Minor spoilers for the first episode of The bad lot forward.
Years ago I asked this question on Facebook after watching the first episode of Rebels: Can you do a Star Wars story without a Jedi? I was annoyed when a show that was supposed to be about the Rebel Alliance ended up putting on a Jedi character, making him the master of our new Force-sensitive main character, Ezra Bridger. I got a range of responses that said, “No, the Jedi are an integral part of the franchise, it’s not Star Wars without Jedi.” However, over the years we have seen Thief one and Solo, and now the new animated show, The bad lot, yet another test for the premise of a Star Wars without a Jedi.
So there’s a bit of technicality here: the show begins with the instigation of Order 66, where the newly appointed Emperor Palpatine orders the Republic Clone Army to exterminate any Jedi they see. . This was originally depicted in Revenge of the Sith, but gained new gravity when the Clone Wars The cartoon made its debut as the clones were more featured and had distinct personalities. They became people instead of background props; humans who felt emotions and cared about things… including the Jedi.
This ended up being one of the strengths of the Clone Wars show, in that the cartoon fleshed out things that hardly spent any time on the big screen, like the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin. This character development plus that of the clones lent new horror to Revenge of the Sith, which hurts even more if you know the backstory. (Without it, it’s still a decidedly mediocre movie, even though I like it a lot.)
But we never saw the prospect of the clones after Order 66. They bonded with the Jedi during the Separatist War, and now their internal programming tells them to assassinate these comrades in arms. While Rebels showed us some former clone troopers, they had been “deactivated” and therefore were not affected by command. The bad lot is the story of five “faulty clones” who were in the field at the time, watched their fellow Jedi be murdered… and were then very confused afterward.
Past the initial opening circumstances, the episode is a look at the lives of Soldiers, as Clone Force 99 returns to Kamino and now must deal with the aftermath of Palpatine’s dissolution of the Republic. If you’ve ever wondered how things really turned out, here’s a pretty decent look at how much Republic turned to Empire and what ordinary citizens thought about it. But, while it does look at a pivotal point in Star Wars history, there is no Jedi to be seen after the opening sequence. So what makes it a Star Wars story?
While the Jedi are certainly a distinctive and immediately recognizable feature of the universe, and the films of the saga revolved around a Jedi family, one of the other distinguishing elements of the Star Wars universe has always been its construction. intensely detailed world. That random bounty hunter in the bar, or that haughty senate dignitary? They have names and stories. These stories have been fulfilled not only on screen, but in shows, novels, and comics.
Yes, it’s true that the reason for this level of detail was the merchandising: it’s easier to sell a figure if the character has a name. But it was built into the franchise almost from the start, so I’d say it’s just as much Star Wars DNA as it is the Jedi. There are so many interesting fantastic ideas spread across the universe, and much of the Star Wars media has focused on trying to show you as much as possible. same Bad lot dives into lore, with a few fan-favorite characters making appearances and references to some of the events featured in Clone Wars. The show even begins with the same old-fashioned newsreel voice recapping the events of the final season of Clone Wars and parts of Revenge of the Sith for us.
So far it’s probably fair to say that Bad lot is really just another season of Clone Wars, one who takes the courageous step of overtaking the Jedi and exploring other aspects of the universe. The main character of The Mandalorian May not be a Jedi, but at the end of the day, the show is still about the Jedi. By naming the show The bad lot, it looks like the focus will remain firmly on the clones. He’ll still have plenty of blasters, star hunters, and crazy aliens. And, most notably, it will tell us what was going on during the period when the Jedi were in decline. That last element is still a big part of the Star Wars universe, whether or not someone wields a lightsaber.
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