This Star Wars: The Bad Batch review contains spoilers.
The Bad Batch continues to fill in details about the transition from the Republic to the Empire. As the episode title “Replacements” might suggest, the Empire’s new elite troops are here. Or, at least, a squad of recruits who might mark the beginning of the death trooper program. With the new troopers, Tarkin, and a new Imperial Vice Admiral on the stage, there’s a distinct Rogue One feeling in the air. Meanwhile, the Bad Batch try to get themselves out of trouble on an airless moon.
These storylines lead to a few easter eggs and references that go back to the Original Trilogy and even a few Legends stories. Let’s take a look at all the hidden (and not-so-hidden) connections to the rest of the Star Wars saga:
The Desolate Moon
– The emergency landing on the desolate moon is reminiscent of a famous section in The Empire Strikes Back. The Millennium Falcon hides in an asteroid cave that turns out to be the mouth of a giant space creature. The Bad Batch’s ship coming down into heavy fog on the moon even looks like the scene where the Falcon flies deeper into the belly of the beast (literally). In both cases, there’s not enough air to breathe, so the characters don breath masks, seen also in the Prequel and Sequel Trilogies.
– The creature the Batch encounters is a reference to a few different things. Like the mynocks in that same sequence from The Empire Strikes Back, this animal eats electricity. It also pops up at Omega on the other side of the viewport for a jump scare reminiscent of how the mynocks scared Leia in Empire. Known as the Ordo Moon Dragon, the creature shares a name with Canderous Ordo, a Mandalorian mercenary from the Knights of the Old Republic video game series.
The Empire, Tarkin, Admiral Rampart, and Iden Versio
– Formerly an admiral in the Republic Navy, Tarkin is now an Imperial governor. He’ll go on to govern the Outer Rim territories, including Lothal, the setting for much of Rebels. As Grand Moff, he’ll eventually command the Death Star and even Darth Vader.
– The elite squad of human troopers Rampart presents as replacements for the clones appear to be precursors to the death troopers from Rogue One or the Imperial special forces unit led by Iden Versio in Battlefront II. death troopers had surgical enhancements to make them stronger, while special forces troopers were regular humans with specialized training. Note the green visors reminiscent of death troopers’ green lights.
– Imperial troopers now fire red blaster bolts instead of blue, a distinction long used to tell the armies apart.
– Noshir Dalal, who voices new Imperial villain Vice Admiral Rampart, also voiced Varko Grey a.k.a. Titan Leader on the Imperial side in Star Wars: Squadrons.
– War Mantle is one of the projects mentioned in Rogue One while Jyn Erso is scanning Imperial records for the plans for Project Stardust, a.k.a. the Death Star. Now we know War-Mantle is the effort to replace clones with human soldiers. Since the clones have long been replaced by the time of the Original Trilogy, we can assume Project War Mantle was a big success.
– Crosshair continues to show the effects of his inhibitor chip, which appear to be lasting much longer than they’re intended. The mantra “Good soldiers follow orders” accompanying the brainwashing first appeared in a season six episode of The Clone Wars, “The Unknown.”