The voice actor digs into Omega’s evolution from Season 1 and becoming a part of the Star Wars family.
Spoiler warning: This article contains plot details from Season 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
Omega is growing up before our eyes. As Season 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch nears its end, the newest member of Clone Force 99 has become a formidable member of the squad just like her clone brothers. She’s learned to follow orders like a good soldier. And although she’s still a child, she’s not quite as wide-eyed as when she first left Kamino in Season 1.
Behind the scenes, voice actor Michelle Ang has grown close with her co-star, Dee Bradley Baker, who voices the rest of Clone Force 99, and the crew. “I don't know if in other industries you get that same kind of camaraderie,” Ang tells StarWars.com. Often recording from her bedroom studio in New Zealand during the height of the COVID pandemic, Ang notes it was rare for the team to be together in the same time zone, let alone the same physical studio. But when they came together for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last year, Ang’s first major convention, Baker in particular helped her navigate the sometimes-overwhelming experience.
“Having a voice actor colleague like Dee Bradley Baker who's just been doing it for so long has been such a blessing,” she says. An ardent supporter since the beginning of their collaboration on the show, Baker came in clutch at the four-day fan event. “He was really monumental because I was feeling quite overwhelmed. I'd never done a convention before and I'm very new to the Star Wars family. I was just nervous about how engage with everyone. You know, I really wanted to make sure that everyone who took the time to come to Celebration or line up to meet me got what they needed out of it.”
The convention veteran gave Ang tips about taking care of herself to avoid exhaustion, and simple but easily-overlooked advice about planning bathroom breaks and remembering to eat and hydrate throughout the day. “I mean, that sounds obvious, but I don't know if I would have navigated that experience and been able to give as much of myself if I hadn't been prepped by Dee that these are ways that you can look after your time and your energy. It was good to just have that gentle parental scaffolding,” she adds with a laugh.
Omega the soldier
“Season 1 was primarily [about] Hunter. Hunter was the first person to connect with Omega. And then Wrecker with his childlike antics was an obvious connection point,” Ang says. “What I really relished about Season 2 was…I think it's been so wonderful that we see who Echo becomes and who Tech becomes when Omega interacts with them. And I had a lot of fun and leaning into those other relationships with those brothers.” That even includes Crosshair, who’s been absent from the Batch and aligned with the Empire since early in Season 1. “In any family, in any friend group, different role models give you different strengths and different viewpoints. All of them are valuable. And I think Omega has been lucky to benefit from how varied her brothers are, what strengths each of them brings… to become as well-equipped emotionally and physically as she is to be a soldier in this world.”
And Ang believes Omega owes much of her strength and maturity to the writing. “That's the foundation: the scripts. The writers very much took into account the psychological state of an older Omega when they came to writing her lines,” she notes. “On a physical level, it just means I don't have to augment my voice as much. I don't have to pitch her up as much. In some ways, it's almost harder because it's closer to my natural voice than Season 1 Omega.”
Under the guidance of director Brad Rau, this season Ang explored growing into “what we would call the ‘Good Soldier Omega,’” with more clipped phrasing indicative of a regimented trooper. “At this point, she's so well trained and so confident in her place in the Batch that she has this quite clipped, direct way of speaking,” Ang says before slipping into Omega for a moment. “‘Copy that.’ The wonder, the excessiveness of expression in some ways has fallen to the wayside and she's a lot more focused on the mission of being a good soldier, doing the technical stuff properly. She really gets her enjoyment out of that.”
Choose your destiny
Ang continues to draw from her own life experiences in the recording booth, including using her own son as inspiration. In “The Crossing,” Omega grows somewhat exasperated with her clone brothers’ caution as they mine for ipsium on Ipsidon. “I remember distinctly when we were recording that my son was five and going through this really audacious [phase], like, ‘Mom! I don't need you. I've got this.’” Ang recalls. “I drew upon that in terms of this slightly petulant, slightly overconfident, but very competent young person being like, ‘I can do this. Trust me!’ My son has probably been quite a big touchstone for the newfound confidence Omega has in some of these technical skills.”
Ang and her son have started a tradition of sitting down to watch the new episodes each week. “It's quite exciting because my son has just finally gotten to an age where I feel like he can understand and not be too scared and enjoy watching them with me,” Ang says. “It’s so cute. He'll be like, ‘Mom, it's Wednesday so you’ve gotta watch the next one for your work!’”
With the two-episode season finale arriving next week, we’ll all be tuning in to find out what happens next. Although she’s mum on any spoilers, Ang says the whole season can be summed up in one word: Choice.
As the Empire has dug its claws into the galaxy, and the Batch has cut ties with Cid and found a refuge on Pabu, the changing landscape and lack of duty to the Republic has forced the clone soldiers to reassess their place. “Obviously having Omega in the Batch galvanizes [Hunter] to think about other options. And Omega's coming at it from meeting all these people like Phee and Gungi and realizing that everyone's experiences in the greater universe is at the mercy of something. There is a choice and there's a real spectrum of how you want to place yourself in the existence of the universe….Knowing what I know about how Season 2 wraps up, I think everything ties up quite nicely.”