Did Senator Orn Free Taa die in The Bad Batch or not?

It seems that The Bad Batch has, like other primary Star Wars media, garnered a bit of a reputation at times amongst fans for ignoring minor canon details from books and comics and the like. We could debate those merits (I think it’s largely overblown), but let’s also point out how the past two episodes of the show gave a nod to those who follow along with the other material.

What I’m talking about is with Ryloth Senator Orn Free Taa. He appeared in the prequel trilogy and in The Clone Wars, and he showed up in The Bad Batch two weeks ago, in the episode “Devil’s Deal.” He’s working with the Empire to supposedly ensure a new era of peace for Ryloth, but he still views the freedom fighter Cham Syndulla as a threat. Thus Cham’s motivations for working with the Empire are self-serving; he wants whatever will be most advantageous for him without much regard for what is best for the Twi’lek people.

Of course, we know that the Empire isn’t to be trusted. And at the end of “Devil’s Deal,” Admiral Rampart has Crosshair shoot Orn Free Taa from his sniper’s perch, framing the shot on Cham and his allies.

But Star Wars fans who pay attention to every aspect of the canon immediately had a concern. This show is set very shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith, and before the events of the canon novel Lords of the Sith, which was written by Paul Kemp and released in 2015. The book centers on Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, who wind up hunted by Syndulla and his freedom fighters while the Sith are on Ryloth. But also of note is that Orn Free Taa plays a pretty significant role in the novel… meaning that he obviously had to have survived the events of The Bad Batch, despite the fact that he was shot in the head.

So what should we make of this? Did The Bad Batch just disregard Lords of the Sith?

No! In “Devil’s Deal,” Cham and his sympathizers are arrested for the attempted assassination of Orn Free Taa, which was our first clue that maybe he survived. I expected that they’d just leave it at that, letting viewers believe whatever they wanted, but the show took it one step further. In “Rescue on Ryloth,” Admiral Rampart addresses the Twi’leks and tells them:

“Citizens of Ryloth, the shocking attack on your beloved Senator has left you shaken. But, Orn Free Taa’s condition continues to improve, and he will make a full recovery.”

So there we have it. Orn Free Taa is NOT dead; he survived the shot to the head and it seems will make a full recovery – meaning that he’d still be alive for the events of Lords of the Sith.

I personally don’t expect to see the Senator appear in The Bad Batch again, nor do I think that it makes much of a difference at all to most viewers (or to this storyline) whether he survived or not. So why the direct mention of it? I think it’s to address those of us who follow along with canon so closely and thus recognize a potential issue here. For those who just watch the movies and shows but don’t read the books, it makes little difference whether Orn Free Taa lives or is dead, but to those who read the books it does. So I think the showrunners included this line in here to not only aid the exposition of the speech but also to confirm to fans that they’re not just re-writing stuff. They’re actually making it fit, or at least trying to.

So yes, Orn Free Taa survived the events of these episodes, and will live to cheat Ryloth for the sake of his own best interest another day.

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