Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode 3 gives further detail on an Imperial plan first teased in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Project War-Mantle.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Bad Batch episode 3, “Replacements.”
A secret Imperial plan from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been explained by the events of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Taking place in the immediate aftermath of the Empire’s rise, The Bad Batch is doing a lot of groundwork in showing that transition of power. On Kamino, Governor Tarkin is overseeing the phasing out of clone troopers, while chain codes – used to store information and keep track of people – are being implemented across the galaxy.
Of course, this galactic might will eventually lead to the Empire’s greatest superweapon, the Death Star – the plans for which were stolen in Rogue One. While there are still around 19 years between The Bad Batch and Rogue One, the animated show is already connecting some of the dots in terms of the Empire’s power and operations. That’s particularly the case in episode 3, “Replacements,” which delves further into one particular element of the spinoff movie.
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As well as the Death Star plans, Rogue One also alluded to several other Imperial projects and ideas that were in the works or had already happened, all of which were housed in the Citadel Tower on Scarif. The movie doesn’t go into too much detail on these, though some are intriguing – such as a “Project Black-Saber,” hinting, perhaps, at something Darksaber-related. Many of these formed part of the Tarkin Initiative, an Imperial think tank, and one example is Project War-Mantle. While only given a passing reference in Rogue One, The Bad Batch fills in the gaps: Project War-Mantle is the replacement of clone troopers with Stormtroopers, and the mass conscription of the latter into the ranks of the Imperial Army.
It’s long been known that the Empire quickly replaced clones with recruits, and The Bad Batch is fleshing out why, as Tarkin finds the clone troopers too costly when human soldiers will (in his eyes) work just as well. That’s borne out by the first tests of Project War-Mantle, which are led by Rampart. He puts a squad of Stormtroopers led by Crosshair through its paces, charging them with taking out Saw Gerrera’s team of insurgents. Barring one casualty – a Stormtrooper who refuses to follow orders – things go as Tarkin hopes, even if they don’t find Saw himself. Of course, there’s a key bit of detail overlooked here, which is that the Stormtroopers succeed in their mission in “Replacements” only because of Crosshair, rather than the Stormtroopers themselves. He is driven to such loyalty by his altered inhibitor chip, something the Stormtroopers obviously lack.
Nonetheless, Project War-Mantle is clearly something that is fully seen through and comes to fruition, because within a few years of Star Wars: The Bad Batch – and still long before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the ranks of the Empire’s army will be filled with recruited Stormtroopers, with clones mostly phased out. Whether that was a smart move or not is more debatable, given Stormtroopers aren’t as skilled or efficient as clone troopers, but nonetheless they deliver what Tarkin is looking for with this project. In terms of connections, it’s a great (and relatively simple) way of building upon an off-hand remark in a movie and turning it into something tangible and full of meaning, and it remains to be seen whether or not Star Wars canon will do that for other projects mentioned, such as “Cluster-Prism” or “Stellar Sphere.”
Next: Did Star Wars Just Create A Tarkin Plot Hole? Imperial Insignia Explained
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