSCANT. As he blacks out under the knife, does he still dream of revenge against his master? Or do his thoughts drift towards his son – and the friends who make LUKE SKYWALKER so vulnerable? Don’t miss this next critical new chapter in Vader’s ongoing evolution – featuring the revelation of the first time the Dark Lord learned the name HAN SOLO!”

May 28 – Episode 5 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

The last of the Star Wars content dropping in the month of May sees the fifth episode of The Bad Batch series debut on Disney+.

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

May 4 – Episode 1 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch  

May 4 – The Mandalorian: Magnetic Fun   

May 4 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Volume 1   

May 4 – Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: The Official Collector’s Edition   

May 4 – Star Wars: Galactic Baking   

May 4 – Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1   

May 5 – The High Republic Adventures 4   

May 5 – War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha 1  

May 7 – Episode 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

May 12 – Star Wars 13   

May 12 – The High Republic 5   

May 14 – Episode 3 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

May 18 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Guide to Season One   

May 19 – Bounty Hunters 12   

May 19 – Star Wars Adventures 5   

May 21 – Episode 4  

May 25 – Star Wars: I Am a Clone Trooper   

May 26 – Doctor Aphra 10   

May 26 – Darth Vader 12   

May 28 – Episode 5 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Images courtesy of Disney+, Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, Titan Comics, Insight Editions, Golden Books, and Studio Fun International