Hunter. Tech. Crosshair. Wrecker. Echo. This is experimental unit Clone Force 99, the baddest batch of clone troopers you’ll ever meet. Each member of this elite group adds their own exceptional skill to form a team unlike any other in the Republic. The Bad Batch’s missions have a 100% success rate due to their unusual tactics and precise teamwork. They don’t fight for accolades or recognition, but for the thrill of a job well done and countless lives saved.
The Bad Batch, a concept straight from George Lucas, made their debut in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars were close to an end when Captain Rex first crossed paths with the motley crew. When the battle on Anaxes took a turn for the worse, Rex couldn’t shake the feeling that the droid army might be using the intel of an old friend, Echo. Commander Cody called in Clone Force 99 to help them infiltrate the cyber center that held the secret to the Separatists’ strategy.
The unconventional squad was a well-oiled machine by the time Rex met them. With practiced strategies and uncanny timing, the Bad Batch made quick work of a battalion of droids closing in on them. The strike team made it into the cyber center with little resistance. Tech tracked the Separatists’ strategic algorithm to a live signal on Skako Minor. A garbled but familiar voice called out through the signal.
Certain now that Echo was alive, Rex led the Bad Batch and Anakin Skywalker on an unsanctioned mission to Skako Minor. Tech and Rex found Echo inside a stasis chamber, emaciated and barely recognizable. His entire body had been implanted with cybernetics to wrest control of his mind from him. They escaped with Echo safely in tow.
Although Echo was back home with the clone troopers, lingering doubts remained about his loyalties. The Bad Batch, Rex, and Anakin took Echo on a stealth mission to infiltrate the Separatist command ship to feed the droid army decoy intel. Echo sent the droids to one location to neutralize them all at once with an energy pulse, proving his allegiance to the Republic. Thanks to the work of Rex, Echo, and the Bad Batch, Anaxes was won; Echo however, came to feel more at home with the Bad Batch than the clone army, and left with the ragtag group.
A Noble Namesake
The team’s unit number is an homage to a clone named simply 99. (Viewers met him at the start of The Clone Wars Season 3 in “Clone Cadets.”) Clone 99 was considered a failure due to his malformed physical limitations. He faithfully served the Republic in maintenance and janitorial duties on Kamino instead of on the front lines.
But 99’s weak exterior belied a resilient and wise spirit on the inside. His strong sense of duty, quick-thinking, and tenacity helped save the clone facility on Kamino from a Separatist attack. 99 gave his life in its defense, proud to have served as a soldier alongside his brothers.
Meet Clone Force 99
They call themselves the Bad Batch.
The leader of the group, Hunter always keeps his cool under pressure. (Maybe it’s the stylish red headband.) The sergeant’s weapon of choice is an vibro-knife, and he wields it with precision. Hunter was engineered with heightened senses, making him an expert tracker. Not even droids can remain hidden from him. He can even find specific locations from anywhere on a planet by sensing electromagnetic frequencies.
“Maps can be wrong,” said Tech. “Hunter never is.”
The talkative techie is, as you might have guessed, the team’s computer whiz. Genetic manipulation granted him a gift with science and technology. Whether he’s sifting through data, opening a locked door, or translating an unknown alien language on the fly, Tech is the best support you can have on your side. Linguistics is part of his field expertise; Tech is a quick thinker and even faster talker.
“He can fill your head with useless info for hours,” Hunter said about the slim soldier.
On the other end of the social spectrum sits Crosshair. “He’s not much of a conversationalist,” Hunter said of the team’s pragmatic sharpshooter, “but when you have to hit a precise target from ten klicks, Crosshair’s your man.”
While Crosshair often challenges authority, it’s almost always because he has his team’s well-being in mind. He’s fond of chomping on a toothpick and saving the day with a flawlessly timed shot.
Large, loud, and super-strong, Wrecker is the team’s muscle. He seems to generally enjoy his work, especially when explosions are involved. “Boom!” is his enthusiastic catchphrase. He’s quick-tempered and practically fearless, except when it comes to heights.
“I got a problem with gravity,” Wrecker admitted ruefully.
The newest member of the team, Corporal Echo is a former ARC trooper. He was a prisoner of the Separatists for a time, cybernetically modified and forced to use his inside intel against the Republic to predict their tactics. He’s now half-droid, half-clone. Echo and Tech make perfect partners, combining their technical savvy and special skills to infiltrate any network or system.
While it was a difficult decision to part ways with his longtime friend Rex, after everything he’d been through, Echo felt his new place was with the Bad Batch.
A New Adventure
As the Republic transforms into the Galactic Empire, the Bad Batch must decide what their place will be in the new order. Will they join their brothers in the stormtrooper ranks? Or will they find their place in the galaxy somewhere out of the Empire’s reach?
Kelly Knox writes features and DIYs for StarWars.com. Her writing can also be seen on Marvel, DC Comics, IGN, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, games, and crafts.
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