Clones, Clones, Clones

Mandalorian Season 3: A sly Bad Batch canon reboot changes everything

The attack of the (evil) clones?

Remember when Leia was worried about another round of clone wars?

In the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, and its two sequels — Dark Force Rising and The Last Command — author Timothy Zahn introduced a whole new world of cloning into the Star Wars mythos. In that Legends canon, clones got an extra vowel in their names, from the mad clone Luuke Skywalker to the wicked Joruus C'baoth.

Now, the place where those clones were born has been made canon once again.

Here’s what the revelation of the planet Wayland means in Star Wars: The Bad Batch and how it could set up The Mandalorian Season 3 in a surprising way. Spoilers ahead for The Bad Batch Season 1 finale, “Kamino Lost”

Official concept art for The Bad Batch reveals this location is totally Mount Tantiss from Legends.Lucasfilm/Chris Madden

Wayland and Mount Tantiss, explained

At the end of The Bad Batch episode, “Kamino Lost,” Nala Se ends up at an Imperial cloning facility. While it might have appeared this was the same cloning spot from Mando Season 2 episode “The Siege,” it turned out to be a different location altogether. Concept art released for “Kamino Lost” confirms this location was none other than Mount Tantiss on the planet Wayland.

In Heir to the Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn raided Wayland for left-over cloning technology. As Mara Jade explained, Mount Tantiss had been one of Palpatine’s secret facilities, which means in both Legends canon and “real” canon, some of the planet’s cloning action was linked to Palpatine’s comeback as a clone. (Which also happens in both Legends and real canon!)

Previously, the real Star Wars canon has mentioned the existence of Wayland, especially during an in-canon game released around The Force Awakens in 2016. But, before the 2021 Bad Batch episode “Kamino Lost,” we hadn’t seen Wayland depicted on screen.

On StarWars.com, Bad Batch writer Jennifer Corbett said: “Where Nala Se is, what Nala Se is doing, should be a mystery to the audience, and we hope to explore that in the upcoming season.” So, this should be a mystery to the audience of The Bad Batch; but, apparently, if you’ve been reading Star Wars books published in the ‘90s, it’s not all that hard to figure out.

Thrawn and Anakin back in the day.Lucasfilm/Den Rey Books

How Wayland could set up Mando Season 3

Because so much of the mystery in Mando Season 1 and Season 2 revolves around cloning, the existence of this Imperial cloning facility is relevant for one specific reason: Grand Admiral Thrawn.

In the Mando episode “The Jedi,” we learn that Ahsoka is looking for Thrawn, which checks out with the Rebels timeline, because Ezra Bridger and Thrawn went missing together, lost in hyperspace, at the end of that series. But because Thrawn had ties to Wayland in Legends canon, it stands to reason its sudden reappearance in the real canon is a big deal.

Here’s some dot-connecting:

  • The Empire is making clones on Wayland in roughly 19 BBY (just like in Legends)
  • In both Rebels and Mando, Grand Admiral Thrawn is a big deal
  • Thrawn’s (possible) reappearance around 9 ABY (Mando Season 2) dovetails with Legends
  • Palpatine’s cloning shenanigans in Legends are so closely aligned with events in real canon that the two canons are practically blended

Meaning: In Mandalorian Season 3, it’s reasonable to draw connections between Palpatine’s contingency plan and Baby Yoda’s blood. But, on top of that, if the real canon is now using the mythology of Wayland, Mandalorian Season 3 (or Ashoka or The Book of Boba Fett) easily opens the door for other story elements connected to Heir to the Empire The longshot here would be the bonkers clone Luuke Skywalker, which could lend credence to the admittedly out-there theory that Luke in “The Rescue” was actually an imposter.

Joruus C’baoth in the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of Heir to the Empire.Lucasfilm/Dark Horse Comcis

But there are more reasonable, close-to-home possibilities. If Thrawn appears in Mando Season 3, suddenly, Joruus C'baoth could be rebooted into the canon, too. And because the world of The Mandalorian already adheres closely to the criminal underworld of Star Wars, all this Heir to the Empire stuff is a hop, skip, and a jump over to the mercenary Mara Jade.

Reconciling the Legends canon with the real canon of post-Disney Star Wars was never a stated goal for anyone at Lucasfilm. And yet, considering that new Star Wars installments have people talking about Thrawn and Palpatine going full Dark Empire while other folks visit the cloning planet Wayland, the galaxy is partying like it’s 1993. And that means an eventual appearance of a bad boy clone of Luke Skywalker isn’t that outrageous. In fact, it might turn into a safe bet.

The Bad Batch is streaming now on Disney+.

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