The Bad Batch “Tribe” and Clone Wars Tales Told and Untold

This week’s episode of The Bad Batch Season Two, “Tribe,” has deep roots in several stories from across the seasons of The Clone Wars. It also provided the opportunity to resurface several ideas originated by George Lucas and bring them from notes and sketchbooks to the screen.

The most obvious connection is the appearance of Gungi, a young Wookiee Jedi survivor of Order 66. He first appeared in the second arc of Season Five of The Clone Wars, informally known as the Younglings Arc. In that story, Ahsoka Tano shepherds a group of Jedi younglings to Ilum, where they seek their individual crystals for their lightsabers before completing the final task of assembly. Along the way, they encounter physical and psychological challenges on Ilum, as well as a brief kidnapping by the pirate Hondo Ohnaka. Although the fate of this arc’s other younglings during Order 66 remains unknown, we know now that at least one of them survived. And after saving Caleb Dume in Season One, Clone Force 99 is now one degree of separation from Ahsoka Tano, as well.

More subtle are the connections to the Season Three finale duology of The Clone Wars, “Padawan Lost” and “Wookiee Hunt,” both directed by Dave Filoni. In those episodes, Ahsoka and several other Padawans are marooned on a moon and must survive and escape. The story highlights the longstanding and nasty rivalry between Trandoshans and Wookiees, which pays off in a major battle sequence in the second episode. In “Tribe,” we see that Trandoshan mercenaries and hunters have aligned with the new Empire, and are more than willing to set the Kashyyyk forest ablaze to pursue their aims.

Art by Dave Filoni from The Clone Wars Season Six Writer’s Conference

Clone Force 99, of course, originated in story planning for The Clone Wars. George Lucas and his writer’s room for Season Six generated two four-episode story arcs for the characters. When the series was cancelled after Season Five, the first arc had progressed to animatic story reels and preliminary voice recording. Those story reels were later screened at Celebration Anaheim 2015 and published on for some time afterward. Subsequently this arc was revised, animated anew, and re-recorded as part of the Season Seven episodes released on Disney+ in early 2020.

The other story arc had not reached as far in the development process when The Clone Wars ended, but Dave Filoni shared some insight about it on a panel at Celebration Anaheim 2015, as well. Inspired by Yoda’s line of dialogue in Revenge of the Sith about his “good relations with the Wookiees,” the story involved Yoda and clonetroopers under his command assisting the Wookiees in defending Kashyyyk from a Trandoshan attack, foreshadowing the bigger Separatist invasion to come in Episode III. Although “Tribe” is a single episode rather than four, it draws heavily upon ideas for this arc generated during The Clone Wars creative process. These include the dangerous spider-mantis predators called kinrath (first appearing in the Expanded Universe), Wookiees riding simian mounts into battle, and a Wookiee leader (originally Tarfful from Episode III) communing with the wroshyr trees to seek permission before doing battle that would cause collateral damage to the forest. Each of these ideas has been carried forward into “Tribe,” with Gungi providing the link between Clone Force 99, the Jedi, and the spirituality and communality of the Wookiees.

Art by Dave Filoni from The Clone Wars Season Six Writer’s Conference

As Season Two of The Bad Batch continues, still telling stories in the proximate aftermath of the end of the war and the rise of the Empire, we can expect more connections to The Clone Wars in episodes to come – and perhaps links to unused ideas from Dave Filoni, The Clone Wars,or other George Lucas projects, as well.

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B.J. Priester has been a Star Wars fan since he played with the original Kenner action figures as a young boy. His fandom passion returned after watching Attack of the Clones in 2002 and reading the entire New Jedi Order series in 2003. He voraciously caught up on the novels and comics in the Expanded Universe in addition to writing fanfiction, frequently co-authoring with Tricia. B.J. has served as editor of FANgirl Blog from its inception, as well as contributing reviews and posts on a range of topics. He edited Tricia’s novel Wynde, and is collaborating with her on several future projects set in that original universe. Currently a tenured law professor in Florida, B.J. has been a practicing lawyer in Washington, D.C., a law clerk to a federal appeals court judge, and a law journal editor-in-chief. He is also a proud geek dad whose son who is a big fan of Star Wars and The Clone Wars.

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