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Episode 5 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch gives unexpected backstory to a big character
Now that the heroes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch have refueled and repaired their ship, they need some answers. None of them (all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) liked last week’s run-in with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) so it’s time to figure out who sent her and why.
Before they set out, they thankfully run through some new ground rules with Omega (Michelle Ang). She proves to be more than capable and ends up letting a future legend loose.
***WARNING: From this point forward there will be spoilers for Episode 5 of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. If you haven’t watched yet, hop on that Brezak and fly far, far away, fly outta here Dewey.***
The episode is titled “Rampage” and that turns out to be most fitting, because that’s exactly what we get. We don’t feel bad for the ones who are receiving the brunt of the titular rampage, because they are Zygerrian slavers. They are looking to reclaim everything they lost on Kadavo back in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. They're the wooooorrrrst.
They fit right in with the “scum and villainy” vibe of this episode. It takes place on Ord Mantell, which fans of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back will remember as a place referenced by Han Solo… one where he ran into a bounty hunter. The planet is referenced in many other canon books and comics, appearing in Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, and recently in Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #4. Though it was also the main location for two short episodes of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, this is the best look we’ve gotten yet.
Everything starts with the Batch getting a side quest for a Trandoshan woman named Cid, played by Cheers legend Rhea Perlman. If they go and rescue a captive named Muchi, she’ll give them information on the bounty hunter who was after them. Everyone thinks that a little Falleen girl is Muchi, but she’s not. Muchi is the creature that Omega frees from a cage after the Batch is temporarily kidnapped by the Zygerrians, and it turns out to be an adolescent rancor.
Who is Cid working for? Bib Fortuna, majordomo to Jabba the Hutt. At the end of the episode, Muchi the tamed rancor leaves with him. He’s helped the Batch make quick work of the slavers, beat the kriff out of a flying Brezak, and even wrestled Wrecker until both of them were exhausted.
This can be seen one of two ways: either Jabba the Hutt always needs to have a pet rancor around and this is one of many that he’s had over the years, or this is the very same rancor that features in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. If it is the latter, then it’s a little heartbreaking. Muchi is lovable here — Omega rides on his back when they bring him into town. There’s respect flowing all around.
Years from now, Luke Skywalker is going to crush Muchi to death with a giant gate. No real respect flowing there, though Malakili famously cries about it. There is crying in rancor murder, just not baseball.
Everyone and everything in Star Wars has a backstory, and though some sourcebooks in the West End Games Star Wars series gave a non-canon history of Jabba's rancor many years ago, this is likely the true canon tale of how the rancor wound up with him.
The rancor has a name, and his name is Muchi. From a certain point of view, Luke Skywalker brutally murders him.
What’s next for the Batch? Cid will probably be a source of more side quests. The group is gonna need money, and she’s got her fingers on the scum and villainy pulse. As far as this episode goes, she’s able to identify Fennec Shand, but that’s it. She doesn’t know who sent her. It’ll take a little longer for the Batch to realize that the Kaminoans are behind it. We don’t know that for certain, but come on. Who else would have? Tan Divo?
The next time we see Malakili cry, we may cry with him. He’s not just crying over some big, stupid Star Wars monster. He’s (probably) crying over Muchi, the rancor who was briefly Omega’s friend.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch deploys new episodes on Disney+ every Friday. The bounty hunter you ran into on Ord Mantell won’t change that.