Star Wars is a space opera, but it’s also so much more. This galaxy far away is also full of action, from Luke piloting his X-wing trying to pinpoint the exhaust port to the countless lightsaber battles to the occasional chase scene. And in Episode 4, The Bad Batch one-ups one of the best chases in Star Wars history with a surprising new twist.
In Episode 4, bounty hunter (and future Mandalorian guest star) Fennec Shand is sent after Omega, the newest member of the Bad Batch. She manages to befriend the young clone, but Hunter soon realizes the danger and chases after her. The action comes to a head with a high-speed chase through the skyway on the planet Pantora.
It’s a great climax for a half-hour TV episode, but its obvious inspiration was used in quite a different way. In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan and Anakin are chasing Zem Wessel, a changeling bounty hunter who attempted to kill Padmé Amidala. In the multi-layered skyways of Coruscant, the two Jedi attempted to track down the assassin but fail to get any information.
Both chases are dynamic, with characters leaping (or falling) from one ship to another. Both involve bounty hunters with connections to the Fetts. Both have disappointing results (Fennec Shand gets away from Hunter). But there is one huge difference that makes this new chase even better.
The Bad Batch aren’t Jedi.
The non-Force sensitivity of clones has long been a point of contention— that’s how beings like Snoke came to be. But more importantly, the Bad Batch don’t have lightsabers. No weapon can go against a lightsaber unless it’s another lightsaber. (Or a Beskar spear, but that won’t be introduced until The Mandalorian in about 30 years).
In Attack of the Clones, Anakin shoved his lightsaber into the windshield of Zam’s speeder, but the lightsaber is knocked out of his hand and caught by Obi-Wan in the speeder behind. This is done for the sake of the story because the lightsaber is too powerful a weapon for hand-to-hand combat with a Clawdite armed with nothing but a blaster and a sniper rifle.
In The Bad Batch, there are no lightsabers to be seen. Instead, this chase scene is just a confrontation between two people who are equally skilled in battle. This is far more intriguing than any Jedi vs. civilian fight in the flagship Star Wars films.
This chase scene isn’t without its own flaws, however. While the Attack of the Clones chase ends in Zam’s death, there was no chance of that happening in The Bad Batch because we see Fennec Shand in The Mandalorian decades later in her timeline. So the stakes aren’t as high as they could be, but the equal match-up between Fennec and Hunter makes up for that.
It may seem like Star Wars isn’t Star Wars without lightsaber action, but the benefit of the franchise branching out is we get to see characters who aren’t Force-sensitive superheroes, just people trying to navigate a galaxy ruled over by a new Empire.
The Bad Batch is now streaming on Disney+.