Since the debut episode (“The Aftermath”) of Dave Filoni’s latest animated series, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars fans have drawn comparisons between Clone Force 99’s leader, Hunter, and young female clone, Omega and Grogu and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in The Mandalorian.
The similarities are easy to see. Both Djarin and Hunter (Dee Bradley Baker) are initially somewhat unwilling participants in their charges’ upbringings — Djarin wouldn’t refer to Grogu as anything but “The Asset” for a brief period of time — but after just a short while, both men become the father figures Grogu and Omega need in their lives. And, the affection is returned by the foundling and the young clone, who share mysterious pasts.
By The Mandalorian Season 2 finale episode, Djarin is referring to Grogu as “my son” and even removes his beskar helmet so the 50-year-old infant can touch his face for the first time before leaving to complete his Jedi Order training with Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (CGI Mark Hamill).
Hunter, in the eight episodes we’ve seen so far, has followed a similar trajectory with Omega. The clone trooper has gone from reluctant caregiver to beloved father, going to great lengths to protect the seemingly Force-sensitive little girl.
As a matter of fact, in the mid-season episode of The Bad Batch Season 1, Episode 8 (“Reunion”), Dave Filoni and his team just perfectly foreshadowed Grogu and The Mandalorian’s relationship 30 years before The Mandalorian takes place in the Star Wars timeline.
While Clone Force 99 — Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Echo, and Omega — are busy dealing with the fact that their former squad member, Crosshair, is now an Imperial Commander who has tracked them to the junkyard planet of Bracca, they don’t realize they are also facing another imminent threat.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels bounty hunter Cad Bane (Corey Burton) is back, and he’s been sent by the Kaminoans to return Omega to Kamino “intact”. This proves that she has serious value to the Kaminoan government, just as Grogu does to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and Doctor Pershing (Omid Abtahi).
Just like Grogu was taken out from under Djarin’s nose from the Jedi “Seeing Stone” on planet Tython when Gideon’s Dark Trooper squad showed up, Omega is captured by Bane while an unsuspecting Hunter is suffering from a blaster shot to the chest plate.
Intriguingly, Bane has just succeeded where another bounty hunter, a young Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) had failed in Episode 4 (“Cornered”). Shand, of course, is also in The Mandalorian — she and Star Wars legend Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) allow Djarin to join them on Slave I to launch a daring rescue mission to retrieve Grogu.
This begs the question, could Shand somehow be turned to help the band of “defective” clone troopers save Omega from her plight, as well? While we can’t know if this is how things will play out, it’s certainly interesting that Filoni has opted to bring Shand into the lives of both Grogu and Omega, who share a number of obvious traits — like their general adorableness, yet undeniable strength.
Right now, we don’t know where we will see Grogu again — perhaps in The Mandalorian Season 3, or even, perhaps in a cameo alongside Shand and Fett in The Book of Boba Fett in December 2021.
No matter what, though, the parallels Filoni is drawing between his new animated character and “Baby Yoda” are setting up a world of stories as he and Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau expand their corner of the Star Wars universe moving forward.
What do you think about how Hunter and Omega’s relationship foreshadows the existence of Grogu and Din Djarin three decades earlier?