The Bad Batch season 3 is further proof that animated Star Wars is essential viewing

Star Wars: The Bad Batch
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The Bad Batch is back. This season will wrap up the Star Wars show, and, from the four episodes released so far, it's clear that this is a crucial installment in the galaxy far, far away. 

We catch up with Omega in Imperial captivity in the opening episodes, and in episode 3 we get a truly chilling hint at her importance to the Empire. It turns out Nala Se has been protecting Omega all along, sabotaging the testing of the young clone's blood samples to ensure that the truth – that Omega is a perfect candidate for Project Necromancer – cannot be discovered by Dr. Hemlock. 

But what is Project Necromancer, exactly? Well, it was first mentioned in The Mandalorian season 3, and all signs point to it being the Emperor's resurrection plan: AKA, how Palpatine could survive his 'death' in Return of the Jedi and show up again in The Rise of Skywalker. It's also what the Empire seems to want with baby Grogu, too.

The return of Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker was absolutely seismic – and it was a plot twist that was never fully explained in the movies themselves. While The Mandalorian has begun to slowly but surely shade in those blanks, it looks like The Bad Batch is going to give us the most important pieces of the puzzle yet. 

In doing so, The Bad Batch is also proving that animated Star Wars is essential to the saga – something that has been becoming clearer and clearer in the last few years. 

Every corner of the galaxy 

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The boundary between animated and live-action Star Wars has been steadily blurring since The Mandalorian began introducing the likes of Ahsoka Tano, Bo-Katan Kryze, and Cad Bane to live-action. It wasn't until the Ahsoka show, though, that knowing your Clone Wars and Rebels became truly invaluable. Of course, the series provided enough context for everyone to be able to enjoy watching, regardless of how many hours they'd spent binge-watching the animated shows. But it's undeniable that, if you were already familiar with the likes of Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren, you'd get more out of Ahsoka. Plus, with Ahsoka season 2 already confirmed and Dave Filoni's movie in the pipeline, it's obvious that these characters are here to stay. 

Fascinating concepts like Loth-wolves (which have a special connection with the Force), the World Between Worlds, and the mysterious Mortis, a mystical realm inhabited by Force gods, all have their origins in animation too – and they're also beginning to creep into the live-action sphere of Star Wars, with the World Between Worlds a hefty focus of Ahsoka episode 5, and the Mortis gods teased in the Ahsoka finale

Then there's the fact that, if you skip the animated shows, you're missing out on some of Star Wars's best stories. Darth Maul's return from apparent-death, feud with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and tragic end on Tatooine is something you'll only get to experience in animated form – and the same goes for the life of fallen Jedi Kanan Jarrus, or even what happened to Yaddle, a background character in The Phantom Menace given a heartbreaking episode of Tales of the Jedi (and voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard). 

Of course, The Clone Wars is a whopping seven seasons long, and Star Wars also exists in the form of comics, video games, and books. Trying to watch, read, or play every item in the galaxy far, far away is near-impossible. 

But, as The Bad Batch's exploration of Project Necromancer shows, the animated side of Star Wars is increasingly being given as much weight as the live-action movies and series. That's for the best, too – there's no reason animation as an art form should be relegated to 'second tier' storytelling, or be the preserve of die hard fans only. Giving the animations their time in the spotlight can only lead to a richer, fuller galaxy. 

So, while we'll probably eventually be given an abridged version of the Project Necromancer tale in a future, live-action project, the full story is likely to be found only in The Bad Batch season 3 – which makes it essential Star Wars viewing. 

Keep up to date with all the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows with our guide through the link. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.