The actor who portrays Omega tells StarWars.com about her character’s emotional journey in the heartbreaking two-episode finale.
Plan 99 has been executed, and with it, Omega’s world shattered. But just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse for Clone Force 99…the Empire arrived on Ord Mantell.
As Season 2 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch came to a poignant end this week, the team was torn apart, with Omega — the emotional center of the squad — trapped at the epicenter of the chaos and kidnapped by Imperial scientists. Behind the scenes, Michelle Ang says the harrowing finale is her favorite episode of the season, a rollercoaster that challenged Omega and the actor behind her, and introduced Ang to two new colleagues — Jimmi Simpson as the nefarious Dr. Royce Hemlock and fellow New Zealander Keisha Castle-Hughes as the mysterious Dr. Emerie Karr. “It's so gut-wrenching,” Ang tells StarWars.com. “I love the fun missions, don't get me wrong. But the emotional ones are always the ones that I like to watch best. And also, the ones that I love recording the most."
Recently, Ang sat down with StarWars.com to discuss her character’s journey in the series so far, and finding the right balance between Omega’s grief and surviving Tech’s haunting sacrifice.
“I was really shocked”
Ang had no idea what was on the horizon when she first picked up the scripts for “The Summit” and “Plan 99,” the two-part Season 2 finale.
“I normally get the scripts about a week before the recording session, which is really plenty to read and internalize what's going on,” Ang says. “But I had no idea — not even an inkling! — that we were going to lose one of the Batch. And definitely not Tech! If anything, it felt like they were building Tech up to be the new primary relationship. So, I was genuinely devastated. It felt a little bit like it was a prank or something. I was really shocked.”
But by the time Ang got back to the recording booth for the session, it wasn’t much of a stretch for the actor to access emotional space to portray Omega’s devastation. “It was pretty easy to get there just because of the way that the story had been shaped.”
After Tech saves the lives of Omega and his brothers, the episode continues, giving fans and the characters some time to explore their grief “and the momentousness of reconfiguring who we were as a team,” Ang says. “That's kinda mean isn't it? But I feel like that's what sort of makes it more heartfelt in a way because of this whole ethos behind who the Batch are and what they stand for. They're not going to let that sentimentality have them deviate from what they view as their purpose, you know? And I think that's sort of the bittersweetness of it. If everything had crumbled at that moment, that would've almost been less sad for some reason. But the fact that they still have so many other things coming at them that they have to keep going is what makes it that much more sad and painful and sweet.”
The crew of Mount Tantiss
When we last see her, Omega has been kidnapped and taken to Wayland, a bargaining chip to force Nala Se to cooperate with Dr. Hemlock and the other Imperial scientists.
Although Ang and Simpson performed in different studios, she was able to watch from afar as Simpson, a fellow onscreen actor, got into the role. “It was very interesting because his process of getting into an emotional place that felt very real — I recognize that he and I work in a similar way. I think [most] voice actors have a different accessibility to their emotional truth. Someone like Dee [Bradley Baker, who plays most of Clone Force 99,] can just turn it on and be very grounded,” Ang says. “It's interesting because as an onscreen actor, you're used to being able to control your physicality. As a voice actor all you have is your voice. So, I could see Jimmi really pushing himself and the boundaries. It was really beautiful to listen and watch him work through what personified a villain and his creative desire to really make that unique and distinct was delicious.”
And Omega isn’t alone. In the final moments of the finale, we see her reuniting with her fallen brother Crosshair, and meeting Dr. Karr, played by Castle-Hughes. Once again, Ang was just as surprised as the rest of the fans the first time she learned Karr’s true identity.
“I had no idea!” Ang says. “Brad was sort of tip toeing around what this character would end up being. And then I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, she's my sister! She's a clone, too.’” At the time, Ang didn’t know about Castle-Hughes’ casting, and she wondered what actor directors would get to echo her distinctive New Zealand accent. But Castle-Hughes is now an obvious choice. “Classic and also amazing because she's a household New Zealand name. There was this sort of cultural immediacy that we both shared, which meant that we could just click straight away and fall into this relationship quite easily. It was just really awesome to hear her embody this character that is so different from both herself and from Omega.”
No matter what the future may hold, the Omega we see at the end of Season 2 is far different than the one we met when the series began, a survivor able to weather the storm. “I remember talking to Jen [Corbett, head writer and executive producer,] about it,” Ang says. “They've done a beautiful job because it would've been devastating for young Omega to have formed this relationship [with Tech] and then lose it so quickly. But because in Season 2 she's that much more secure and emotionally strong and stable and seen so much, she's at an age where the understanding of what's happened, but having the resilience to continue, is actually possible for her. We could go there.”