The Book of Boba Fett has come and gone, and with it, an interesting legacy. The series wasn't a home run for many fans by any stretch, but there were individual moments, a few extended sequences, and countless incredible cameos that left a long-standing impression. One of the figures to make a surprise appearance was a Duros bounty hunter that enthusiasts of The Clone Wars have come to know quite well: Cad Bane.
Warning - This article contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett.
In "Chapter 6 - From the Desert Comes a Stranger," a stranger in the sandy distance strolled toward Freetown in the blurry sunlight of Tatooine. Watch any fan reaction online, and it's abundantly clear that everyone knew Cad Bane was entering the fold based on the silhouette of his cowboy hat alone. It helps that Bane had been rumored to appear in the series for months, but the impact of his arrival still held significant weight.
While the bounty hunter was in Freetown to tell Cobb Vanth to pound sand on behalf of the Pykes, there was a more personal motive behind his taking the job: he had a score to settle with Boba Fett. His line about the crime lord being a cold-blooded killer wasn't just a warning to the marshal of Freetown to keep his town out of the coming conflict, it was a personal declaration that Bane was seeking vengeance.
Unsurprisingly, Cad Bane played a major role in The Book of Boba Fett's series finale. A character with his pedigree doesn't show up just to negotiate. "Chapter 7" was setting up the inevitable duel between the bounty hunter and Fett from the outset, and there was even a bait and switch pulled early on to make viewers believe a showdown would come earlier than expected.
By the time the final confrontation came about, both Fett and Bane had made it clear they cared little for one another. Bane won the initial shootout but was eventually bested by Boba, and his unwillingness to accept defeat earned him a spear to the gut. The death of Cad Bane didn't come as much of a shock given the way a major duel had been established - someone had to die.
There are many people who are justifiably unhappy with the decision to introduce such a big character into live-action only to whack him an episode later. For those fans, take comfort in the possibility that this doesn't spell the end for Cad Bane. The character would undoubtedly return in The Bad Batch and other stories in the time period leading up to The Book of Boba Fett, and a beeping heart monitor after his stabbing indicated he may have actually survived his big encounter with Boba.
But the future of the old man is currently beyond the point. There's a compelling subtext to the duel between Boba and Bane that's alluded to a few times, and it goes back to their younger years. An extensive breakdown is in order to get to the bottom of the rivalry, which necessitates taking a look back to a time period that Lucasfilm may not quite be finished with.
The First & Final Showdowns
As fate would have it, the story between Boba Fett and Cad Bane began and ended on Tatooine. The Maker liked to say "it's like poetry; it rhymes," and that was something Dave Filoni undoubtedly had in mind when the story for The Book of Boba Fett was being developed.
When the two bounty hunters first encountered one another in The Clone Wars, Boba was still on the rise, whereas Bane was the big man. Unless the "Dark Disciple" arc aired first, this would have been the first time fans got a look at Boba Fett in his iconic armor in the animated series. At that time, it was clean and lacked the experience it would later endure.
Cad Bane would be the first one to scuff the armor up.
After a small (and unsuccessful) insurrection led by Boba, the other bounty hunters on the mission agreed the kid should be given an opportunity to best Bane. While the Duros boast about being faster in The Book of Boba Fett, it was a dead tie in Clone Wars. Both men nailed their targets directly in the head, leaving lasting damage.
For Bane, a metal patch over part of his forehead was needed following the duel. The Bad Batch confirmed that the events had indeed transpired by revealing the patch on Bane's head during his brief appearance. Boba Fett's armor took the hit for him - specifically, his helmet. The dent in the beskar helmet was left by Bane's shot, displaying how skilled he was. That mark was the first of many to come for the future crime lord.
There's an unspoken hatred between the two in "Chapter 7," something deeper than the barbs they trade prior to getting into showdown mode. Having their big confrontation result in a tie ate away at the two of them over the years, especially Bane. He's roughly 70 years old when he aids the Pykes in Mos Espa, and even then his involvement is more motivated by personal reasons than an interest in collecting a shiny coin for his services. He needs to prove to himself that he's the best.
Boba Fett is defined by his moral compass, even though he didn't show it during the reign of the Empire. The unfinished Clone Wars arc indicates that his motive for stopping Bane is leaving innocent people out of a harmful situation. It's the same thing that drives him to protect the citizens of Mos Espa, though why he feels connected to that particular city is a mystery. Everything instilled in Boba by his father is applied to both duels - that's the angle eluding Bane.
But it was his time with the Tusken Raiders that ultimately gave Boba the edge.
When the time comes for the final showdown, there's nothing to stop the inevitable. Boba's rancor is off terrorizing people on the other side of the city, the Pyke enforcers are largely wiped out, and the crime lords behind the attack are in the process of being dealt with. It's just Boba Fett and Cad Bane.
Bane proves that he's still got the quick draw. Perhaps he handed himself an advantage by riling Boba up over the truth about the demise of his tribe - that it was the Pykes who had the group massacred. All the same, he knocked the crime lord's rifle free, and it wasn't long until Fett was on the ground. Bane yanked off Boba's helmet, which was as symbolic as it was efficient to go in for the kill. Jango's armor and teaching wouldn't be able to save his son this time.
And that's where Bane finds himself in trouble, though he doesn't yet know it. Jango Fett and Cad Bane had a history in the old days, and the latter took on a mentor role for Boba in the incomplete bounty hunters arc from Clone Wars. He thinks he can give Lord Fett one final, ironic lesson before he fries him after he's insulted the man's father.
One of the primary themes of Star Wars is family, and that's something that Boba has been searching for since he lost his father. The instincts he learned from his father may not have been enough to earn a victory, but his other family - the Tusken Raiders - taught him just as much about survival.
In The Mandalorian, fans got to see Boba's proficiency with a gaffi stick on full display, the result of the training he underwent in flashbacks from earlier episodes of The Book of Boba Fett. Those skills were undoubtedly going to have a payoff later in the series, and a duel against Bane in the finale was the most appropriate moment. It's something Cad never could have prepared for, the last thing he'd possibly anticipate as he played out the rematch in his head for two decades.
Whether Bane turns out to be dead is irrelevant. The showdown between him and Fett proved that Boba had grown over the years while Bane had remained stagnant. Stuck in his own complacency, he became arrogant and was unable to adapt to an unexpected situation. Boba used his time on Tatooine with the Tuskens to learn and evolve, reading to the moment where the learner finally became the master.
There's such a rich backstory between Boba and Cad, something that adds so much to the last shootout between the two. It's easy enough to describe the main gist of it and how it influenced The Book of Boba Fett's outcome, but it would be even better to see it. And one has to think that Star Wars fans may get that opportunity in the near future.
Will the Clone Wars Arc Be Completed?
There's an unending hunger for content set during The Clone Wars, and there will always be until everything that went unfinished sees the light of day. While Season 7 was a massive hit on Disney+ and the Siege of Mandalore arc served as the perfect conclusion to the series, there are still a number of tales worth being told.
Right at the top of the list is the bounty hunter arc, and the importance of seeing it fully realized in animation has grown significantly given the events of The Book of Boba Fett. With the latest live-action series providing the conclusion to the rivalry between Cad Bane and Boba Fett, it seems only natural that fans get the opportunity to see the beginning of it as well.
While Dave Filoni has previously ruled out future seasons of The Clone Wars, there have been rumors that some of the unfinished arcs may be adapted into animated movies. If there were ever a time to do this, it would be now. Boba Fett remains highly relevant, and with Cad Bane still under the spotlight despite his death, there would be a mass appeal for an extended film that could tell the story of the arc in one go.
It's important that viewers see Boba Fett's morality didn't come out of nowhere - he's always been bound by his honor. Even more imperative is demonstrating how he earned the respect of his peers as the notorious bounty hunter he turned out to be and why the relationship he has with Bane is significant. Boba makes a point to mention that he's not a young boy anymore to Cad, but the average viewer - and even many Star Wars fans - don't know the context behind this.
There's also clearly something that happens in the arc that gives Cad Bane reason to believe Boba is the cold-blooded killer he says he is. Part of the point he was trying to prove to the crime lord was that he would always be a killer at heart and couldn't walk away from his past. What happened the first time the two were together on Tatooine to make this such a sticking point for Bane?
While the final outcome of the arc is known, what happened during the build-up to its conclusion has never been disclosed. The unfinished footage depicting the shootout was first revealed by Dave Filoni at Star Wars Celebration Orlando in 2017, and at the time, he said it was among the last of what his team could find that hadn't already been shared. But that may have been the only thing worth sharing with an audience; the skeleton of the entire arc must be sitting around on a hard drive somewhere still.
It's also worth noting that at the time, Cad Bane was presumed to have died when he was shot by Boba. In some ways, The Clone Wars' premature cancelation opened the door for more storytelling opportunities - like tying things in with The Book of Boba Fett. The unfinished arc also would have seen the debut of Bane's ship, the Justifier, which has now been given a place in The Bad Batch. There are many ways bringing the story to life can benefit the galaxy far, far away at large.
The piece could drop directly on Disney+, perhaps followed by some other arcs that would benefit the overall narrative by being completed. It's possible that part of the confrontation could be hashed out in The Bad Batch, though, it would have to be in some sort of flashback since Bane's metal plate proves the big event has already happened. Having the beginning and end of the story depicted on screen would close the book of Boba and Bane's story, and doing a special for The Clone Wars is the only way to accomplish that.
It's still fun to watch the initial duel between the two, even if it's incomplete. For those who want to see Boba earn his wings, enjoy the unfinished clip from The Clone Wars below:
The Book of Boba Fett is now streaming on Disney+.