What’s the Defence Recruitment Bill in The Bad Batch Season 2? Explained (In Detail)

By Kieran Burt
Published: January 11, 2023 (Last updated: January 18, 2023)
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What’s the Defence Recruitment Bill in The Bad Batch Season 2? We explain the plot point in the Star Wars series in detail. It will contain spoilers.

Episode three of The Bad Batch Season two has focused on Crosshair’s perspective on the transition period, catching up as he re-joins the Empire. He hears about a new bill going through the Senate, titled the Defence Recruitment Bill, before being sent on a difficult mission with Commander Cody to rescue an Imperial hostage. This is the latest in the Star Wars timeline Commander Cody has appeared in canon, and he’s showing signs of wanting to defect, which is a strong deviation from his Legends story.

The Defence Recruitment Bill is a new piece of legislation in Star Wars, but the title gives some insight into what the bill does. The clones also show a strong reaction to the bill, wishing that it fails in the Senate. There’s a growing divide between the clones and TK troopers, which will be explained below.

What’s the Defence Recruitment Bill in The Bad Batch Season 2?

Early in the episode, two clones are overheard talking about a new piece of legislation passing through the Imperial Senate called the Defence Recruitment Bill, but this is quickly moved on from. The bill is new to Star Wars, but it’s possible to work out what the bill does.

The main purpose of the bill is to open up recruitment of soldiers from planets all across the galaxy. The clones in the Empire desperately need replacing, and this is for a few reasons. In season one of The Bad Batch, Governor Tarkin pointed out that cloning was expensive, the clones aren’t proving loyal to the Empire, and because Kamino has been destroyed, the Empire can’t make new clones.

This last point is worth expanding on. The cloning facility on Kamino was the only one that the Republic had, which means the Empire doesn’t have a way to make more. The Empire are running out of clones, and their willingness to send them on dangerous missions because they see them as expendable is only speeding up this process. A recruited body can be made up from across the galaxy, with an endless supply of troops. The Empire won’t run out of them.

The trial of this mass conscription was seen in season one with Project War-Mantle. This project was championed by Vice-Admiral Rampart, and was initially limited to a single Elite Squad made up of recruits, then expanded further to the initial recruitment of TK troopers on the planet Daro. The Defence Recruitment Bill is the final expansion of this project and will likely be the dawn of the new era that Palpatine speaks of in the first trailer for The Bad Batch Season two.

How do the clones feel about being replaced?

The clones in The Bad Batch are starting to show that they don’t like the TK troops. In episode three of The Bad Batch season two, the two clones that tell us about the Defence Recruitment Bill want it to fail. The reason for this is clear, they don’t want to be replaced. This bill further threatens the position the clones have in the Imperial Army. There is also a feeling that a recruited body isn’t as skilled as the clones, and that there will be a loss of institutional skills in the military.  

Commander Cody is also a sign of this. Towards the end of the episode, Cody looks around at the TK troopers arriving on Desix, after he and the clones did the hard work of capturing the planet. There is a look of upset on his face, and it’s clear he doesn’t approve of the recruited troops either. He knew the name of one of the clones that died during the raid, and now the TK troopers are swooping in to take the spoils.

How does Commander Cody’s canon story differ from his Legends story? 

At the end of the episode, Cody shows signs of questioning the Empire. He disobeys an order from Imperial Governor Grotton and warns Crosshair about becoming a mindless drone. Cody goes missing at the end of the episode, with Rampart telling Crosshair he’s gone AWOL.

This version of Cody differs mightily from the one seen in Star Wars Legends. In this continuity, he remains fully loyal to the Empire, and witnesses the rise of a recruited body and the decline and marginalization of the clones. In 1BBY, Cody is posted to the Kaminoan cloning facility on Timira City and is put in charge of an Imperial Battalion. To try and test his soldiers, Cody would regularly send them on drills and patrols, only to be bitterly disappointed with the results, especially compared to clones.

Around the same time he was stationed on Kamino, a clone of Starkiller led the Rebel Assault on the city, and managed to destroy the Imperial troops and capture Darth Vader. It isn’t known if Cody survived this attack.

While this arc isn’t being adapted for Cody in canon, a similar arc is being set for Crosshair. He is now a committed Imperial soldier and is witnessing the rise of a recruited body. Him as a commander of the Elite Squad from Kamino is similar to Cody leading the Imperial garrison, especially because of the rivalry and distrust between the clone and recruited soldiers.

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