I wasn’t sure what to expect from Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the spiritual eighth season of The Clone Wars.
It could have gone a lot of different ways, starting after the events of Revenge of the Sith or dealing with the end of the Clone Wars.
So, when it started with a Jedi in battle, you know this is pre-Vader and we’re still in the last moments of the Clone Wars.
That Jedi in question was Depa Billaba, and fans of the extended Star Wars canon will have gotten excited and known exactly what was about to happen.
Depa Billaba briefly pops up in the Prequels, and also makes a quick appearance as a hologram in the final season of The Clone Wars.
But most importantly she is the master of Kanan Jarus, Jedi from Star Wars Rebels. But during this time he’s a padawan and goes by Kaleb Dume.
How Star Wars: The Bad Batch changed Order 66
In the 2015 Kanan comic, it shows Order 66 from the perspective of Kaleb and Billaba, so when I saw them show up in episode one of The Bad Batch, I was excited to see how they were going to translate it over into the animation.
I was shocked to see that the events that happen in this episode are completely different to what happens in the Kanan comic.
For starters, in the comic Order 66 happens at night and not during the day like in The Bad Batch.
Kaleb and Billaba are sat around a fire having a really interesting chat about the Jedi’s role in the war, and how Kalab shouldn’t look at everything so black and white.
Then, just as he is beginning to question his knowledge and feelings, the Clone troopers turn on them.
It’s a much more intimate setting, delving into the relationship of the two characters and their Clone squad.
There are similarities, like Billaba defending Dume and holding off the troopers until he gets away.
But I’m confused as to why they changed this section of canon at all, considering it would have been pretty easy to link the events that had already been shown in the comic to the Bad Batch themselves.
Not only that, but I think it is actually better in the comic and linking the Bad Batch to that would have only enhanced it. Instead, they decided to more or less change it all to center around the misfit clone team.
Another smaller detail that the show changed was the colour of Depa Billaba’s lightsaber. In the comic it’s green and in the show it’s blue.
Not the biggest or most important change, but I’d be interested to know why they did change it.
Lucasfilm also changed Ahsoka’s story arc
This is not the first time Lucasfilm has changed something previously thought to be canon.
In the 2016 Ahsoka novel, the prologue shows the siege of Mandalore and Ashoka fighting with Maul.
In the book, Ahsoka holds Maul back with her lightsabers just long enough for her Clone squad to hold him in a ray shield.
In the final season of The Clone Wars, they have a more elaborate fight scene on top of a dome until Maul is captured by some of the Mandalorians taking part in the battle.
There is also some great dialogue that is lost from the novel to show. Maul tells Ahsoka that she’s not even a real Jedi, which she responds with, “It’ll be a fair fight then. You’re only half a Sith.”
It’s a shame that this was removed as it might be one of my favourite exchanges in all of Star Wars.
Again, like with Depa Billaba, Ahsoka’s lightsabers are changed here. In the novel they are her original green blades from The Clone Wars, whereas in the show she now has blue.
I don’t have an issue with this change, as the creators of the show didn’t know that they would be able to eventually finish the show (as it had been cancelled years prior) and in the end do something interesting with it.
Before she sets off to Mandalore, her former master Anakin Skywalker hands over her old lightsabers which he has modified from green to blue.
It’s a moment that adds another layer to their relationship right before it is about to end.
It could be looked at that he is caring for her, fixing up her lightsabers in the hope she would one day come back to the Jedi order, and as a sign of friendship. But it could also be seen as a small sign of the controlling nature that would soon turn him into Darth Vader.
Other changes The Bad Batch and The Clone Wars made to Star Wars Canon
The changes made in The Clone Wars I can understand. It’s only a small prologue in a book that if you want you can put down to Ahsoka misremembering the events on that day or something akin to that. Dave Filoni and team got their final season and made it the way they wanted. Understandable.
What I can’t understand is why they would change such a pivotal moment in Kanan’s life, which was personal and devastating, into a watered-down version to set up The Bad Batch.
This is especially confusing when Disney and Lucasfilm have been great at making the existing canon work for them.
In Rogue One, they brought over the character of Saw Gerrera, who had previously only appeared in The Clone Wars, as his character fit the story they were telling. (Saw even shows up in The Bad Batch!)
And in The Mandalorian, brought out a deep cut from the novels with the introduction of Cob Vanth (a character that even most of the hardcore Star Wars fans might not have heard of) because, again, it fits within what they were doing.
Are these changes the biggest or most important thing ever? No. But I am worried that this could set a precedent where Lucasfilm tinkers with more and more moments.
And usually, I don’t really care about what is and isn’t canon, but when Disney made the effort when they bought Lucasfilm to say that everything from here on in will be canon, hopefully, they continue to stick to that promise.
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