Damn it’s good to be a Star Wars fan. Like many, I had the opportunity to catch the first episode of the new Dave Filoni animated series, The Bad Batch. I admit I was not really looking forward to a show about a bunch of Storm Troopers, but Filoni once again demonstrates that he isn’t just throwing things at the wall in hopes they’ll stick; there indeed is always a vision for a project and its place in the expanding Star Wars Universe.
I will get more into the elements of the premiere episode for my official review, but for now I wanted to dive into our characters. Coming in with little to no expectations, I was pleasantly surprised to see how they managed to make five clones come off unique, individual, and each with their own sense of style.
By the episode’s end I was on board with this new Star Wars group, and a big reason was because despite an episode spanning over seventy minutes it flew by because of them! They felt so familiar and the reason is because they are! Their whole dynamic mirrors great teams of other animated classics like the Ninja Turtles.
Yes, this is Ninja Turtles for Star Wars. Filoni you genius!
Hunter: Here we have our standard ‘leader’ character. Hunter fits the tropes of the leader by being the one who is dealing directly with the moral ambiguity of his surroundings, trying to do what’s best for the group, and at the same time serving as the very moral compass for those around him. In this regard he is like Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles, and Shiro from Netflix’s Voltron. Like his clone brothers (and sister?), Hunter posesses a unique ability. In his case he has heightened senses that make him a powerful asset in the field. Though they are all clones, Hunter could also be classified as, “The looks.” A position Lance from Voltron tried to nominate himself for on multiple occassions but many would agree Shiro took that as well.
His team all have polarizing personalities and ones that would likely not gravitate towards each other naturally, but because of their genetic difference and their role in the clone army, there they are. Hunter, like many leaders in prior media, feels like the level-headed glue that keeps them together and allows these personalities to mesh.
Wrecker: The ‘Muscle.’ So many teams have it! I would say Hunk filled this role on the Voltron team. Usually a jolly and “not as bright” character compared to the rest of the group. They can also often times either be the solid and quiet type or they’re the boisturous member with the least amount of trauma; comic relief has to be found somewhere! Though Michaelangelo isn’t exclusively the muscle of the turtles he is the comic relief. Mikey has two brothers caught in their feelings and another trapped in his head so there has to be at least one goofball. Wrecker takes that role here where three of his brothers serve the same roles as Raph, Leo, and Donnie.
I love Wrecker’s attitude. It’s very “No BS” and I think in his case he will be more of the comic relief version of ‘The Muscle.’ Out of all the helmets his might be my favorite?
Tech: The ‘Brain.’ What is a hero team without their man behind the computer?! You know, the team member that is able to hack into any computer, find the missing link to allow the plot to proceed, come up with the strategy, and create some great gear for the rest of the group. Usually these characters are more behind-the-scenes but I’m glad Tech, like his brothers, is hands on with the action as well. He’s the Pidge of Voltron, the Rhinox of Beast Wars, and the Donnie of the Ninja Turtles. He’s proved to be a favorite from the premiere episode as well.
Crosshairs: Every team has to have their wildcard/rebel. Crosshairs not only serves as the Raphael of this team but his relationship with Hunter through the first episode strongly mirrors the friction between Raphael and Leonardo. Both Raph and Crosshairs are the most serious of their groups with a stubborn desire to do things their way. Their rough exterior and interal storms at times make them dance the line of right and wrong. In Crosshairs’ case, he is more corrupted by the programming of Order 66, but it’s safe to assume his natural demeanor, regardless, is more stoic than his brothers.
Echo: Now, there are only four ninja turtles but to be fair, Echo isn’t one of the mutant clones! He is, as Tech calls him, a “reg.” We know he has been transformed into a droid-like clone by the events at the end of Clone Wars, and his place is more than welcome here. I think he might be a key addition to this team serving as a link between the time of the Republic and the time of the Empire; a bridge for the viewer between these two worlds. So, I suppose, he’s like our April O’Neil!
Omega: Unfortunately, technically, when it comes to the A-team trope the youngest member of the bad batch crew would technically just be, “the girl.” Yet, by the end of the premiere episode we know that she is so much more than that! Exactly what, time will tell, but our eyes are on the young mutant Omega.
If we want to keep using the Ninja Turtles reference she could be our Jennika. Yet, with the headpiece, blonde hair, and powerful consideration for the feelings of others I would also say she fits the shoes of Voltron’s princess Allura as well.