Star Wars fans have a new show to look forward to in Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and in the honor of “May The 4th Be With You”, Disney decided to drop the first hour long episode early, with another one on the way, coming this Friday!
WHAT IS THE BAD BATCH?
The show, titled, “The Bad Batch”, follows a group of defective clone troopers during the final days of the Republic and the beginning days of the Galactic Empire. Emperor Palpatine has just executed “order 66” and the clones have turned against their former Jedi allies. But one group remained exempt from that order. Clone Force 99, the “the bad batch.” Being a defective version of the clones, they were not subject to the programming of the inhibitor chip that most clones have in their heads. This puts them in an interesting spot where they are able to think freely of their own will, and will not be subjected to involuntarily serve a higher master. In short, they obey their own rules. And this became apparent in the beginning of the episode when they encountered a familiar Jedi…
Caleb Dume! Aka Kanan Jarrus!
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it should. Caleb Dume is original name of Jedi padawan that we’ve come to know as Kanan Jarrus. And his involvement in the Bad Batch not only marks one of the first big crossovers in Star Wars television, it speaks to the further implications that this show will handle. So who exactly is Kanan Jarrus?
KANAN JARRUS: A BRIEF HISTORY
Known for his prominent role in Star Wars Rebels, Kanan Jarrus– voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., was the the mentor/master to Ezra Bridger, and co-leader of the rebel “Ghost” crew alongside Hera Syndulla.
Kanan first appeared in a novel called Star Wars A New Dawn. This book depicts the early life of the ghost crew and shows how Kanan and Hera met. The book was written by John Jackson Miller and serves as a prequel, taking place six years prior to the TV show Star Wars Rebels, that debuted a month after the book was published.
Star Wars Rebels, mainly followed the character of Ezra Bridger– force user turned Jedi. But naturally with his master/mentor being Kanan Jarrus, much of Kanan’s story is included in the show. From the start Kanan is shown to be jedi in hiding, being weary of revealing his abilities for fear of being captured. At this point, the galaxy had been under the reign of Emperor Palpatines rule for 15 years, and any jedi that survived order 66 was ordered to killed or captured. Eventually through circumstance, Kanan revealed his force abilities in an act of heroism and decided to train Ezra.
Only being a padawan himself, Kanan was never fully equipped to be a master in the first place. After “order 66” happened when he was a padawan, he became more of a scoundrel/soldier, and rose up as one of the early groups of rebel insurgents alongside Ghost pilot, Hera Syndulla.
After the first season of Star Wars Rebels, a comic book was published featuring Kanan Jarrus as the main character. This comic series ran 12 issues and detailed the origins of Kanan, including how he survived “order 66.” Which is something the Bad Batch depicts as well, but in a different fashion.
As seen in the show, Kanans master Depa Bilaba, dies as a result of “order 66”, forcing Kanan to escape. And while this sentiment remains true, the comic book set the stage differently. For example, in the Bad Batch the command of “order 66” happens in the middle of battle during a fight on the planet Kaller. But in the comic, “order 66” is initiated during a random night time campfire with Kanan (Caleb Dume at the time), Depa Bilaba, and their clone commanders Grey and Styles. The turn in the comic was much more sudden and tragic and focused on the inner turmoil of clones who committed the act. So with the Bad Batch and the shift being turned towards clone force 99, the context is a little different. But like Obi-Wan says in Return of the Jedi, both could be true “from a certain point of view…”
*HEAVY SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS REBELS*
Throughout the series through the training of Ezra, Kanan reconnects with his jedi past, no longer neglecting his force abilities. And in the first season, he finally officially becomes a jedi knight after a duel with a jedi temple guard on the planet of Lothal. Going to this hidden temple, Kanan sensed darkness in Ezra so he brought him there to commune with Jedi Grandmaster Yoda to confront his destiny. There Kanan confronted his own destiny as well and became knighted under the jedi order by former Grand Inquisitor, now turned temple guard (the inquisitors were jedi temple guards turned hunters after the fall of the Republic).
Kanan proceeds to go through many more trials in the span of the entire series of Rebels. For example, when the Dark Saber comes into play, Kanan helps train Sabine Wren. Then later on when Ezra feels a calling to the planet of Malachor, Darth Maul feels a similar call, and that results in a showdown between Kanan and Maul, in which Maul blinds Kana in the process. This forces Kanan to become more in tune with the force, connecting to it on a deeper and more spiritual level. And eventually he comes into contact with a mythical beast called the Bendu. This beast helps Kanan to realize his worth and confront his inner fear, so he can properly guide Ezra in the way he needs to. Eventually by the end of the last season Kana sacrifices himself for the Ghost crew and dies a tragic but triumphant death. After his death, Kanan guides Ezra under the guise of a mythical creature called a Loth Wolf. And by the conclusion of the series it is revealed that Kanan and Hera had a child named, Jacen Syndulla.
Kanan later appears in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and imparts some wisdom along with many other jedi during Rey’s most crucial test, and says:
“In the heart of a jedi lies their strength…”
Since then that was the last we have heard of from our favorite swashbuckling jedi. At least until the Bad Batch that is. And with Freddie Prinze Jr. credited for voicing his younger self; whether it’s in the Bad Batch or something else, I’m sure that won’t be the last time we see of him…
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