How many Easter eggs did you discover in the latest installment of Star Wars: The Bad Batch? Previously on The Bad Batch, Clone Force 99 rebelled against Order 66 thanks to their unique programming, but Crosshair chose to side with the newly-formed Empire, cleaving a division in the tight-knit squad. With young clone Omega in tow, the Bad Batch caught up with Cut Lawquane and his family on Saleucami in last week’s “Cut & Run,” and witnessed first hand how the Empire’s grip was tightening around the galaxy.
In “Replacements,” Clone Force 99 are sidetracked making ship repairs, but the detour serves to bring Omega closer to her new family. Elsewhere, Tarkin appoints Crosshair as commander of an elite unit of fresh, organic recruits, hoping to find out once and for all whether Kamino’s soldiers are worth keeping on their books.
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“Replacements” includes a number of Star Wars Easter eggs you might’ve spotted in previous episodes. The wipe transitions, Imperial and Republic insignia, and possible prototype Death Trooper armor are all still present. Fortunately, The Bad Batch episode 3 also offers up plenty of original references to Star Wars‘ past, including allusions to the sequel trilogy, comparisons to The Empire Strikes Back and a fascinating throwback to Rogue One.
Clone Force 99’s Gonk Droid
Ignoring all kinds of health and safety regulations, The Bad Batch episode 3 begins with Omega using a propped-up GNK droid as her bunk. This sturdy little robot is affectionately known as Gonky, and was introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7. Before Omega started using him as a makeshift chair, Gonky was seen serving as a barbell for Wrecker, proving that Clone Force 99 certainly has a versatile (if unconventional) range of uses for their resident droid.
Time for lunch, and while the Bad Batch’s current predicament forces them to ration supplies, the food container itself might be of more interest to Star Wars fans. Hunter picks the food from a gray, metallic, rectangular case, complete with a small handle, and the inside is divided into convenient compartments. The exact same item can be seen in The Empire Strikes Back, while Luke is taking a break from looking for Yoda on Dagobah. The budding Jedi’s lunchbox is the same model as Hunter’s, suggesting it’s either some kind of standard issue kit, or an especially popular brand.
For much of “Replacements,” the Bad Batch are stranded on a remote, unspecified moon repairing their damaged ship. Before the crash, we see Tech working on a device that’ll test the influence of the clones’ inhibitor chips, and the tool he’s using in this scene is a Fusioncutter. Although this multi-purpose item has appeared throughout Star Wars lore, the first appearance came in The Empire Strikes Back, when the Millennium Falcon was also downed and making repairs.
“Get Off This Rock”
Colloquially referring to planets as “rocks” isn’t exclusive to the Star Wars franchise (Third Rock From The Sun, anyone?), but one of Hunter’s lines in this week’s episode can’t help but hark back to one of Mark Hamill’s earliest quotes from 1977. After the Havoc Marauder crash lands and Clone Force 99 are discussing the best course of action, Hunter says, “we need to find that capacitor, and get off this rock.” In the original Star Wars movie, Luke Skywalker replies to C-3PO’s offer of assistance with, “not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest or teleport me off this rock.“
Project War Mantle
Undoubtedly the most intriguing pick from The Bad Batch‘s latest Easter egg haul is Tarkin name-dropping a “Project War Mantle” to Rampart. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Jyn Erso infiltrates the Empire base on Scarif and accesses their most top-secret data files. Searching for the fabled Death Star plans, Erso rifles through various other schemes including a Project War Mantle, but the nature of this operation remained unknown… until now. When Tarkin asks about the initiative, Rampart replies with an update about new, non-clone recruits into the Empire’s ranks, revealing what this mystery project was all about.
The Imperial rank of Grand Moff will forever be associated with Tarkin thanks to Peter Cushing’s iconic performance in A New Hope, but when the villain first appeared in The Bad Batch, he was just a lowly Admiral. In “Replacements,” however, Tarkin’s Imperial plaque has been adorned with yellow, bringing the badge in-line with the movies. Rather than a plot hole, this design change indicates a subtle off-screen promotion for Tarkin, who now holds the rank of Governor (since Grand Moff isn’t a thing yet). Tarkin promoting Rampart to Admiral is further proof of his own new status.
Crosshair’s New Team
As part of Project War Mantle’s implementation, Tarkin conducts an experiment, putting Crosshair in command of elite human recruits. After The Bad Batch‘s premiere, many fans pointed out how closely Crosshair’s armor resembled prototype Death Trooper gear. Apparently, his new team received the same makeover, and speculation continues as to exactly what this pioneering near unit could turn into. Death Troopers remain a possibility, but a comparison could also be made to the Shadow Troopers of Star Wars Battlefront. Also worth considering is that Crosshair’s team are a precursor to SCAR Squadron, otherwise known as Task Force 99 (an interesting inversion of Crosshair’s previous squad).
Several members of the team are later seen wielding flamethrowers during the Onderon mission, potentially setting up the future use of Flame Troopers and Incinerator Troopers also.
Rampart is rapidly becoming one the most hateful characters in The Bad Batch, and that’s no mean feat with Tarkin prowling nearby. Speaking with his boss and the Kaminoans in this week’s offering, he argues with the clone specialists and champions the cheaper alternative of conscription over breeding more Jango Fett copies, ominously claiming, “there are other ways of producing loyal soldiers.” Through canon novels such as Lost Stars and Servants of the Empire: Edge of the Galaxy, we know that the Empire eventually came to rely on propaganda and conditioning from a young age to ensure the compliance of their Stormtroopers – the so-called “other ways” Rampart refers to. However, Rampart’s line could also foreshadow the First Order, who took the idea one step further by recruiting children as young as possible, and brainwashing them into obedience.
The Empire Strikes Back’s Asteroid Scene
In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo parks the Millennium Falcon inside an asteroid to hide from Imperial pursuers. While fixing up the vessel inside a foggy cavern, the Falcon and its occupants are assailed by huge bat-like creatures, before discovering the cavern itself is actually the mouth of a monster. Clone Force 99’s latest adventure is virtually a love letter to the aforementioned Millennium Falcon sequence, borrowing various elements from the movie. Both ships are forced to land in dark, shadowy locales and enact repairs after close shaves with the Empire. Venturing outside, Han’s group and the Bad Batch both use respirator masks due to the uncertain environment, and Tech’s Fusioncutter originates with Leia fixing up the Falcon.
Lastly, Tech and Echo mending their ship and becoming aware of unknown beast-like threats in the darkness mirrors Han and Leia being beset by the Mynocks in The Empire Strikes Back. Mind you, at least the Bad Batch weren’t parked inside a giant worm.
Tech describes the creature that steals the Havoc Marauder’s capacitor as an Ordo Moon Dragon. This is the creature’s debut in Star Wars mythology, but the planet Ordo has been referenced before. Dating back to Knights of the Old Republic, Ordo is a Mandalorian setting made canon by Pablo Hidalgo’s Scum & Villainy reference book. Although unconfirmed, it’s highly likely the Ordo Moon Dragon has roots to this as-yet-unseen world.
Padmé’s Medical Droid
The Bad Batch already reintroduced AZI-3, the chirpy medical droid from The Clone Wars, but this week, he has a vaguely familiar helper. AZI-3 bears a resemblance to the GH-7 medical droid that infamously claimed Padmé had “lost the will to live” in Revenge of the Sith. But an even closer cousin of that unfortunate robot appears in The Bad Batch episode 3, analyzing the elite Stormtrooper recruits before their mission to Onderon. Although the models aren’t exactly the same, the bright blue eyes, flat circular head and spindly arms suggest The Bad Batch‘s latest medical team addition is a near relation of Padmé’s Revenge of the Sith droid – like how R2-D2 and R5-D4 fall within the same ballpark, despite their cosmetic differences.
“Skills Can Be Taught”
You sure about that, Rampy? Watching Tarkin boast about how superior conscripted Stormtroopers will be compared to Lama Su’s clone troopers, it’s hard to escape the sense of irony that comes from knowing the reputation Imperial foot soldiers will one day develop for impossibly poor aim. When Rampart tells Lama Su “skills can be taught” in the most condescending of tones, it seems clear that The Bad Batch is doing this on purpose now.
Dropping Out Of Hyperspace
In both animation and live-action TV output, Star Wars has excelled at faithfully recreating the most familiar visual effects from the original trilogy, such as the bright blue whoosh that constitutes travelling at hyperspeed. “Replacements” added another authentic Star Wars visual when Crosshair’s team drop out of hyperspace after arriving at Onderon. Even though modern technology would allow the scene to be done more smoothly, the animation matches the jerky, almost stop-motion, quality of the original effect.
Species On Onderon
Not as many familiar Star Wars species are on display this week, with The Bad Batch‘s third episode limited in scope and setting. Nevertheless, the Onderon camp slaughtered by Crosshair’s squad contains a Gotal and a Twi’lek.
Omega’s Jurassic Park Moment
Not a Star Wars Easter egg per se, but Steven Spielberg has always been closely (albeit unofficially) connected to the Star Wars franchise. When Omega chases down the Ordo Moon Dragon and retrieves the capacitor, she uses her flashlight to distract the creature and escape. This is most likely a homage to Jurassic Park‘s iconic T-Rex attack scene, where Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum distract the rampaging dino with the light of flares, waving them to catch its attention, then tossing them away to send the creature elsewhere. The Phantom Menace famously included aliens from Spielberg’s E.T., so The Bad Batch‘s nod to Jurassic Park continues in that tradition.
The Onderon Gunship
The vessel Onderon’s refugees are attempting to flee on is an LAAT patrol gunship used by the Republic during the Clone Wars. This particular ship is likely a leftover from the recently-ended conflict.
When Crosshair orders the civilians on Onderon to be executed, one of the new recruits actively rebels against him. Asserting that he joined the Empire as a soldier, not an executioner, the mutineer wants to arrest the stragglers, and the other troopers seem to echo his sentiments – that is until Crosshair kills the traitor personally and leaves the rest with no choice but to comply. This story is similar to Finn’s introduction in The Force Awakens; ordered to fire upon innocents, but unable to bring himself to do so. Whereas Finn simply opted to not shoot and hope no one would notice (they did), this brave trooper actually speaks out against the Empire’s methods.
Running Out Of Jango
In The Bad Batch episode 3, Lama Su and Nala Se lament how their supply of Jango Fett DNA is running drastically low. Before long, their capacity to breed clones of the Mandalorian bounty hunter will come to an end. This has actually been the case for quite some time, as the shortage was first mentioned in The Clone Wars season 3’s “Clone Cadets.” Even back then, Su and Se were looking to source another template for their clone factory, and they now appear to have settled on using whichever member of Clone Force 99 they can get their hands on first.
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