‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ Breakdown: The Details and History That Enrich “Replacements”
With their ship in bad shape after their sudden departure from Saleucami, the Bad Batch are forced to make a crash landing on a desolate moon. Echo would have made more effective repairs to the ship if Tech had been able to help him, but Tech is more concerned with examining the functionality of their inhibitor chips. As they work to fix the ship, they have to contend with a mysterious alien species that just wants to eat their capacitors. Meanwhile, the Empire, led by Admiral Tarkin on Kamino, uses Crosshair to lead a new group of elite Stormtroopers to hunt down a cell of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans.
Project War Mantle
One particular name drop felt like a little detail, but has echoes through other Star Wars properties: Project War Mantle.
This was first referenced in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Jyn Erso cycled through various secret operations, projects, and codes as she sought records for Project Stardust in order to get the plans for the Death Star. It’s revealed in this episode of The Bad Batch that Project War Mantle is the Empire’s desire to use the Clone army to train more elite squads like Clone Force 99, but from the ranks of their conscripts rather than Clones themselves. This seems to be the precursor to elite squadrons throughout the history of the Empire in their black armor, leading all the way to Inferno Squad from the video game Battlefront II.
Naturally, the Kaminoans find this entire project to be a threat to their wellbeing. The cloners want to get the Bad Batch back so they can replicate their genetic code in an effort to entice the Empire to renew contracts for their services. Will it work? Seems doubtful, given the history of the galaxy, but never say never.
The Ordo Moon Dragon
Another small thing is the Ordo Moon Dragon, the creature that steals the capacitors from the Bad Batch. Clan Ordo was a Mandalorian Clan in the Legends material of Star Wars. In the current canon, Ordo is a Mandalorian world, leading one to believe that the moon the Bad Batch landed on might well be in Mandalorian space.
Familiar Ships and Props
In case you were wondering, the transport ship utilized by Gerrera’s partisan cell was a former Republic Patrol Transport used for police actions. These LAAT/le transports first appeared on The Clone Wars and were prominently featured in Star Wars Rebels as the Empire began using them in planetary occupations. LAAT stands for Low Altitude Assault Transport. They were also seen in the video game Jedi: Fallen Order, the novel Thrawn, and in many Star Wars comics from Marvel.
Another couple of design notes that seem to have references to the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy: the Bad Batch’s breath masks and comlinks. The masks hearken back to The Empire Strikes Back, while Omega’s comlink looks to be one of the Gillette razor-style comlinks used by Qui-Gon Jinn and the Jedi through the time before and during The Clone Wars.
Aliens and Predator Influences
This episode is chock-full of references to classic movies from the ‘80s, ranging from the obvious like The Empire Strikes Back to Aliens and Predator.
The Empire Strikes Back is echoed in the entire situation the Bad Batch finds themselves in on the remote moon. They need to make repairs to their ship but a creature that wants to chew on the power bedevils them and they have to investigate with breath masks. The Ordo Moon Dragons are a little bit more fierce than mynocks, though. The Moon Dragon even scares Omega in the cockpit in much the same manor as the mynock does to Princess Leia in Episode V.
Aliens is a little more prevalent in subtle ways through the episode. The landing of the Bad Batch’s ship on the moon, through the smoke of the atmosphere and the chop of the ship, it feels very much like the landing of The Bug Stomper dropship in Aliens as the Colonial Marines land on LV-426. In fact, Wrecker even hits his head in the shaking, strapped in just like the marines on the dropship. That’s not where the Aliens influence ends, though. There’s an H.R. Giger like design to the rock formations and caverns the Ordo Moon Dragon leads Wrecker and Omega to. Omega herself echoes Newt as well, but with much more agency and fighting spirit, especially as she crawls through the tunnels.
The situation with Saw Gerrera’s partisan fighters brought about echoes of the 1987 film Predator. The jungle feels similar to the situations Dutch (a strong influence on Hunter) finds himself in. And this situation casts Crosshair as the Predator himself, the unknown force in the jungle killing the “good guys” one by one. They even cut to a shot of Crosshair’s sights that match the heat vision mode of the Predator from the film.
On Their Way
Thanks to Omega’s heroics in the tunnels, the Bad Batch are able to leave the uninhabited moon and light out to whatever their next safe (or not-so-safe) harbor will be. But with the Kaminoans and the Empire’s elite squad led by Crosshair both gunning for them, it will be a long road ahead for them.
We’ll just have to wait and see what the next installment brings. Star Wars: The Bad Batch airs on Fridays on Disney+
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