You know how it is with those wars in the stars. If you have even the slightest inkling that a place seen in a new television series might be related to a place from the old expanded universe, odds are you’re going to be right.
The final episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch’s first season primarily focused on its titular heroes learning that not every family squabble can be solved so easily. The brothers learned that not even escaping the ruins of their homeworld with Crosshair was going to be enough to get him to turn back from the Empire. But it ended with a not-quite cryptic tease beyond the scope of our clones. Kaminoan scientist Nala Se was brought to a mountainous new secret Imperial facility and met by a young scientist very eager for the Kaminoan to continue exploring their work in the Empire’s name. Star Wars fans, being Star Wars fans, immediately got thinking. Not just for the fact that this Imperial scientist was clad in the same kind of medical research uniform as The Mandalorian’s Dr. Pershing, suggesting some kind of connection to the wider series’ intrigue over Palpatine’s true plans. No, they were more interested in the mountain itself—after all, you don’t just include a secret Imperial lab that may or may not be up to some cloning shenanigans and not have those fans wonder where they’ve seen this all before.
“What we’ll say is, 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,” Bad Batch executive producer Jennifer Corbett teased in a new interview with StarWars.com about the show’s plans for the Kaminoan. However, she didn’t have to say much more when accompanying concept art for the episode released alongside the interview confirmed suspicions that Nala Se had taken a trip to the planet Wayland (or Weyland, as it’s noted in the new artwork)—specifically Mount Tantiss itself, an important locale from the old Star Wars expanded universe.
First introduced in Timothy Zahn’s seminal novel Heir to the Empire, Mount Tantiss was one of many secret storehouses of technology, Sith artifacts, and general sinister tat kept by Emperor Palpatine across the galaxy, a reserve of power and knowledge kept largely hidden from the rest of the Empire after his (not so final) death in Return of the Jedi. Mount Tantiss was also home to the crazed, cloned Dark Jedi Joruus C’boath. He guarded the facility and its repository of Spaarti cloning cylinders, flash-clone technology used by Grand Admiral Thrawn to create staff for his fleets. But C’boath usurped Thrawn in turn, using Tantiss as his own base and cloning Luke Skywalker—creating the evil clone Luuke out of genetic data from the hand the young Jedi lost on Cloud City—as part of his own plans to reclaim the Emperor’s legacy. It all ended poorly, of course: Luke and the former Emperor’s hand, Mara Jade, killed Joruus and Luuke in a duel at the heart of Mount Tantiss, and the facility was destroyed in the final battle of the Thrawn campaign by the New Republic.
Obviously, in shifting our view of Mount Tantiss to before the events of Return of the Jedi in Disney and Lucasfilm’s revised canon, not everything about the facility is going to remain the same as we begin to explore it more in The Bad Batch (and perhaps beyond). Time will tell if C’boath and Luuke will make it over alongside the planet and Tantiss. But its appearance, and Star Wars’ newfound fascination with retroactively laying the history for Palpatine’s return in The Rise of Skywalker throughout projects like this, The Mandalorian, and perhaps even future series like the Ahsoka show, makes sense as a connection to leverage. Even if we might get a version with the superfluous cloned “u”s and Spaarti cylinders filed off.
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