The Bad Batch returns to the small screen January 4, 2023 with a two episode premiere. With the threat of the Empire encompassing the galaxy and so many questions surrounding The Bad Batch itself, season two promises to be a barn-burner. To light that flame, here are three key elements from season one to keep an eye on in season two.
Redemption in Star Wars is a given. Thus, when the premiere episode of The Bad Batch saw Crosshair side with the newly formed Empire, it seemed that another redemption story was in the making. As the season progressed and Clone Force 99 learned more about the inhibitor chips and how to remove them, the path to that redemption became clearer. Then, like the Empire would to Kamino, Crosshair burned it all down when he reveals he has removed his inhibitor chip. “I made my decision,” he tells Hunter. “This is who I am.”
The Empire has provided Crosshair something that The Bad Batch, at this point in the story, cannot. Clarity of purpose. “We’re superior,” he says. “The Empire can’t protect the galaxy without strength. This is what we were made for.” For someone whose enhanced ability is being able to stay on target, it makes sense that he would want a clearly defined aim. As it stands, The Bad Batch is still finding its way in this newly formed Empire. That lack of direction and a clear purpose is not something Crosshair can comfortably comprehend.
In the two-part season one finale, Crosshair does temporarily reunite with the team to escape Kamino. He even goes as far as to save Omega from drowning. This seems like his “throw Palpatine down a shaft moment.”. Alas, it is not. “None of this changes anything,” he declares. To an extent he’s right. He’s just looking in the wrong direction. As Omega tells him, “You’re still their brother, Crosshair. You’re my brother too.”
Crosshair’s fate, and the fate of Clone Force 99 as a whole, will likely be dependent upon the answers to the questions surrounding Omega. Chief among those questions is why she was created in the first place. As Cut Laquane says in episode two, “The Kaminoans don’t create without a purpose. What’s hers?”
The answer to that is unclear, but there are breadcrumbs on the trail to that answer. For one, Omega is one of two sources of Jango Fett’s original genetic material, the other being Alpha, a.k.a Boba Fett. If clone development and experimentation is to continue, her DNA will be integral. Along with that, she was the first member of The Bad Batch to be created. In the season final she tells Crosshair that she was lonely before “you four were created.” Jango Fett was still alive when Omega was created, so why did the Kaminoans see the need to create her? Did Omega’s creation directly lead to the creation of Hunter, Tech, Crosshair, and Wrecker? Or was she but step one in a larger plan to create the perfect clone?
The answer is beyond unclear right now, but what is clear is that Omega is special. She is a crack shot despite never holding a blaster, can seemingly read Crosshair’s emotions and intentions on multiple occasions, and is a strategic mastermind. In the galactic chess game being played between The Batch, Empire, Kaminoans, and burgeoning Rebellion, Omega is the king.
The Role of Cloning and Behavior Modification
While Crosshair and Omega are the critical dominoes of The Bad Batch story, every Star Wars story must be considered within the context of the larger galaxy. As it stands, that galaxy is in the midst of its darkest and most precarious transition. The Republic is now the Empire, names are being replaced by chain codes, and clones are being rapidly phased out in favor of conscription.
Palpatine is no fool, though, and is showing the rock in his hand so the galaxy misses the knife at their throat. By replacing the clones with conscripted citizens, the Emperor is wiping clones from history in the same way he did the Jedi. This will allow him to continue the clone experimentation that will lead to his “resurrection” and Rey’s eventual birth. Links to this have been spread throughout the post-Rise of Skywalker canon, with both Din Djarin and Omega herself discovering green vats harkening to Snoke’s test tube womb.
But that might not be all he’s doing. At the beginning of the series Tarkin is testing Crosshair’s behavior modification chip to see if it can be altered to make him more to the Empire’s liking. A liking of which may be connected to the Death Troopers first seen in Rogue One, as Crosshairs Imperial armor and theirs are the same. He could be the first in a new line of modified or enhanced individuals programmed to be as loyal to the Empire as the clones were to the Republic. Which would mean that the Empire needs Omega’s DNA to structurally rebuild the genetic makeup of the stormtroopers. An organic inhibitor chip, if you will.
In the final scene of season one, Nala Se is brought to an Imperial science facility, likely in order to make such modifications possible. She is told by a scientist in the same uniform as Dr. Pershing, the Imperial scientist who experiments on Grogu, “The Empire has big things planned for you.” Season two will surely reveal those plans and much more as the Empire reshapes the galaxy, The Bad Batch, and our understanding of the Star Wars as a whole.