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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

The Bad Batch Can Claim Star Wars' Greatest Villain as Its Own

The Bad Batch Season 2 is on its way, and with it comes a chance to explore new and little-used antagonists in the Star Wars saga. Their primary foe will likely remain Crosshair, the renegade former member of the titular Clone Trooper unit now eagerly serving the Empire. But that leaves tons of room for other characters, some of whom have already made their presence known -- and with Andor demonstrating just how menacing rank-and-file Imperial officers can be, the options don't need to include any Dark Force wielders.

Within that equation, Grand Moff Tarkin is a strong option for a long-term antagonist. He remains one of the more underutilized legacy villains in the saga, thanks to his death at the end of Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope and the very long shadow that the late Peter Cushing cast in the role. The Bad Batch can capitalize on that in Season 2 and give Tarkin the treatment he deserves.

Grand Moff Tarkin Is Quieter than the Sith, but Much Scarie

With the exception of the Emperor, no figure in Star Wars has caused more terror and death than Tarkin -- the commander of the Death Star. Tarkin's menace lies in his practicality. He's not so much overtly evil as power-hungry, and because he knows how to leverage the instruments of state to his advantage, he can do far more damage than a Sith Lord. Figures like Darth Vader are consumed by their vendettas and need for personal vengeance. Tarkin doesn't care one way or the other, and his casual sociopathy makes him responsible for genocide. Not even Vader could frighten him.

Despite that, his footprint in Star Wars history is comparatively minor, and his death at The Battle of Yavin permanently terminated his continued participation in the saga. Star Wars: The Clone Wars made little use of him, starting with Season 3, Episode 18, "The Citadel," even though he often served alongside the Jedi as an ally. That was a brilliant way to portray his duplicity and ability to blow with the political wind.

He plays a part in The Bad Batch as well, starting with Season 1, Episode 1, "Aftermath." He quickly establishes himself as a foe of the Clones, dictating terms to the Kaminoans now that the Republic no longer exists and stressing that conscripts can do the same job as Clones at a fraction of the cost. His efforts include an active attempt to kill the Bad Batch during a combat simulation as a way of testing them, as well as overseeing Crosshair's brainwashing to cement his opposition to his former brothers.

Tarkin Is Poised to Be The Bad Batch's Long-Term Nemesis

Tarkin is ideally poised to be a long-term antagonist in Star Wars: The Bad Batch going forward. He makes an adept representative of the Imperial bureaucracy, putting a face on the oppressive autocracy now bearing down on the heroes. His keen political acumen means he's always holding all the cards -- like his effective dismantling of the Kaminoans' protests in "Aftermath" -- and his ultimate destiny at the Battle of Yavin means that the Bad Batch will never effectively defeat him. Perhaps most importantly, he provides balance for Crosshair: pulling the wayward Clone back towards the Empire whenever his brothers come close to getting through. And with comparatively little of Tarkin yet seen on-screen, there's a chance to explore his background and personal connections as well.

The Bad Batch could come up with another Imperial officer to serve in his stead. Andor has shown such figures, and a new antagonist could readily prove to be a hit. But few established characters are so uniquely suited as Tarkin, and there may never be a better opportunity to let him take center stage. The Bad Batch Season 2 is his chance to shine while also making the series better.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2 premieres Jan. 4, 2023 on Disney+.

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