Welcome to The Bad Batch Explained, our weekly column devoted to the rough and tumultuous remnants of Clone Wars and their march through a bold new galaxy far, far away. In this post we dive into Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 8 (“Reunion”) and explore the history of The Clone Wars around a particularly nasty / groovy bounty hunter. So yeah, there are spoilers here.
This is how they get you. You’re too busy looking at the sniper on the hill; You miss the gunslinger crouching in your spaceship. We have been waiting for Crosshair to return in for weeks war of stars: The bad batch, and like him, the fastest weapon in the galaxy comes to the last minute duel. Cad Bane has strolled his way back into the franchise, and he’s the right amount of mayhem to shake things up now that the series is past halftime.
Hunter and the rest of Clone Force 99 narrowly escape their lives on Bracca, the junkyard planet. After the Scrappers Guild scoured their location, the Empire didn’t send a needy squad to annoy the deserters. No Admiral Rampart unleashes an entire platoon and instructs Crosshair not to take prisoners. With his inhibitor chip still firmly rooted in his head, the former bad batcher accommodates extreme prejudices.
So while Crosshair has no qualms about firing a blaster into the head of old friends, Hunter can’t bring himself to do the same. Clone Force 99 moves through the Jedi cruiser avoiding clone-on-clone violence for as long as possible. And they succeed. Somehow.
As they sneak through the Jedi cruiser’s engine, Crosshair lights up the monster. The engine comes to life. Clone Force 99 is about to be burned. You carefully place charges along the inner walls and crack the engine in half. Crosshair gets a face full of propulsion and will never look the same again. The next time we see him, Crosshair will have a bit more scar tissue motivation (and maybe even a brand new helmet) to fuel his antagonism.
But he’s a problem for another day. Cad Bane is currently the primary concern of Clone Force 99. The bounty hunter ambushes the ambushes. After Cad Bane slaughtered the Imperial soldiers hiding in Hunter’s Shuttle, he steps out of the shadows and offers few options. The traitors can either hand over the child Omega or die face down in the dirt.
Hunter is not a wimp with a gun. He decides to fight back and for a second it seems like the worst decision he has ever made. Cade Bane pulls and appears to punch a hole in Hunter’s chest. The good soldier goes down and the boy is picked up by the bounty killer. Fortunately, the laser explosion hits Hunter’s breastplate and not his actual sternum. He will live to fight another day and hopefully track down the mercenary and get their youngest member.
Cad Bane has wandered the Star Wars franchise since the Clone Wars season two premiere, “Holocron Heist”. Jango Fett’s execution during the climax of Attack of the Clones left a massive void in the bounty hunter market. Boba was barely a teenager (and cats like Dengar and Bossk could only sell so many toys). Bane became a rogue agent who showed up whenever a change was needed. Anakin and Ahsoka couldn’t run away from Battle Droids in every episode.
The bounty hunter was an instant fan favorite. He was of the Duros race, those funky little green surrogates that you see for a split second during the original cantina scene. His outfit and demeanor, however, was one hundred percent inspired by The Man with No Name … well, maybe not the Clint Eastwood character, but his frenemy Angel Eyes played by Lee Van Cleef in the good, the bad and the ugly.
While Angel Eyes loved dressing up as a Union soldier, Cad Bane carried out the same plan with Clone Trooper clothes. Both killers appreciate the wide-brimmed hat, with which they can give off dramatic looks in no time at all. And the two of them mastered the slow seepage of language, where words with a snippet of syllable can turn into sinister threats.
Bane’s attraction is based on his utter rejection of Jedi Cool. The wizards do nothing for him and he has thrown several in the ground despite their magical powers. As Han Solo once said, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side.” Cad Bane has proven this time and again in The Clone Wars.
Always next to Bane is the loyal techno service droid Todo 360. The little bot rarely gets respect from his master, but like R2-D2 he always has the right tool at the right moment. His greatest gift is his presence. As a babbler, he’s often the only one who can get Bane to come forward. The bounty hunter needs a droid to lead him out of isolation and madness.
We haven’t seen Bane since season four of The Clone Wars, episode “Crisis on Naboo”. It was then that he took a job from Count Dooku. His mission was to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine, but Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated Bane at his own game, disguising himself as the ruthless assassin Rako Hardeen. Bane swore revenge on Kenobi, but other than a few references in Star Wars: Rebels and an appearance in the Darth Maul comic, we haven’t heard a peep from Bane yet.
Cad Bane is the perfect supporting player for The Bad Batch. The entire series revolves around gray areas. Clone Force 99 tries to play outside of combat. They are free from the Empire, but neither are they ready to jump back into the field alongside a burgeoning rebellion. Hunter has made his crew his priority. Cad Bane only cares about Numero Uno.
Clone Force 99’s pursuit of Cad Bane will help Hunter prioritize his stats. He’s not the bad one; he’s not Lee Van Cleef. Hunter has Clint Eastwood’s blondie in his heart, and if Blondie was the good one, Hunter certainly hopes to take on that spaghetti western role. Does that make Crosshair ugly? After kissing the Jedi Cruiser Drive, it will surely have the face to match its name.
Bigger questions still arise about Cad Bane’s role. Why did the Kaminoans hire him to get Omega? What is your endgame in terms of omega genetics? We’re running for answers, and they’re going to get Clone Force 99 to solidify their moral standing too. There are no sideline jobs in Star Wars.