The first season of The Bad Batch recently came to an end, and it did so with a rather surprising final scene.
At the very end of the final episode, “Kamino Lost,” we saw Nala Se arrive at a mysterious new Imperial base, accompanied by Clone Commandos. She was greeted by an Imperial scientist who wears the same uniform as Doctor Pershing from The Mandalorian, which is quite interesting and telling, but it felt a bit out of place to be the final scene of the season. There was one thing, however, that made me think it might be a more significant scene than we were led to believe, and I mentioned it even in my initial review of the episode, then following up on it the following day with a lengthy speculation piece.
I wondered, as did many other Star Wars fans, whether the mysterious location we saw was actually Mount Tantiss, on the planet Wayland. And thanks to the concept art released today for the episode, it seems that is indeed the case!
As Star Wars has all season, they released a number of galleries in the episode guide on the Monday following the episode’s release, and in the concept art for this episode we got three looks at this mountain planet with the Imperial facility. The art is drawn by Chris Madden and is from June 2020, and it’s some gorgeous-looking artwork. What seems especially noteworthy is the label for the pieces that are in the bottom left corner, as they read “weylandMtTantiss.” The planet name of Weyland is further confirmed in how the images are labeled in this gallery, as it is called the “Weyland facility.”
So why is that so significant?
Mount Tantiss was located on the planet Wayland and was first introduced in the landmark Star Wars book Heir to the Empire, written by Timothy Zahn, which was released in 1991 and is probably the most influential Star Wars novel ever written. It was the first book of the now-legendary Thrawn trilogy, and it was a major catalyst in sparking the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It introduced characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade, as well as planets like Coruscant and Wayland. And the book, as well as the two that followed it to make up the Thrawn trilogy, centered on the long-lost Imperial Grand Admiral returning to the known galaxy after the events of Return of the Jedi and waging war against the New Republic, pulling in people like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo into the fight. Thrawn was nearly successful in defeating the New Republic, too, and one of the major parts of his plan was Mount Tantiss.
In that story, Mount Tantiss was described as a top secret storehouse where the late Emperor Palpatine kept many treasures. It was guarded by a figure known only as “the guardian,” but by the time of the Thrawn trilogy was looked after by the crazy cloned dark Jedi Joruus C’boath. But it was revealed that the mountain didn’t just contain a trove of treasures but actually contained a number of Spaarti cloning cylinders, which could be used to create clones in a very efficient manner. Thrawn put this cloning facility to good use to help supply crew members for his fleet.
In canon, Mount Tantiss has never been mentioned or heard of, at least until this episode guide. But the planet Wayland was mentioned in the VR story Vader Immortal as being the place where Palpatine supposedly had a storehouse of treasures. It is worth noting that in this concept art the planet is spelled “Weyland” rather than “Wayland,” as it has been previously, but it’s obviously meant to be the same planet. We’ll just have to pay attention to see how the standard spelling seems to go as we move forward.
Those who are familiar with all that I’ve been saying probably don’t need to be reminded how significant all of this is. It’s yet another thing from legends – and from the Thrawn trilogy – to be brought to canon, and it opens up a world of possibilities and intrigue about where things could be heading. It seems that the Empire is using Mount Tantiss as a cloning facility in addition to a storehouse for the Emperor, which is exactly what it was used for in Legends as well. While they’re not just going to make all the events of the Thrawn trilogy canon (nor should they), it does seem very plausible that this is all leading to another Thrawn crisis of sorts post-ROTJ, especially given where some things with The Mandalorian seem to be heading as well. I wrote about all of that and did some speculating here, if you’re interested.
I think this is super cool. This is something I want to see more and more of, as some of the great parts about Legends are being brought into the new canon and are being introduced to the new stories. Obviously some things are going to be different, but that’s ok! I think it’s great to bring stuff like this back when it fits; for example, rather than creating a new planet with a secret Imperial cloning facility, why not make it Mount Tantiss? That’s a huge nod for the fans, and it sets up plenty of speculation about where the stories are all heading. It’s a great thing. I’m a bit surprised to see that we got this seemingly confirmed already, but I love it.