If you've just finished catching up on Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2, it's only natural to have some questions about the show. Perhaps the biggest question that needs answering is whether Star Wars: The Bad Batch is canon.
In other words, does it have an official place in the faraway galaxy, alongside the likes of all the movies and The Mandalorian?
It might be self-explanatory, but sometimes new material requires further analysis, largely because it's difficult for some fans to accept that an animated show belongs in a universe that was first established in live-action.
Is Star Wars: The Bad Batch Canon?
Star Wars: The Bad Batch has been approved as canon from the get-go.
Being animated is immaterial – it's nothing more than a storytelling medium.
In the case of The Bad Batch, the doubt around its canonicity has actually emerged from the fact that the show ‘retcons' some elements from other well-established canons, largely in the films and graphic novels.
But first, let's take a quick look at what happened throughout the first season.
What Happened In Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 1?
Clone Force 99 discovers that the Empire had ordered the clones to kill all Jed.
Hunter, Echo, Tech, and Wrecker go on the run, taking with them young clone Omega, whom we later learn is an exact copy of the original clone Jango Fett, making her hot property to the Kaminoans.
As the team makes their way across the galaxy, taking on missions as they go, fellow squad member Crosshair, under the influence of his chip, and the Empire, are hot in pursuit.
Meanwhile, the Empire starts phasing out clones, replacing them with human volunteers.
After being baited, the Bad Batch ends up back on Kamino, and with no further interest in cloning new troopers, the Empire destroys the facility with the heroes inside.
Fortunately, the team – including Crosshair – survive – but it's revealed that Kaminoan Nala Se will begin 'new work' for the Empire.
How Is The Bad Batch Canon?
As you can see, from a narrative and chronological perspective, The Bad Batch fits perfectly into the canon, depicting the events that follow directly from The Clone Wars - to which the show is a sequel or spin-off.
It even utilizes several characters from The Clone Wars, including the Bad Batch themselves, sisters Trace and Rafa, Cut Lawquane, Captain Rex, and Cad Bane.
And it's not just The Clone Wars it acknowledges -The Bad Batch tethers itself to lots of long-established canon stories. But here are some of the ways it appears to retcon those stories.
In serving as a follow-on to The Clone Wars, the show is automatically associated with the prequel trilogy too.
Hera Syndulla is obviously much younger when we meet her on Ryloth in The Bad Batch, and her character is consistent with her older and highly experienced rebel and pilot-counterpart in Star Wars: Rebels.
So is her erratic yet reliable Astromech droid Chopper. Except for one thing.
Many fans were left scratching their heads after hearing Hera's Twi'lek accent in the new animated series (which is actually a French accent), whereas in Rebels, Hera has an American accent.
With that said, it is of course possible for one to change their accent over a number of years. So, while jarring at the time and at first glance a glaring inconsistency, this is no retcon.
In fact, devoted fans have noted that Rebels does hint at Hera's former Twi'lek accent.
During a heated argument with her father, Hera momentarily slips back to the Twi'lek French-like accent. This confirms that Hera used to have this accent in her youth but lost it after leaving her family and home planet.
Caleb Dume (aka Kanan Jarrus)
Speaking of Rebels, this one is something fans are still questioning, even several weeks after the pilot - and rightly so.
In The Bad Batch, the young Force-wielder witnesses the death of his Jedi Master during Order 66, before Hunter protects the fleeing Padawan, telling the other clone troopers he has carried out his duties and killed the boy.
In the Star Wars comic book series Kanan 1, however, this scene plays out very differently and doesn't include the Bad Batch whatsoever (who at that point, hadn't even been developed).
Oddly enough, the comic book series is also described as a ‘prequel' to Star Wars: Rebels. So which of the two origin stories for Caleb Dume is correct..?
It's fair to say the fans are right on this occasion.
After all, the comics are also canon, having been published in 2015, three years after Disney acquired Lucasfilm and declared that only pre-merger material would be non-canonical, calling it Star Wars: Legends.
Muchi the Rancor
As for The Bad Batch's relationship with the original trilogy, we meet Bib Fortuna, and possibly Jabba's pet rancor.
But it's the latter where some of the doubt has emerged.
In the Star Wars Aftermath novel trilogy (post-merger), Jabba's adult-sized male rancor is named Pateesa, whereas, in The Bad Batch, the female infant rancor Jabba acquires is named Muchi.
Whether or not this is an oversight is unknown, but it's possible that it isn't even the same rancor.
So then why include such an easter egg in the first place? Why tease fans with the inclusion of Bib Fortuna, who has come to collect the rancor for Jabba The Hutt, when it isn't even the same one from Return of the Jedi?
Well, maybe The Bad Batch is simply revealing that Jabba has a thing for rancors, just as he does for Twi'lek dancers.
Meanwhile, and speaking of Jabba, we also get to see Fennec Shand from The Mandalorian (is the fact that she's destined to sit on the arm of Jabba's throne drinking blue milk a tedious link?), further solidifying The Bad Batch as canon.
There are other potential inconsistencies in the show too, such as Order 66 and how the chip affects the clones, as well as some tweaking to Saw Gerrera's backstory.
Either way, Star Wars on television is getting a lot of attention – which is more than we can say about the sequel trilogy, which fans are still hoping Disney will retcon. The same goes for Jar Jar.
It's likely, though, that even outside of The Bad Batch Season 2, the show may be referenced in other upcoming canons.
But once characters from the show start popping up in live-action, fans will likely forget about these retcons. With that said, we're certain that Omega will be one of the characters in The Book of Boba Fett.
So, what upcoming material will we need to scour for more retcons? Well, there's Ahsoka, for one, which introduces the possibility of traveling to a new Galaxy.
There's also a new movie from Taika Waititi in the works.
As for the anime anthology series Star Wars: Visions, this has been confirmed to be non-canonical, with each of the nine short films being completely isolated from one another and from the larger Star Wars universe.
To refamiliarize yourself with all things canon, though - and even non-canon, for that matter, in the form of some vintage animated shows and Ewok movies - stream all things Star Wars on Disney+.
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