The fate of the bounty hunter who could hold his own against the Jedi during the Clone Wars is unknown and open for speculation.
Of all the bounty hunters in the Star Wars universe, few have managed to be formidable opponents to the Jedi. Jango Fett managed to do some damage before his head was cut off by Jedi Master Mace Windu and Boba Fett almost succeeded in killing Windu as retribution for his father’s death. Ultimately, both their efforts failed; however, one bounty hunter who has a winning record against the Jedi is Cad Bane. Bane was a specialist in fighting Jedi and, therefore, was consistently working under the employment of Darth Sidious and Count Dooku when the Jedi and the Republic were still the dominant power in the galaxy. Even for a Duros, Cad Bane’s look is unique with a wide-brimmed hat, two breathing tubes to be able to operate in various environments, and rocket boots so he never cedes the high ground.
Bane made his first appearance in The Clone Wars episode “Hostage Crisis” and viewers were treated right away to the fact that Bane was a problem for the Jedi, even while working with other infamous bounty hunters like Aurra Sing to free Zero the Hutt from a Coruscant prison. He would go on the appear in twelve episodes, last seen in “Crisis on Naboo” where he attempted, along with an undercover Obi-Wan Kenobi, to kidnap the Chancellor.
As an antagonist, Cad Bane has the most appearances in The Clone Wars outside of Palpatine/Sidious and Count Duko. And, even though new stories from the Clone Wars seem to be taking a break, that doesn’t mean Cad Bane’s story has come to an end given that he makes it out of the series alive. So, let’s discuss where Bane might have gone, and where he might show up next:
He retired with his wealth accumulated from the Clone Wars and is living his best life
Not likely but let us entertain this possibility. Cad Bane did numerous jobs during those three years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and probably several jobs beforehand. It is not far-fetched that he made enough money from those jobs to retire once Darth Sidious completed his goal of nearly eliminating the Jedi and taking control of the Galactic Senate. Post Order 66, the task of hunting down Jedi survivors fell to Darth Vader and the Inquisitors so there was no longer a need for a bounty hunter to navigate within a system where Jedi were tied to the Senate. Plus, while he specialized in fighting Jedi and was able to hold his own, Cad Bane only killed one Jedi (that we know of), Jedi Master Ropal via torture droid.
During the Empire’s reign, bounty hunters were used in certain situations as seen in The Empire Strikes Back and more recently in Rebels, and Cad Bane is nowhere to be found. His only appearances have been within the timeline of the Clone Wars (series and comics) so perhaps his life as a bounty hunter ended with the war.
If this is the case, perhaps he shows up in a comic run that takes place post-Clone Wars or possibly a cameo in an animated series (whether it is The Bad Batch or a future show). It is hard for me to believe that he would be brought to live-action if he was no longer in action as a bounty hunter.
He continued to work for the Empire or other nefarious entities
It is possible that Cad Bane was contracted for missions either by Palpatine or other Imperials, though I find it hard to believe that Darth Vader would not continue to hold the contempt for Bane that Anakin Skywalker held. If he did work for the Empire, it is surprising that he was not featured in Rebels but, perhaps the show wanted to focus less on characters specific to the Age of the Republic and lean more toward the Rebellion. Of course, some characters have carried through both eras (Bo Katan Kryze) and Lucasfilm has retconned Rex into Return of the Jedi, so there could always be other stories created during this time for Bane where his absence can be explained.
An active Cad Bane post-Clone Wars could very well show up in The Bad Batch and, given the storyline might center around a child (possibly a female clone), Cad Bane’s services might still be needed; however, even though Bane has dealt with Jedi, going up against five enhanced clones (which include an expert marksman) seems too much for bounty hunters. There are at least 14 episodes in the season which means about 3-4 arcs so plenty of room for multiple antagonists (Tarkin is one, Fennec is likely another) and it is easier to keep secrets when a production set does not exist.
However, it would be a shame to see a character as popular as Bane not find his way to live-action and Obi-Wan Kenobi could be a good introduction to non-animated viewers. Obi-Wan and Bane went toe-to-toe many times in The Clone Wars and both are familiar with the other’s fighting style. Perhaps the character finds himself on Tatooine and stumbles across Kenobi, who probably has a large bounty on his head. This would be a great way to bring in some Clone Wars history by having Kenobi interact with a character that knows him well. It likely wouldn’t end well for Cad Bane as we know for sure Obi-Wan is getting out of the series alive but it could provide great conflict as the former Jedi focuses on keeping young Luke Skywalker safe. They did release the cast list and, while no one screams “live-action Cad Bane” there are probably a few casting secrets that Lucasfilm is keeping to themselves for now and Cad Bane might be one.
Then there is the possibility of Bane showing up in future seasons of The Mandalorian. It is a show about bounty hunters but also takes place during a time when Imperial remnants are attempting to regain control of territories in the galaxy, and doing so off the radar of the New Republic. The remnants have already listed bounty hunters to track down Grogu but now with the force-sensitive child in the hands of a Jedi, if Grogu or a Jedi’s blood is ever needed again to study what better bounty hunter to enlist than Bane?
Another possibility for a live-action appearance is a series that is due later this year: The Book of Boba Fett. Even though Cad Bane and Boba Fett are only in one scene together in The Clone Wars (when Obi-Wan goes undercover in a prison) there is an untold arc that involved the two bounty hunters. Per a Dave Filoni panel at Star Wars Celebration, there was an unproduced arc involving a young Boba Fett and Cad Bane dispute that resulted in a western-style showdown. Another unproduced arc of The Clone Wars involving Asajj Ventress and the Jedi Quinlan Voss was turned into the basis of the novel Dark Disciple (which I discuss in my previous post, Whatever Happened to Quinlan Vos). So, this is another outlined plot in the vault of Lucasfilm to revisit, either reworked for an older Fett storyline or perhaps played out in flashback. The plot for The Book of Boba Fett might involve key moments in Boba Fett’s life, not just after Return of the Jedi but possibly filling in the gaps between The Clone Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.
Aside from Jedi and Mandalorians, bounty hunters are the most marketable subjects in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian wisely incorporated all three into the show so it is reasonable to think that other Star Wars series will do the same. If Bane makes an appearance soon, expect it to be under the supervision of Dave Filoni which makes The Bad Batch and The Book of Boba Fett more likely (or Rangers of the New Republic if that still happens). Cad Bane is popular and, unlike is his popular Black Series figure, is just sitting on the shelf at Lucasfilm, waiting to cause some trouble.