This year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim was full of exciting surprises. Among them was the first trailer for the upcoming second season of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which gave fans another glimpse into the future of Lucasfilm animation. The footage revealed quite a bit of new information regarding what’s next for the titular team of misfits, who will be sporting a new set of armor when they make their big return. Hunter and his daring cohorts will come across a variety of new species and familiar faces, which will apparently include Obi-Wan Kenobi’s former partner Commander Cody, the sinister Emperor Palpatine, and even the greatest Jedi to ever live – Gungi, the Wookie Padawan.
While most of these marquee cameos are sure to make for grand new adventures, one of them may actually signal the restoration of a rather old one. The inclusion of Gungi, and even more so the brief flash of another Wookie warrior, would indicate that a trip to Kashyyyk may play a part in the Bad Batch’s next set of missions. If this is true, it could mean that Brad Rau and the folks behind the show are planning on bringing back a previously unproduced arc from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Specifically, one devised by current Bad Batch story editor and longtime animation writer Matt Michnovetz.
The Clone Wars was canceled by Cartoon Network in 2013 after its fifth season had completed airing, as a result of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Before this, however, Dave Filoni and his team had planned on making at least eight seasons of the animated series. As a result, all three of the remaining episode batches had been mapped out and were already in some form of production at the time of the series’ abrupt end. Some of these stories found new life in other media, like the novel Dark Disciple or the limited comic Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, and some were eventually completed and included in the show’s two revivals, like The Lost Missions and The Siege of Mandalore. In fact, The Bad Batch itself was originally an incomplete animatic released to the public at Celebration in 2015, later finished for inclusion in The Clone Wars‘ final outing on Disney+ and eventually getting its own spin-off.
Unfortunately, a handful of these planned Clone Wars stories were far too early in their development process to get the same type of release treatment and remain untold to this day. One such plot was a four-episode arc that was set to take place on the aforementioned Wookie planet of Kashyyyk, and would have explained Yoda’s remark in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith about having “good relations with the Wookies.” The story would have featured the second appearance of the Bad Batch, teaming with Yoda and his squadron of clones to help the Wookies fend off an attack by the Separatist droid army and a number of Trandoshans led by the fearsome Babwa Venomor. A major sub-plot concerned the clones and Wookies coming to understand each other, with sequences involving Wookies riding giant ape lizards, the Bad Batch fighting arachnid creatures, and even General Tarfful communing with the trees of Kashyyyk before burning them down to create a tactical advantage. Chewbacca and a new Wookie character named Major Clausito were also said to have played a major role in the story.
Multiple elements from this untitled arc have found their way into later projects. The Wookie’s Force-like connection to their home planet and its flora was explored in the video game Jedi: Fallen Order, while Echo’s commitment to becoming a member of the Bad Batch, which was originally intended to occur here, was instead worked into The Bad Batch‘s first season. Major Clausito even received a canonical name drop in last year’s official reference book, Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy. Lucasfilm also has a long track record of reusing once-abandoned concepts in later projects. This has become something of a staple for other Star Wars shows like Rebels and The Mandalorian, which persistently use old concept art for new proposals and plot lines.
The point being made is that it wouldn’t be unlike Lucasfilm to bring back and canonize something that was formerly thought to be a dead idea. The Bad Batch itself only exists because of a willingness to pull from a closed sandbox, and it would only make sense if the team developing everything used the opportunity to reanimate some of the best of their unmade treatments. Of course, the Kashyyyk story could no longer exist in the same way it might have nearly a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be told with a few adjustments. Maybe Gungi takes the place of Yoda, now that the latter is in hiding on Dagobah. Perhaps the Bad Batch find themselves helping what’s left of the Wookie resistance fight off the Empire, as opposed to fending off Separatist advances as initially planned. If the history of Star Wars has been consistent with anything, it’s the Imperial assault on Kashyyyk and its inhabitants. After all, the second season trailer does have Echo mention “others out there” who need their help, and few are more qualified to give assistance to Wookies than the Bad Batch.