While Wednesday was Cinco de Mayo, many people around the world celebrated for a different reason one day earlier. 

Tuesday, May 4 is internationally recognized as Star Wars Day.

This unofficial “holiday” is rife with phrases such as, “May the Fourth be with you” and “Beware the Revenge of the Fifth/Sixth.”  The former calling back to the well-known catchphrase, “May the Force be with you” while the latter references to the title of 2005’s “Episode III:  Revenge of the Sith.”

Many people took to their personal video libraries — physical, digital, and streaming — to binge watch their own variation of a Star Wars marathon.  Some just watched the live action films in their canonical order.  Many no doubt watched everything in the galaxy including the live action films, the animated series, the digital shorts and various other media.

Many fans took to social media, posting about their progress in their respective marathons.  Hashtags like #maythefourthbewithyou and #starwarsday2021 were the more prominent throughout the day and the weekend leading up to it.

The Disney+ streaming platform got the fans really excited by launching a new animated series, “The Bad Batch,” which follows a team of elite clone troopers who refuse to follow their genetic doppelgangers in betraying and murdering the Jedi en masse.

The series picks up right at the end of the Clone Wars — an event portrayed near the end of “Episode II:  Attack of the Clones” and throughout “Star Wars:  The Clone Wars,” a long-running animated film and series depicting the conflagration in its entirety.

The one-hour first episode of this new series ties in [mostly] neatly with the finale of “Revenge of the Sith” and Season 7 of “The Clone Wars.”  The titular “batch” witness first hand their clone brethren executing Order 66, a command to kill all the Jedi.

While all they’ve ever known is war, the characters now find themselves in transition as the Empire replaces the Galactic Republic, putting them in the crosshairs of Imperial agents, anti-imperial freedom fighters, and any surviving Jedi.

What’s even more fantastic than the story is the performances by Dee Bradley Baker, the primary voice actor behind every single clone who ever appeared in this series and “The Clone Wars.”  Its pretty impressive how much character differentiation one man creates by himself.

This is nothing new for the veteran voice actor; he voiced both Daffy Duck and the Tazmanian Devil in the 1996 “Space Jam” movie as well as many animal sound effects from “Avatar:  The Last Airbender” and its sequel “The Legend of Korra.”

Additionally, “The Bad Batch” is created and produced by Dave Filoni, the mind behind the “Clone Wars” series and has worked on the first two seasons of “The Mandalorian.”  Despite some division among the fanbase regarding the sequel trilogy films, it’s clear fans appreciate Filoni’s commitment to ensuring solid work in the Star Wars canon.

Filoni’s writing and direction provide a way to explore the horrors of war while keeping the adventure suitable for a family-friendly audience of true fans and casual viewers alike.

Garrett K. Jones is a local fantasy author.  He currently has four books released in his ongoing series, and he produces a vlog on YouTube and the Creator's Corner podcast (available on Spotify, Google, & Apple).  www.archivesofthefivekingdoms.com/  IG/Twitter:  @gkj_publishing

Feel free to contact him with title suggestions of films you’d like him to review.

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