Star Wars: The Bad Batch Whitewashing Controversy Explained

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The modern world has become a lot more politically correct, and people aren’t afraid to call out things that they believe should be called out. Star Wars wasn’t spared from the world’s political correctness because The Bad Batch was recently called out for the fact that the members of Clone Force 99, the main characters of the series, are seemingly lighter in skin tone and color compared to the other clones we’ve seen in the Star Wars continuity.

Of course, this seems to be something that is quite unusual, considering that all of the other clones we’ve seen in Star Wars have skin tones that are similar to Temuera Morrison, the man that played Jango and Boba Fett and all of the clones in the live-action movies and series. Interestingly, the members of Clone Force 99 do have lighter skin tones. And that’s something that we’re going to look at in this article.

The Bad Batch Whitewashing Accusations

When it comes to movies, television shows, and even video games, whitewashing has been one of the things that have been quite common, especially due to the possibility of fans being more receptive towards characters that are white. And the whitewashing phenomenon usually happens when a non-white character in its source material is portrayed as white in the live-action or even animated adaptation.

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Considering that the world is becoming more politically correct and sensitive toward different races and colors, people are now willing to call a spade a spade by calling out things that they believe are against and not commonly not in line with the things that are now considered politically correct. And the world of Star Wars wasn’t spared from this fate.

While Disney+’s The Bad Batch was a huge hit during its first season, some fans were quick to point out that there were some discrepancies regarding the appearances of the main characters, who we know as the members of Clone Force 99. Of course, the controversy surrounding their appearances is related to the entire topic of whitewashing.

clone force 99

We know for a fact that the clones of Star Wars are primarily based on Temuera Morrison, who first played Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Jango’s DNA became the blueprint for the clones that the Kaminoans were producing for the Republic, and that’s why all of the live-action clones are played by Temuera Morrison, even after Jango Fett’s death.

Of course, in the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars series, the clone troopers were also designed to look like Temuera. Considering that he is of Polynesian (Māori, to be specific) descent, Morrison isn’t white and is on the brown side of the color spectrum. That is where the controversy surrounding The Bad Batch starts.

When you look at the main characters of The Bad Batch, which are the members of Clone Fore 99, they all look lighter compared to the other clones we’ve seen in the Star Wars animated universe. Of course, the members of Clone Force 99 were supposed to be different on account of how they were designed to have specific traits that the other clones didn’t have. Still, the fact is that they have lighter skin tones despite the fact that they are still created from Jango Fett’s DNA. 

clones

With that said, fans were quick to notice that the members of Clone Force 99 are somewhat whitewashed compared to the other clones, as they have lighter skin tones. This led to the #UnwhitewashTheBadBatch movement on social media. Yes, even animated characters can be whitewashed as far as the internet is concerned.

Of course, we get the outrage surrounding the lighter skin tones of Clone Force 99, as it is quite clear that they aren’t as brown as the other clones. But this seems to be a minute detail that should have been overlooked, especially when you consider that the storyline of The Bad Batch is actually quite engaging.

Nevertheless, whitewashing has always been a problem that has plagued the entertainment sector because of the fact that some producers or directors believe that white actors or characters are more likely to attract attention than their colored counterparts. After all, a good portion of the target market of movies and shows like Star Wars tends to be white, but that doesn’t mean that colored people don’t want to see themselves getting represented.

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We’ve seen whitewashing in different live-action movies and shows in the past, and whitewashing an animated series seems to be something that is quite new. Then again, we are not saying that the creators of The Bad Batch whitewashed Clone Force 99 on purpose, but we do believe that this is something that they simply overlooked for reasons that are unknown. And it might even be possible that this was simply a mistake that they never noticed or cared about until it blew up.

How Lucasfilm Responded

While the outrage regarding the whitewashing of the characters of The Bad Batch hasn’t reached a massive boiling point, it still is commendable for Lucasfilm and the people behind the show to accept responsibility for the character designs of the members of Clone Force 99. Brad Rau, series creator, said via Comic Book:

“We listened to all the concerns of the fans. Interestingly, in Season 1, before season one came out, we’re always doing this, we went back to look at the skin tones, and we made some corrections to make sure that we’re being true to the legacy of the clones in Clone Wars. Absolutely, 100%.”

Of course, we did notice minute details in the appearances of the members of Clone Force 99 in season 2. And this was a good adjustment on the part of Rau and his crew, considering that whitewashing has been quite prevalent in different movies, shows, and video games.

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