The Bad Batch is Finally Wrapping Up a Very Weird Palpatine Scheme

Where has the Zillo Beast been keeping itself?

Star Wars

By the time Rey meets a decrepit version of Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker, he’s well over 100 years old. Palpatine has been obsessed with cloning technology for at least half his life, and the seeds of his seemingly inexplicable return go all the way back to before Attack of the Clones. There are many strange pieces to the puzzle, including slain Jedi masters we barely met (Sifo-Dyas), backup Sith apprentices (Darth Tyrannus), and a massive monster called the Zillo Beast. Back in April 2010, The Beast made a splash in The Clone Wars, and now, 14 years later, it's made a forceful comeback.

As The Bad Batch races toward its series finale, the Zillo Beast has resurfaced, not just as a plot device to help Omega break out of Tantiss Base, but also as the ultimate Easter egg to help make sense of Palpatine’s many cloning schemes. Spoilers ahead for The Bad Batch Season 3, Episode 14, “Flash Strike.”

While most of “Flash Strike” focuses on Echo infiltrating Tantiss Base, the final shot pulls back the curtain on the biggest monster The Bad Batch has faced yet: the Zillo Beast. Nearly every episode this season has pitted our scrappy ex-Clone Troopers against some kind of classic monster, from the Slither Vines to the Snow Wryms to something that looked like Bor Gullet from Rogue One. And back in Season 2’s “Metamorphosis,” a cloned Zillo Beast was found in a wrecked Imperial starship. The Empire managed to capture it, and we now know it ended up at Tantiss Base, which is why Omega recognizes it at the end of this episode. But why does the Empire care about the monster?

The Zillo Beast is Palpatine’s xenomorph

The Zillo Beast running wild on Coruscant in a 2010 episode of The Clone Wars.


If we think of Tatniss Base as the Empire’s version of Alien’s Weyland-Yutani, then the Zillo Beast is the xenomorph. The Empire wants to study and weaponize its terrifying traits. Back in The Clone Wars episode “The Zillo Beast,” Palpatine claimed he wanted the creature captured to help augment the Army of the Republic’s defenses and weaponry. Of course, that’s not the only thing Palpatine wanted it for. Clearly, the seemingly indestructible monster’s DNA is part of Palpatine’s plan to live forever.

Project Necromancer has a lot of moving parts. We know Dr. Hemlock wants to harvest blood samples from children with high midichlorian counts, which seems to connect to the need for Palpatine’s clone body to be Force-sensitive. But we don’t know exactly what role the Zillo Beast plays. Does Palpatine also want his body to be impervious to blaster fire? Does the Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker contain traces of the Zillo Beast? What about Snoke? Is he partially descended from the Zillo Beast?

As The Bad Batch finishes all its storylines, the specter of Palpatine’s cloning scheme looms large. On some level, the Zillo Beast is a huge metaphor for how the clones support Star Wars’ overall mythology. When you start to look at who really changed the galaxy across all the shows and films, the reality is that many important characters are clones. And so even in a show where rogue clones fight monsters, the finale seems to be pitting the Bad Batch against a monster who, like them, is a lonely and misunderstood duplicate of a creature that no longer exists.

The Bad Batch streams on Disney+.

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