Star Wars: The Bad Batch premiered this May 4th and the super-sized opening episode went down a treat with fans… except for one thing about it. The pilot revisited the events of Order 66 from the perspective of Clone Force 99, who it’s revealed were with Jedi Master Depa Billaba and her Padawan Caleb Dume at the time. While it was great to see Caleb – better known as Kanan Jarrus from Rebels – again, this crossover actually caused some major problems with SW canon.
The thing is that Billaba’s death and Caleb’s escape from Order 66 were already depicted in the Kanan comic book series. Virtually every detail is different, too, as in the comics, the clones’ attack happened near a campfire at night while in the show, it occurs in a clearing in the snow during the day. Billaba’s lightsaber is now blue instead of green as well, and she refuses to kill the clones instead of protecting herself. Obviously, though, the most significant change is that the Bad Batch are present during the event.
It’s a big deal to throw out the established canon to such an extent, then, and EP Jennifer Corbett has now stressed in an interview with Fandom that she and the other producers spent a lot of time on this particular sequence and the changes were not made lightly.
“I can tell you that that particular sequence we spent the most time on in the pilot, from writing to production to editing to reshooting, because a lot of talk went into how we wanted to portray that pivotal moment with Dave Filoni and with Brad…”
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Corbett went on to explain that she and the Bad Batch team ultimately decided to keep the spirit of the Kanan comic book rather than slavishly recreate it on screen, saying:
“Everything we did was for a reason and it might not match 100% but it’s sort of just wanting to honor what existed but also give another take on it in this story.”
Of course, creators must have the freedom to tell their own stories within the Star Wars universe, but it has to be said that these changes have angered the fandom. When Disney rebooted the canon, wiping away the former EU, it was promised that every new piece of tie-in media would be part of the same continuity. However, instances of blatant retconning like this one give the impression that what is and what’s not canon is changing all the time.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch continues Friday on Disney Plus.