Speculating about the planet seen at the end of The Bad Batch season finale, the future of Star Wars, and Grand Admiral Thrawn

The first season of The Bad Batch has come to an end, and that means we’re going to have to wait a while before we learn the further adventures of the heroic squad of enhanced clones. But the final scene of the season contained some clues as to where we may be going, and I’m going to speculate a bit on that.

Again, to be clear, this article is all speculation based on what we saw, so there’s nothing here that’s official or anything like that, so take it all with a grain of salt. But I have seen that I’m not the only one thinking some of these things, and I seriously wonder if some of this is where we’re heading.

And much of what I’m going to be speculating on here comes from the appearance of a new beautiful planet at the end of the episode. It’s a luscious green planet with lots of trees, and there’s a prominent mountain – into which is built a secret Imperial facility that apparently has much interest in cloning.

Sound familiar?

That description could be the exact same one given for Mount Tantiss, which was located on the planet Wayland, and which first appeared in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire in 1991. Now, to be clear, nothing in this episode mentions this as being Mount Tantiss, but the similarities seem awfully convenient. As many know, Heir to the Empire is probably the most influential and significant Star Wars book ever written, helping to kick-start the whole expanded universe as we know it and introducing so many key concepts, people, and places into our Star Wars knowledge – not least of which was Grand Admiral Thrawn. The book, which is the first of the legendary Thrawn trilogy, introduced the Imperial Grand Admiral in his efforts to re-establish the Empire some years after the Battle of Endor, and very crucial to his plans was Mount Tantiss.

It housed a vast warehouse of the late Emperor Palpatine’s treasures and artifacts that he had collected over the years, which was guarded by a dark Jedi. But into the mountain was also built vast cloning facilities, which Thrawn made good use of in his efforts against the New Republic during the Thrawn crisis. Therefore it was a very important world both to Palpatine during the era of the Empire and to Thrawn in the era after the Empire.

Mount Tantiss has, to this point, never been made canon again. But the planet Wayland has, appearing in the Vader Immortal VR game, being described as a place where Palpatine has a “storehouse of treasures.” So the canon version of Wayland seems very similar, which leads us to assume that Mount Tantiss is probably there too, it just hasn’t been mentioned yet. But have we seen it already?

That’s exactly what I’m wondering after the season finale of The Bad Batch, as I’m very much wondering whether this planet seen was actually Wayland. There appear to be some differences (since the main mountain in focus isn’t the only one there or the only one with an Imperial base seemingly built into it), but the similarities are by far the most notable.

So let’s just suppose that this is Mount Tantiss for a minute (which is a big assumption, I realize) and briefly keep the speculation going. There are clear connections between The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian and the ways they might fit in to the larger saga, and we’ve learned a few important things. Allow me to recap some of the speculation:

  • Emperor Palpatine was deeply interested in cloning efforts. From the Clone Wars to the era of the Empire to the sequel era, Palpatine was interested in the cloning process, particularly relating to himself. It led to Snoke, to Rey’s father, and who knows what else? The Bad Batch and The Mandalorian haven’t given answers yet, but they are both addressing the Empire’s interest in cloning.
  • Ahsoka is searching for Grand Admiral Thrawn in the post-Empire era. In Star Wars Rebels, Thrawn and Ezra Bridger disappeared into hyperspace somewhere, and the epilogue of the series set up a sequel where Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren went searching for them. Ahsoka showed up in one episode of The Mandalorian, and her interest in Morgan Elsbeth was soon realized: Ahsoka wants to know where Elsbeth’s master, Grand Admiral Thrawn, is. It’s possible that the Ahsoka series will be about this, since it is reported Lucasfilm is looking to cast Sabine Wren to star alongside Ahsoka.
  • Morgan Elsbeth has ties to Thrawn. In The Mandalorian, Elsbeth is apparently working for Thrawn, and she has security droids accompanying her that bear the emblem of the Seventh Fleet, which was under the command of Thrawn until his disappearance at the Battle of Lothal, after which we’ve heard nothing about it. The implication in all of this is that Thrawn has returned.
  • The Mandalorian and its spin-off shows will culminate in a “climactic story event.” At the Disney Investor Day last December, when Lucasfilm President Kathy Kennedy announced spin-off shows from The Mandalorian including Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic, she mentioned that all of these shows will lead to a “climactic story event,” all apparently converging into an epic story. It seems that these stories (and others) are all connected, then, and will be telling a massive story led by the storytelling genius of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. (The Bad Batch is being produced by Filoni as well.)
  • And now we see a mountain that might be Mount Tantiss.

So where might this all be leading? I’ve written about this much more extensively before, but here’s what I’ve ben thinking: we might be leading up to another Thrawn crisis.

It all makes a lot of sense. The apparent return of Thrawn, the emergence of the Imperial remnants, the ties to Thrawn and the Seventh Fleet, the quest for Ezra Bridger, the cloning efforts, and much more – all of it, since we know this is all leading to a culminating story event, has me thinking that the end-game here is to bring Thrawn back into the picture post-Return of the Jedi and thrust the New Republic into a sort of crisis in facing him. I’m sure it won’t be an Heir to the Empire re-make, but we could be getting a new version of it. And I’d love that.

But all of this is getting far ahead of where we’re at now. For now, I just think it’s extremely curious that a planet that looks so much like Wayland and Mount Tantiss just showed up in The Bad Batch, the site of Imperial cloning efforts. I can’t say for sure, but my speculation is that we’ve only just begun in this mysterious story.

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