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The Clone Wars were a turning point.
I’m talking about both within the Star Wars Universe and without. Out of universe, The Clone Wars proved that long-form Star Wars media didn’t have to suck OR be overly kid-friendly. While it was made with children in mind, they weren’t the primary demographic.
The program used consistently tight writing and arc-long stories to deliver an emotional roller coaster. It also introduced (and in some cases reintroduced) many characters to the franchise that are treasured parts today. In a very real way, The Clone Wars is the lynchpin of the modern franchise. Its effects can be seen in all of the animated AND live-action programs.
The reason for that is the same reason the Clone Wars were so important In-Universe: the Clones.
The titular clones are a massive part of the franchise. The clones appear in one form or another in every modern franchise entry outside contemporary films. Even if they don’t appear, someone with their face does. On the rare occasion that no one looks like them, the military institutions and tactics that started with them survive long past their extinction.
Every clone is a genetic copy of the Bounty Hunter, Jango Fett. They’re all force-grown to maturity and programmed with a lifetime of training. (Also, some pretty nasty implants and subroutines, as the Jedi found out the hard way.) However, that doesn’t make them all identical, and a big theme of The Clone Wars was the nature of individuality. Although all the clones start similarly, they all develop differently. Their personalities change and evolve, and some change their appearance to match.
That’s never clearer than when we finally meet the Bad Batch at the beginning of Season 7. Each of them are clones that have been genetically modified to give them enhanced abilities. They all have markedly different appearances and personalities from what we’ve seen in the series before. There’s Hunter, the leader, and tracker. Tech, whose name adequately states his role in the group. Crosshair, who functions as the group’s sharpshooter.
Then, there’s Wrecker, whose name describes him even better than Tech’s name does.
Together, they make up Task Force 99, although they prefer to be called “the Bad Batch.”
Season 3 of the Bad Batch is on the Horizon, so I wanted to put together a guide about the biggest member of the team. I will talk more about the older episodes because I want to be as light on spoilers as possible for the more recent seasons.
However, let this serve as a warning: there are Spoilers ahead.
Wrecker Quick Fact Sheet
- Although in their first appearance, it was implied the Bad Batch were randomly mutated and happened to end up with desirable traits, the pilot for The Bad Batch establishes they were created with a purpose. Sort of.
- Wrecker’s mutation was his phenomenal strength. An exact cap is never mentioned, but we’ve seen him rip durasteel doors apart with his bare hands and even lift a starship unaided.
- Wrecker (like most of the Bad Batch) does not go by a typical CT-XXXX designation.
- Wrecker has a fondness for explosives and enjoys causing large-scale destruction. He often expresses excitement and joy when using explosive weapons or demolishing obstacles.
- Despite his imposing strength, Wrecker has a fear of heights.
- While Wrecker may have a rough and loud exterior, he is profoundly protective of his fellow clone troopers.
- Wrecker, possibly because he’s treated as the “goofy kid brother” archetype, has a soft spot for children and often showcases a more gentle and caring side when interacting with young characters.
- Wrecker has a stuffed rabbit named “Lula” until he lets Omega “borrow” it.
- Although Hunter is the first of Clone Task Force 99 to be shown on screen, Wrecker is the first to be shown without his helmet.
ReBoot Camp (or the Creation and Training of a Clone)
It’s said that great heroes are not made but born out of circumstance. The idea is SUPPOSED to be that no one is born destined to be a hero. That heroes rise up in times of great strife. Ordinary people become heroes when they are tested by fate and overcome significant challenges.
Unfortunately, most people only hear, “Heroes aren’t made. They’re born.” Which kind of gives them the opposite idea. It’s certainly the line of logic that Jedi Master Sifo Dyas followed when he threw all sense of ethics and the very notion of individuality out of the airlock to commission the Clone army from a species dubbed the Kaminoans.
But, then again, what can you expect from the Jedi? (Hot Take: I DESPISE The Jedi as an organization. But that’s for a whole other article.)
It was even worse when Count Dooku assassinated Dyas and coopted the plan, installing Inhibitor chips in the Clones to ensure their loyalty. Dooku chose the Bounty Hunter Jango Fett to serve as the genetic template. In the Legends continuity, Jango was definitely a Mandalorian, but that has yet to be confirmed or disproven in the Disney canon.
Mandalorian or not, Jango was an unparalleled fighter, tracker, and mercenary. After you’d earned his loyalty, you had it for life. He was the perfect soldier, and that was what Dooku wanted for the new clone army. It largely worked. The clone troopers were incredible soldiers. Jango’s template ensured they were tough.
The Kaminoan programming ensured they were tactically minded and hit their first battlefield with years of combat experience. Dooku’s inhibitor chips ensured they had no choice but to be loyal. They were basically super-soldiers without superhuman abilities.
So, of course, one Kaminoan decided, “Why not give them superpowers?”
Honestly, that’s reductive. (But Funny!) By the time the Clone War ended, Jango Fett’s genetic material had degraded to the point that it was producing mutations rather than exact duplicates of Jango. Since Jango was deceased and the only unmodified clone, his “son” Boba, had disappeared, they needed a new source of material.
Nala Se, the head Kaminoan scientist, chose several clones early in their development who were exhibiting mutations in an attempt to achieve her goal. She produced Omega, an unmodified and near-exact duplicate of Jango’s genetic material. There were some differences, like her blonde hair and the fact that she was a girl, but overall she counts as a new source of Jango Cells. (It’s been implied that her mutations go deeper, but nothing has been revealed so far.)
With her primary objective complete, Nala Se turned her attention towards seeing what she could do. Because what’s the point of genetic science if you can’t be a little mad with it, right?
She looked at her remaining clones and noticed each exhibiting a different desirable mutation. Nala decided to try to enhance those mutations. One trooper developed incredibly enhanced senses and became the group leader, Hunter. One developed incredible mental acuity and became a technology expert, dubbed Tech. Another had astonishing hand-eye coordination and became the team’s sharpshooter, Crosshair.
With Nala Se’s genetic guidance, the last had a predisposition for strength and became the largest and strongest clone trooper ever. That one became Wrecker. He was technically the group’s demolition expert and one of their hand-to-hand “experts.” (In reality, he was just big and strong enough that no one was brave enough to try to take him one-on-one.)
Wrecker was an absolute powerhouse on the battlefield! He was strong enough to rip through steel and send enemies flying with a single blow. Wrecker brought the boom with incredible combat skills, demolition expertise, and insane strength. He took down enemies left and right, smashing through obstacles and enemy soldiers like they were made of paper.
After their creation, they were force-grown as usual, implanted with the inhibitor chips and the Kaminoan programming, and then sent to train with the rest of the clones for field preparation. They were incredibly effective soldiers, but their mutations went deeper than their abilities. They used unorthodox tactics and techniques. They also showed a distinct predisposition to ignore rules and regulations. All of these lead to them being considered “defective” clones.
That label created a divide between Clone Force 99 (their official task force title) and the more “regular” clones, whom they called “regs.”
It didn’t seem to bother them much. The team had each other, and they worked incredibly well together. Their mutations and tactics made them a force to be feared on the field, even if it meant they didn’t play well with the regs.
Disobedience to the Regs (or Wrecker’s first appearance).
Wrecker and his Bad Batch brothers took on specialized assignments that regular clones couldn’t handle. They were the go-to team for unconventional missions, where their unique abilities made all the difference. Wrecker was extremely useful in creating distractions, breaking through barriers, and unleashing heavy firepower.
During the Siege of Anaxes, Clone Commander Rex realized that the tactics of the Separatists almost perfectly matched the tactics that Echo, a former clone commando, had once suggested. Echo was supposed to be killed in action, but upon realizing how closely everything lined-up, Rex decided he must be alive. Of course, neither his own men, including Clone Commander Cody, nor the Jedi aiding them believed him, so he had to get some help that was more… unconventional.
Enter the Bad Batch!
They didn’t believe that Echo was alive but were still very loyal to the Republic. So they followed Rex on his mission to rescue a dead man. Did it go well? Of course not. Their ship was shot down almost immediately, and Clone Commander Cody was caught under the debris. This was the first time we saw one of the Bad Batch show off their abilities. As would become the norm for firsts, it would be Wrecker.
He lifted a ship off of Cody without even breaking a sweat.
As the Republic forces continue their search for Echo, the Bad Batch and Captain Rex follow a lead that takes them to the planet of Skako Minor. There, they encounter the native Poletec people and face treacherous challenges in their quest to uncover Echo’s whereabouts. Unfortunately, this is where some unresolved tensions bubble to the surface.
Rex has been increasingly less objective about Echo, and when Hunter asks a reasonable question, it results in violence between the two. Violence that stops as soon as Wrecker steps in. Because, again, Wrecker’s basically a walking wall of muscle, and although Rex is entirely willing to try, Wrecker’s not going to let anyone push his squad around. Wrecker’s love for his team is such that he even overcomes (temporarily) his fear of heights to help his team escape with Echo.
Throughout this introduction, Wrecker is a source of protection, comfort, and, perhaps surprisingly, good humor. He’s a little childish and insecure (especially where heights are concerned,) but the introduction makes Wrecker’s stance on things obvious. He is loyal to his Team, the Republic, and the other Clones, in that order.
Unfortunately, that loyal would be sorely tested very soon.
Good Soldiers Follow Orders. Order 66 and Beyond.
Not long after the mission on Anaxes and Skako Minor, Palpatine opts to activate Order 66 and begin the Great Jedi Purge.
Now, removing the Jedi from power is not a bad thing. However, even I don’t think they should have been killed. The nascent Emperor was just flexing his new Empire’s power and removing a rival from the board. I also don’t like that this is done with Mind Control. Narratively speaking, I think that was a lazy way to remove the Jedi at a narratively-convenient point. It made little sense in Revenge of the Sith, and an entire decade and a half have been dedicated to making it make sense.
Do you know who else was very confused? Wrecker.
Whereas all the other Clone troopers were mentally controlled by their inhibitor chips to slaughter the Jedi, the Bad Batch was immune. Their mutations made their chips “ineffective.”
Most of the Bad Batch is confused by the other Clones’ sudden turn on the Jedi, who had been their allies and generals. However, Wrecker, in particular, is very upset by it. He didn’t have a significant attachment to the Jedi in particular, but he did have an attachment to the idea that the clone troopers were the good guys. He’d also been taught that the Jedi were Good Guys. It made no sense to him that they suddenly had to wipe the Jedi out. It felt like a betrayal.
That was nothing compared to the one that was coming, unfortunately.
Crosshair’s chip had NOT malfunctioned. He had still tried to complete the mission. Worse, he reported the other Bad Batch members for allowing a Padawan to escape. Wrecker may not have liked the clones turning on the Jedi, but he could handle that. When they returned to base, the other clones were all more cold and rude to them than before. He could deal with that. Orders were sometimes strange, and the Regs had never treated them nicely.
But his brother turning on them? That was something that Wrecker couldn’t process. Although it wouldn’t show immediately, this breach of trust affected the big clone very profoundly.
The division in the team only worsened after another mission went south. Ordered to wipe out “separatist holdouts,” the group had been dispatched to a distant moon, only to discover that the whole thing was a test of loyalty. Instead of military units, the “holdouts” were refugees displaced by the rise of the new Galactic Empire. None of the team but Crosshair wanted to carry out this mission, and when they returned once more to base, they found that Crosshair had betrayed them yet again.
Wrecker and the rest of the squad had to flee their home with the mysterious child Omega in tow. Wrecker isn’t the brightest character, and his personality needs more focus. However, we’re shown here that he’s clearly hurt by the loss of someone he’s known his entire life.
A New Squad
Wrecker’s place in Clone Force 99 is an interesting one. While he is the largest, the strongest, and the most protective, he’s also portrayed as the most childish. He’s the character with the “funny fear.” He’s the character with a stuffed rabbit. He’s the one that’s shown to be excitable and needs the rest of the team to act as older brothers or parental figures. He’s the “kid brother” in many cases.
This element of his character only gets played up after Omega joins the squad.
She doesn’t so much replace the “childish” character but actually intensifies Wrecker’s childish nature. Where before Wrecker only had himself to act like an overgrown kid with, now there’s an actual child to play with. This bond gets a lot of spotlight through the first and second seasons. Wrecker and Omega act like a pair of adolescent siblings.
Each member of the squad is shown teaching different things to Omega. However, Wrecker and Omega are a little different. They don’t train so much as they hang out and relax together. They play together. They go out and get snacks together. Omega can be found riding on Wrecker’s shoulders pretty often early on. Wrecker lets Omega “borrow” his stuffed rabbit, Lula. It’s made very clear that Wrecker and Omage have bonded more than the other members of the squad.
It was practically a signpost that something else was about to happen between the pair.
The War Within
In several episodes, Wrecker complains about headaches that begin to get worse. Over time, they debilitate him, and he even starts mumbling, “Good Soldiers Follow Orders.” When Captain Rex breezes back into the Bad Batch’s lives, it takes him less than a scene to recognize the symptoms, and he immediately warns them that these are all signs that Wrecker’s inhibitor chip is about to activate. Rex warns them they must remove it directly, or Wrecker will kill them all.
The rest of the team tries to comfort Wrecker, even though he’s playing it all off as no big deal. They’re all utterly convinced that their bond of friendship and family will protect them even if the chip does activate.
When this is brought up, there’s an interesting look on the faces of some of the team members. It’s not mentioned, and it’s easy to miss, but it’s there. You can practically see them look at each other as they wonder, “If that’s the case… then why did Crosshair betray the Jedi?”
Rex does manage to find a solution to remove their inhibitor chips. He smuggles them all onto an Empire-patrolled world and even gets Wrecker into the operating equipment. Right before the chip turns on. The rest of the episode puts the Bad Batch into a bad slasher flick, with Wrecker as the villain.
It’s actually horrifying to see. This usually friendly, gentle giant is stalking his friends with all the grim determination of the perfect, professional soldier. None of the team can stand up to him. None of them can outfight him. None of them can even really slow him down as he starts hunting them through the ship’s remnants one by one. It’s only because of their teamwork that he doesn’t kill them outright.
The most harrowing moment comes when he aims his gun at Omega. She’s on her knees, pleading for her life, trying to appeal to his better nature, and it’s clear that it doesn’t matter. He’s going to shoot her.
Fortunately, the rest of the team ambushes him from behind and finally manages to bring the giant down long enough to remove his chip, but this moment is incredibly tense. It was authentic, and it was heartbreaking to watch. It’s mentioned several more times throughout the season, even if Omega forgives Wrecker almost immediately. However, Wrecker never excuses himself.
When someone kidnaps Omega later in the season, Wrecker is the first to volunteer to go after her. He’s the first to jump to her defense whenever anything happens to Omega, even faster than to the rest of his squad. He fights harder for her than anyone. Not because she’s a child. Certainly not because she’s a girl.
But because she’s his best friend, he doesn’t want even his inaction to ever hurt her again.
Wrecking an Arc
The second season opens with a thrilling heist told over two episodes. We immediately see a change in the format of the season’s storytelling. Where before, the show was an ensemble, where each character got their moments in the spotlight, the focus has shifted to be mainly about Hunter, Omega, and Crosshair. Echo is written out for most of the latter half of the season, and Tech and Wrecker essentially become plot devices.
It doesn’t feel like this was done maliciously. Instead, there wasn’t quite as much time as the writers needed to focus on everyone this season, and they had to get all their pieces in place. Fortunately, Wrecker still gets a few really good moments in there.
Two of his “biggest” episodes in the season are right in the middle, in the stories from Faster and Entombed.
Faster involves Omega, Tech, and Wrecker helping a friend at a race. Even here, in an episode where he is one of only three main characters, Wrecker is the one that gets the least amount of focus. He’s here to be muscle, and that’s about it. He helps salvage a broken ship and carries parts of a droid around for a while. He’s also big and intimidating.
Entombed is a little different, as this focuses much more heavily on Wrecker’s relationship with Omega. By now, Wrecker has regrettably slid almost entirely into the “comic relief” role, with the constant joke being the juxtaposition between his enormous size and strength and his boyish, good-hearted nature, with his gleeful love of explosives kind of melding the two together.
This episode does an excellent job of having an emotional core for the characters, with Wrecker and Omega again shown to be excellent friends.
Unfortunately, it’s kind of the last real focus Wrecker gets until the very end of the season. Even there, he doesn’t get the focus of the episodes so much as he gets shown reacting to what happens. It’s a genuine problem that I hope they fix in Season Three.
The Bad Batch does something I’ve always wanted to see, if not in the way I wanted to see it.
I Love Star Wars, even if I hate the Jedi. I’ve always wanted to see the era immediately after the Jedi Purge from the view of an average citizen. We’re in the correct period I wanted, and we do brush up against those characters. Except, the characters we follow aren’t strictly average. They’re more average than the child-stealing, emotionally manipulative space wizards, but that’s not a tall order.
Wrecker is a character that was primed for an arc. Except he doesn’t really get one. Most of the Bad Batch doesn’t get to be very dynamic. It’s just more evident with Wrecker because he’s more simplistic. He acts so much younger than they do that you really expect to see him start to develop at some point.
He’s the “Big Muscles, Heart of Gold” archetype we’ve seen in stories since immemorial.
That’s not a BAD Thing, per se, but it is a thing I hope they improve. Most of the arc that he does have is through other characters. That’s when we see pieces of his improvement shining through. His friendship with Omega is chef’s kiss. His protectiveness and bond with the entirety of the squad is a high point of the show. Unfortunately, that’s all we get.
It’s more unfortunate that those moments are few and far between early on and only get more so as time progresses. By midway through the first season, Wrecker is less a character and more comic relief with a “use strength to move the plot along” button.
However, there’s hope.
Something significant happens at the end of the second season. We get a chance to see SOME reactions to what occurs, but it’s the kind of thing that you’d expect to leave a lasting impression big enough to bring about real change.
I’m a little worried it won’t stick, and the next season will undo it, but hope springs eternal.
That’s not something that even the mightiest muscles can tear away from someone.
Essential Wrecker Viewing
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episodes 1-4 (First Appearance)
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 1, Episode 1 “Aftermath”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 1, Episode 6, “Decommissioned”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 1, Episode 7, “Battle Scars”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 1, Episode 15, “Return to Kamino”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 1, Episode 16, “Kamino Lost”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 1, “Spoils of War”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 2, “Ruins of War”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 4, “Faster”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 5, “Entombed”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 9, “The Crossing”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 11, “Metamorphosis”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 14, “Tipping Point”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 15, “The Summit”
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Season 2, Episode 16, “Plan 99”
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: What Was Wrecker’s military specialty?
Answer: Technically speaking, his specialty was “Demolitions.” However, really his specialty was “obstacle removal with extreme prejudice.” He loved explosives but never had the discipline or forethought to be considered a proper Demolition officer.
Question: What weapons did Wrecker use?
Answer: Is it gauche to answer “all of them?” The more honest answer is that Wrecker made us of a standard issue DC-17m Interchangeable Weapon System that most Clone Troopers carry. He also had a vibroblade knife that he was incredibly proud of and used frequently.
Question: Is Wrecker your favorite member of the Bad Batch?
Answer: I would go with Hunter if I had to pick one. He got to have a little more dignity throughout the two seasons.
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