Warning - This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 8.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is the latest series from Lucasfilm Animation, taking place after the events of Order 66 and The Revenge of the Sith.
Following its action-packed debut and loss of clone trooper Crosshair to the inhibitor chip's control, The Bad Batch's subsequent episodes have primarily focused on the relationship between Clone Force 99 and young female clone Omega.
But upon the release of Episode 8 titled "Reunion," the sixteen-episode season has officially reached its halfway point and introduced both new stakes and an old threat.
CLONE WARS BOUNTY HUNTER RETURNS
After scrappers on Bracca report the location of Clone Force 99, Admiral Rampart dispatches Crosshair to dispose of the clones. But this concerns Kaminoan Prime Minister Lama Su since the Empire isn't aware of Omega, and she's key to Kamino remaining relevant to the Empire.
While it was suspected that Lama Su commissioned Fennec Shand to capture Omega, his comments in this episode not only seem to confirm this but also that he's willing to hire more bounty hunters saying, "As long as one of these bounty hunters deliver the young clone intact, that is all that should concern us."
And in Episode 8, audiences get to see “one of these" bounty hunters, and he happens to be one that fans of Star Wars Animation know well.
Cad Bane, a calculating and formidable gunslinging bounty hunter, first appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars where he proved himself time and time again a worthy opponent of the Jedi.
And in The Bad Batch, he proves he hasn't lost his touch successfully defeating Hunter and capturing Omega.
Known for his signature wide-brimmed cowboy hat, Bane worked for Sith Lord Darth Sidious on various occasions and even infiltrated the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to obtain a list of Force-sensitive children.
Much like Thrawn, Cad Bane is a fan-favorite villain and one for who Dave Filoni originally had bigger plans. At Star Wars Celebration in 2017, Filoni admitted he originally planned for a classic Western-inspired showdown between young Boba Fett and Cade Bane which would be the cause of that dent in Boba Fett's helmet.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS
The fact Bane is back is a surprise few fans saw coming, but it's also a welcome one.
But Bane's past actions, coupled with Filoni's former plans for the character, could shed some light on the plot of a live-action series and another that's to come.
Both The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian have shown that Palpatine had an interest in force-sensitive cloning. If Omega is actually force-sensitive, it makes sense for the Emperor to utilize Bane since he has a history of hunting down force-sensitive kids and could also confirm why Moff Gideon wanted Grogu in The Mandalorian.
It's also worth noting that Filoni's plans for a showdown featuring Cad Bane actually did make it on screen.
Towards the end of this episode of The Bad Batch, Bane and Hunter square off in a quick-draw duel, very much like what Filoni once described.
But even though the scene didn't include Boba Fett, that doesn't mean he won't appear in the future.
Since bounty hunter Fennec Shand is set to appear in The Book of Boba Fett this December, maybe Filoni has plans to bring his Cad Bane to live-action as well?
While fans will have to wait until December to find out, for now, Bane is back and maybe to stay.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch airs on Fridays on Disney+.