Chain codes are relatively new in the Star Wars universe. When Din Djarin is first assigned to procure Grogu for the enigmatic “Client” in The Mandalorian, he asks for the chain code. He’s only given the last four digits, which indicate the age of his target. It’s then established that when bounty hunters are given an assignment, they’re given a puck and a chain code.
But how were these chain codes assigned? The answer was revealed in The Bad Batch Episode 2, and it has huge implications for The Mandalorian Season 3.
The Bad Batch episode 2 solves a major Mandalorian mystery
In the second episode of The Bad Batch, Omega and her clone rescuers visit Cut, the deserter clone who settled down on the planet Saleucami and started a family. They’re looking to get off the planet and away from the Empire, but they quickly learn this won’t be possible without chain codes: ID numbers distributed by the Empire to keep tabs on all their citizens.
So while the first time we’ve heard about chain codes may have been in The Mandalorian, they’ve been around just as long as the Empire has. While at first glance the galaxy-wide scope of the ID seemed to be a New Republic system as a way to track criminals just for bounty hunters, now we know every single person in the galaxy has a chain code, from Grogu to Jango Fett.
With this reveal, we now know that the Empire was started with at least some kind of organization, meaning they keep records of every single Empire citizen. The numbers of the chain code reveal key info about the person in question, which explains why Mando couldn’t get any info about Grogu other than the age as all but the last four digits of his chain code had been wiped out.
But with the knowledge that an Empire database exists with all these chain codes somewhere, perhaps this could be used by Din Djarin or Moff Gideon as a way to learn aspects of Grogu’s history that he can’t remember. If Jango Fett’s chain code revealed his history as a Mandalorian foundling, maybe Grogu’s full chain code would detail where he was found and other aspects of his past, if he even has a full chain code at all.
It seems like a chain code is like the galactic social security number; without one, you legally don’t exist. While it seemed like Grogu’s chain code was just partially corrupted, he could have just not been given one in the first place while he hid from his captors. Since chain codes are still in use in the New Republic for legal matters, we could see Grogu try to procure one, and therefore reveal at least part of his history.
A decades-old identification number system being established in the Star Wars universe has wide-reaching implications. How could Han Solo smuggle all his wares in the Age of the Empire if interplanetary travel was forbidden without a chain code? Seeing how easily Tech was able to forge chain codes, is there a black market for these things?
The reveal that chain codes are an Empire invention provides both a way for The Mandalorian to explore Grogu’s past in detail, but also establishes just how much the New Republic relied on existing Empire infrastructure when it took over. Sure, they may have taken over the galaxy, but at least they were organized about who they took over.
The Bad Batch is now streaming on Disney+.