There are many ways in which The Bad Batch feels like the continuation of The Clone Wars, and that’s been clear all along – the opening logo of the show dissolved from The Clone Wars to The Bad Batch. It’s not been a subtle thing, and so even as The Bad Batch looks to establish its own story and characters and series, there are tons of connections.
Including connections that aren’t expected!
In the most recent episode of The Bad Batch, “Decommissioned,” two familiar faces show up seemingly out of nowhere, and their appearance could have significant implications: Trace and Rafa Martez appear, seeking to steal the head of a tactical droid – the same object the Bad Batch is after. But who are Trace and Rafa?
They first appeared in the middle arc of The Clone Wars season seven, which was comprised of three four-episode arcs. The first one focused on Rex and the Bad Batch (among others), while the second one focused on Ahsoka Tano and the Martez sisters, all converging as Rex and Ahsoka fought in the Siege of Mandalore, which was the long-awaited final arc for the series. The Ahsoka arc was all about Ahsoka trying to figure out her place in the galaxy after having left the Jedi Order, and it’s Trace and Rafa who help her do so.
Trace and Rafa are sisters, having grown up on Coruscant with their parents. But tragedy struck their family during Cad Bane’s rescue of Ziro the Hutt from a Republic prison early in the Clone Wars; as Bane made his escape and the Jedi pursued, a ship crashed. The Jedi ensured that the ship didn’t crash into one area, saving people, but instead the ship crashed into the Martez home. Their parents saved Trace and Rafa, but died in the crash. From that point on, Trace and Rafa – who had grown up hearing stories about the great Jedi – grew disillusioned with the Jedi and the Republic, seeing them as no different than anyone else. This wasn’t helped by the Jedi’s attempt to comfort the young girls, which amounted to nothing more than the need to trust in the Force. Rafa, as the older sister, took charge and the two sisters realized that they had to look out for themselves, since no one else would.
Rafa wasn’t always honest in her dealings, however, and ran into trouble with various people through some shady activities she was engaged in. Trace, meanwhile, worked as a mechanic, and together the sisters dreamed of leaving Coruscant and escaping the war. Before that happens, however, they meet Ahsoka Tano, who crashed her bike and is in need of repairs – which Trace offers to do. Tano befriends them and works with them to repair droids for a job Rafa got – but she discovers that the droids are dangerous. The droids escape and run free through the city, and the three women have to go after them – and in the process, Ahsoka saves Trace’s life. Rafa’s desire to provide for Trace and create a better life clearly involves some less-than-noble jobs and increasing debts, which worries and frustrates Trace. Before Ahsoka leaves, Rafa approaches them with a new job. Trace flies them to Kessel, where Trace and Ahsoka discover that the job is running spice – and before long, they learn that their client is the Pyke Syndicate. Ahsoka loses it, angrily disclosing how dangerous the Pykes are, and as she argues with Rafa, Trace jettisons the spice in hyperspace, to the dismay of both Ahsoka and Rafa.
They arrive at Oba Diah without the spice and attempt to trick the Pykes. They almost get away with it, but ultimately are captured. Rafa is tortured and the three are confined in a cell together, but Ahsoka helps them escape. They are on the run and trying to escape to a ship, but the Pykes capture Trace and Rafa – and, before long, Ahsoka too. They are placed back in prison and awaiting their execution, and are soon brought before Pyke leader Marg Krim. Ahsoka pretends to betray the sisters, saying that they had hidden the spice and convincing Krim to let the sisters go get it, giving them one day. In reality, Ahsoka is working out a plan to let the sisters escape, but Rafa instead hatches a plan to rescue Ahsoka.
Rafa and Trace steal spice from a Pyke outpost and return to Oba Diah to give it to the Pykes in exchange for Ahsoka. In the rescue attempt, however, they are surprised to learn that Ahsoka is a Jedi (or at least used to be one), and they escape together. They work together to take down the pursuing fighters and head back to Coruscant. Despite their distrust for the Jedi, Trace and Rafa accept Ahsoka, and Rafa says that Ahsoka is what the Jedi should be. But the Mandalorian Bo-Katan Kryze interrupts this conversation, looking for Ahsoka’s help to capture Maul on Mandalore. At the urging of Trace and Rafa, Ahsoka leaves to embrace her destiny, even though it means returning to the Jedi. But as she leaves, she leaves her bike behind in the Martez sisters’s shop, just in case.
That’s the last we see of the Martez sisters in The Clone Wars, but before long they’re right back on another job – this time looking for the head of a tactical droid. They’re working for a client who they claim wants to use the information against the Empire, and they have R7-A7, Ahsoka’s droid, with them. Rafa tells Hunter that they all have to choose a side, implying that the Martez sisters finally have.