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Disney + wants ‘Star Wars’ fans to celebrate May 4th by accepting ‘the Bad Batch’ into canon

The force may not be able to be with Disney this May 4, as its flagship release, “Star Wars: The Bad Batch,” faces an uphill struggle to succeed in an action-dominated sci-fi world. live.

Originally a fan-created online party based on the famous “Star Wars” greeting “May the force be with you,” “May the Fourth” has evolved into an officially unofficial Lucasfilm Marketing launch since Disney bought the company in 2012; It has had outrageous success in rolling out toys and selling tickets to theme parks since the new movies started releasing in 2015.

But now Disney is using it to inflate its streaming empire on Disney +: it releases “Star Wars Vehicle Flythroughs” and “Star Wars Biomes,” virtual tours of fictional planets and ships; “The Simpsons” (which is owned by Disney) has a Pixar short titled “Maggie Simpson in“ The Force Awakens From Its Nap, ”which itself is a reference to an online meme; and he launches “Bad Batch”, his spin-off of Lucasfilm’s long-running animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.

Disney + is now facing the same issues other networks had with “Clone Wars” when it comes to “Bad Batch”.

Disney + had to work hard to kick off this series, the last – and perhaps futile – attempt to get the fandom at large to get into its animated Star Wars offerings.

Part of the problem is that animation has always struggled not to be seen as a “kid’s thing”. There are the hits – think of the “Simpsons”, “South Park”, “Family Guy” or “Archer” mentioned above, all of which found success by adding scorching humor to the format and subverting the children’s visuals. with naughty jokes. Sadly, for all that “The Bad Batch” is designed to appeal to the traditional “Star Wars” fandom of older white dudes, it’s still a show on Disney +… so anything remotely hot isn’t On the menu.

Worse yet, the source material for “Bad Batch” – the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” series – was originally intended as a children’s show. The series was started with a movie (also called “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) in August 2008, which featured a 14-year-old Jedi, Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein). She was the focal point of the series when it premiered on Cartoon Network in October. As the first series to center a female Jedi character, “The Clone Wars” was popular in its own sphere and for children – but as an adult show it was slow. The episodes weren’t presented in a linear order, and it required the kind of archaic knowledge of “Star Wars” lore that only a truly nerdy kid can easily absorb.

As far as “The Bad Batch” is designed to appeal to the traditional “Star Wars” fandom of older white dudes, it’s still a show on Disney +.

Netflix found out by paying the rights to broadcast the first five seasons in 2013 after the show was canceled on Cartoon Network; Lucasfilm aired a truncated version of a planned sixth season on Netflix in 2014, which made Ahsoka an older teenager and downsized her role, introducing more mature stories and giving the characters more screen time. adults-men. But that didn’t help; Eventually, the series gave way to the all-child-focused series “Star Wars: Rebels” which aired on the DisneyXD cable channel from 2014 to 2018.

Disney + now faces the same issues when it comes to “Bad Batch”.

It re-launched the adult “Clone Wars” for a seventh season finale in 2020, where it featured a fully grown-up Ahsoka, whose adventure bridged the character’s live appearance in “The Mandalorian.” The obvious hope of the seventh season was that by linking the animated series to a more popular live-action series, the latter’s popularity might carry over to the first; he hasn’t done it yet. Disney + is also trying to tap into the original now adult fans of the first ‘Clone Wars’ series with a named live-action series for Ahsoka starring Rosario Dawson.

“The Bad Batch” attempts to solve many of the problems of its predecessors: the animation still reminds of an animated video game scene between games, but it is more modern than the first seasons of “Clone Wars”. Fortunately, the story is linear. And while the series does not yet have an obvious connection to “The Mandalorian” or the upcoming series “The Book of Boba Fett”, it is assumed that it will be by the end of the season.

The series (which kicks off with a feature film) is based on a small squadron of slightly flawed clones whose imperfections have been used to improve their combat skills, and begins just as Emperor Palpatine takes control of the galaxy in committing genocide against the Jedi. Since their imperfections prevent the Lot from receiving orders via the implanted Hive Spirit, they are confused when they see Jedi Generals being executed by their fellow Clones and suddenly find that they are working for an Empire instead of a republic. They quickly begin to rebel, and by the end of the first episode most of them have gone on the run after a shootout against their own.

“The Bad Batch” is not bad, in the same way that “The Clone Wars” was not bad. But so far, the two have failed to capture the larger imagination of adults. And while die-hard “Star Wars” fans almost certainly tune in to Disney + en masse for a day of house party this May 4, Disney + probably won’t feel the power of the Force shine on “Bad Batch” in any way. as a result.

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