Star Wars Canon Just Revealed How The Empire Made Crime Worse
The galaxy was totally safer before Palpatine took over.
You’d think the super-authoritarian Imperial forces would have curbed organized crime. But, what The Bad Batch just asserted is, Palpatine totally made it worse. While Star Wars fans doubtlessly have warm feelings about the various wretched hives of scum and villainy throughout the saga, the number of horrible crime bosses in the faraway galaxy seems to have grown frighteningly — all because of one event.
In The Bad Batch Season 2, Omega and her space dads, the remaining members of Clone Force 99, continue to operate as guns for hire and to navigate a galaxy filled with horror. While some of these problems come straight from the Empire — specifically Palpatine and his new Stormtrooper program — other problems come directly from the criminal underworld of the Star Wars galaxy.
In the episode “Extraction,” Omega meets Benni, a young human who lives in perpetual servitude to a low-level gangster named Mokko. Benni’s relationship with Mokko is similar to Rey’s situation with Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens: Benni works as a scavenger for Mokko but gets peanuts in return. Benni has been so mistreated by Mokko, that when he steals the Batch’s ship, the Marauder, he doesn’t even think to take it off-planet, but instead, brings it to Mokko for salvage. This would be like if Rey had found the Millennium Falcon, and sold it for food money instead of leaving the planet.
Now, Mokko is operating several decades before the time of Rey, and at this point, the politics and economics of the galaxy are in flux. Order 66 has just happened, the Empire is starting to show its true colors, and the formal Rebellion is still roughly 15 years away, if not a little bit more. At the end of “Extraction,” Omega and the Batch help liberate Benni and others who were beaten down by Mokko. But in the end, Omega says something very telling. As they leave, she mentions to Tech, “The Empire’s not the only threat... We’ve seen so many in the galaxy like Mokko...”
It may seem like a small comment, but it actually suggests a much larger truth about the Star Wars galaxy in the Palpatine-era. Seemingly, the Empire made crime way worse.
A New Hope canon supports The Bad Batch
In the Death Star conference room scene in A New Hope, we learn many things: how the Emperor just got rid of the Senate, why the Empire was wrong about the resources of the Rebellion. But, perhaps, most crucially, Palpatine didn’t really care about what went on in specific star systems. As Tarkin says in A New Hope, the “regional governors now have direct control.”
In sense, this means that Palpatine both decentralized and consolidated all his power simultaneously. In theory, the Empire, and the might of the Imperial fleet, combined with the Death Star, kept everyone afraid enough to listen to Palpatine. But the nitty-gritty of actual local governance was pretty much out of Papatine’s hands. At the start of Andor Season 1, we saw just how decentralized all of this was. Ferrix and Morlana-One are initially not even under direct Imperial regulation, but instead, laws are enforced by a local security force called the Preox-Morlana Corporate Authority. Basically, planets like Ferrix are left to their own devices unless there’s some reason for the Empire to pay attention.
The Bad Batch takes place well over a decade before Andor, but it’s pretty clear that all sorts of crime bosses are cropping up everywhere. This is what Omega is noticing, and it’s a good point.
The Darth Maul Factor
In some senses, this is all Palpatine’s fault, but, at the end of The Clone Wars, Maul also sent all of his crime syndicates into hiding. By the time of Solo, we know that Crimson Dawn is ascendant, and Maul is pulling the strings behind the scenes. But, that’s still about nine years or so in the future for The Bad Batch. So, is the rampant disorganized crime in The Bad Batch era all because Darth Maul isn’t around to organize that crime?
It’s unclear what the status is of the various crime syndicates at this point in the Star Wars timeline. But, one thing is for sure, The Bad Batch has proven that the Star Wars galaxy has always been horribly unsafe. But perhaps, some time periods were more dangerous than others.