REVIEW: ‘The Bad Batch’ Becomes Essential Star Wars in Its Season 3 Premiere

Emperor Palpatine in a scene from “STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH”, season 3 exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

The third and final season of The Bad Batch came out of the gates fully armed and operational. The three-part season premiere serves as both a fulfilling follow-up to Season 2’s heavy two-part finale and a massive exposition dump in which the animated series transitions from seemingly superfluous to entirely essential Star Wars. By the time the credits roll on Episode 3, “Shadows of Tantiss”, The Bad Batch’s place in the larger narrative of the Star Wars universe becomes clear and it becomes the loom through which narrative threads from the Fall of the Jedi era stories will be woven together into the existing storytelling fabric of both The New Republic and Rise of the First Order eras.

Written by head writer Jennifer Corbett (Episode 1, “Confined”, and Bad Batch aficionado Matt Michnovetz (Episode 2, “Paths Unknown”, and Episode 3, “Shadows of Tantiss”) the big Season 3 rollout sheds a significant amount of light on what’s happening inside Tantiss Base on Weyland. Following the destruction of Kamino, Mount Tantiss is now THE home of the Imperial cloning program where Dr. Royce Hemlock, Chief Scientist of the Advanced Science Division, carries out his work by any means necessary. And as expected/predicted, that work is revealed to be on one of the Empire’s most vital undertakings, Project Necromancer. Of course, Tantiss Base is also where two members of The Bad Batch, Omega and Crosshair, are being kept prisoner by the Empire, each for a different reason.

Doctor Royce Hemlock in a scene from “STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH”, season 3 exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

First mentioned in Chapter 22 of The Mandalorian, “The Spies”, Project Necromancer fell under the purview of Commandant Brendol Hux as revealed by Captain Gilad Pellaeon during a meeting with the Imperial remnant Deep State known as the Shadow Council. While the full extent of Project Necromancer’s work is still kept secret, Sleepy Sheev Palpatine’s visit to Mount Tantiss and his exuberance for the work (the goal of which is to produce a specimen with an equal or greater M-Count than the original specimen) all but confirms it is the program that produces clones of the Emperor as seen in Star Wars: Episode IX-The Rise of Skywalker. As expected, the importance of Omega’s unaltered genetic code takes on renewed importance as it’s revealed that her blood is the only sample so far capable of supporting a full M-Count transfer. That “revelation” establishes ties between Omega and Grogu and also between The Mandalorian’s Doctor Pershing and The Bad Batch’s Advanced Science Division.

Omega’s persistence in rehabilitating Crosshair during her unwanted visits ultimately pays off as the series’ new odd couple work together to escape Weyland. On the run and destined for a reunion with Hunter and Wrecker (who spent Episode 2 discovering more of the Empire’s terrible bio-weapons and their disregard for the lives of clones), Omega and Crosshair have enough knowledge of Hemlock’s plan to pose a major threat to Project Necromancer; however, the emergence of Omega as the key to extending Sleepy Sheev’s lifespan affords her a measure of protection that will make it that much harder to bring her in. Ultimately, the three-part premiere flips the script on Hemlock from the two-part Season 2 finale. It’s now Hemlock and the Empire who stand to lose everything while the remaining members of Clone Force 99 are about to come together to try to stop them. Season 3 is off to a fantastic start and even though its headed to a (mostly) known outcome, it’s doing so in style!

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