The Bad Batch: Metamorphosis Thoughts

The Bad Batch has another lead on a score when a downed ship from the Empire lands on an unknown planet. Things go downhill from there and lead to the team’s discovery of the reason behind the destruction of their homeworld. And it brings along an old The Clone Wars arc for the ride.

Disney Synergy 

If you know the Alien franchise, you know this poor trooper is done for | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

In 2019, Disney made their latest monstrous acquisition with 20th Century Fox Studios. While many were discussing Disney finally getting X-Men and Fantastic Four to incorporate them into the MCU, there were many other franchises that Disney scooped up in that purchase. One of those was the beleaguered Alien franchise, and Disney is now releasing info on their planned reboot. 

But Lucasfilm took inspiration from Alien, not just from an eery ship’s opening mise en scène, but from the creature design. Yes, the result turns out to be a VERY familiar design, but the initial cranial shape of the creature resembles a Xenomorph. 

Considering that Alien is the premiere Science Fiction Horror franchise, it makes sense that elements would make their way into Star Wars. In the absence of Darth Vader and (thanks to Andor) the Empire, the creatures are the scariest thing in Star Wars. Glad to see that 20th Century Fox (Star Wars’ original home) is influencing Disney in different ways.

Attack of the Zillo Beast Part Two

Here we go again | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

As part of my Whatever Happened to?… series, I wrote about Sionver Boll and the Zillo Beast Cloning project. To recap, in The Clone Wars season two, there was an arc where a Zillo Beast native to the planet Malastare was taken from its home and transported to Coruscant per Chancellor Palpatine’s Orders. After the Beast recognized how evil Palpatine was, it escaped and rampaged through Coruscant in a scene that mirrors King Kong. The Zillo Beast almost successfully killed Palpatine, but the Jedi saved the Chancellor, and, ultimately, the creature was killed (if only they knew). 

So the Republic saved the real monster, and the dead Zillo Beast was left with Boll, a Bivall scientist ordered by Palpatine to clone the creature. 

And that thread has remained loose until now. It makes sense that a cloning project return in a series about the clones. And after the destruction of Kamino, Nala Se’s research is more valuable than ever.

This Zillo Beast starts small but deadly as it kills the Imperial crew and attacks the Bad Batch only to escape (thanks, Tech!) into a forest and towards the power supply of a village. It is attracted to electrical energy and feeds on it to grow. We do not know it is the same creature until Tech makes an important discovery in the ship’s database. The reveal is brilliant and a nice treat for The Clone Wars viewers with great memories. The creature absorbs the electricity from the power grid and sprouts into the recognizable form from The Clone Wars. The imagery is even similar as it tries to attack the Imperial ships surrounding it. 

But this time, the Imperials have a strategy of quickly debilitating the creature by destroying the power supply and then stunning it to sleep. It is one of the most efficient things I have seen the Empire achieve. The Imperials get their cargo and take the villagers who bore witness somewhere unknown.

The connection between the technology used to clone the Zillo Beast is unclear- was Boll’s cloning technology different from the Kaminoans? Was the abandoned Kamino lab from the episode “Bounty Lost” involved in cloning the Zillo Beast? 

Where one thread ends, another begins. And we might still not have seen the last of the Zillo Beast.

Goodbye Rampart, Hello Doctor Hemlock

Star Wars loves its’ gaunt Imperials | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

The series needs a new antagonist, with Rampart now behind Imperial bars (supposedly). Now, we might have one more than 2/3rds of the way through season two. Doctor Royce Hemlock arrives on Mount Tantiss, and his first order of business is to talk to Nala Se. At first, he tries flattery, telling her that her work will live on past Kamino. When she bluntly tells him she knows about Palpatine’s ambitions and has no intention of cooperating, he quietly threatens her. 

But the writers know that Nala Se’s well-being is insufficient to consider Hemlock a genuine threat. The only way to do that is to put him in direct conflict with our heroes. I both respect and am irritated with how they chose to bring Hemlock’s attention to the Bad Batch.

Boo Hoo, Lama Su

Not so dead Lama Su | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

“It must be frustrating to have all the resources but lack the expertise to achieve your goal.”

The Bad Batch, Episode 11: Metamorphosis

It is too good of a line not to highlight, but why is it coming from Lama Su? Why is Lama Su still alive? His implied death at the hands of Rampart in “War-Mantle.” It was a great scene and underscores what is truly valuable: a politician or a scientist?

However, Lama Su was kept alive to bring the Empire’s attention back to Omega because he is the only person who knows Nala Se’s weakness. We could find out at The Bad Batch panel at Star Wars Celebration in May whether that was always the decision or if they purposefully left his fate open. 

For now, Lama Su is alive and playing the politician, making deals for his benefit at the expense of others. 

If he does get away without consequences, it will be one of the most realistic things that have happened in all of Star Wars. 

Unlike its maker, this cloned Zillo Beast lives to fight another day | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

There has been a sparing use of Cid this season, but I am surprised that Phee has not resurfaced after her treasure-hunting episode. I can start to see certain things fall into place from the other episodes, but I am unsure how Phee and the events from “Entombed” will fit into this season.

Scorch, a Clone Commando, makes another appearance here. Is there a more significant part for him in the future? He is one of the few clones we keep seeing without an arc.

In the end, Hunter decides to send all of the information they retrieved from the downed ship about the cloning project to Rex and Echo. It is the most decisive act of rebellion that the group has done because they have discovered something the Empire (and Emperor) is trying mighty hard to keep a secret. What will happen to all those villagers who witness the Zillo Beast? Nothing good.