One of the distinct advantages of being a part of a long-standing franchise is the ability to bring in familiar ‘guest stars’ to bolster the start of a series. Over in that other galaxy, The Next Generation did it in their very first episode with an elderly Doctor McCoy appearing, again in DS9 with Picard and in Voyager with Quark, and here we have The Bad Batch pulling that same trick. A week after the first animated appearance of Fennec Shand they bring in the big gun of Bib Fortuna, who we last saw die at the hand of Boba Fett at the end of Season Two of The Mandalorian thirty years down the timeline as Shand herself stood and watched.
Rampage continues the impressive start The Bad Batch has made by swinging them into the Expansion Region of the galaxy and the world of Ord Mantell, first mentioned over 40 years ago in The Empire Strikes Back and brought to glorious life here as the team seek out Cid, a Trandoshan contact of Echo who agrees to help them learn more about Fennec Shand in return for completing a mission for her, the rescue of a character called Muchi.
Naturally, it’s not as simple as it might first appear. After assuming the identity of the rescue is a young Falleen girl, we learn that Muchi is in fact a young rancor, possibly the same rancor we know from Return of the Jedi several decades later, and through capture by Zygerrian slavers and their escape thanks to some Omega ingenuity, they get the creature secured and delivered back to Cid just as Fortuna and two Gamorrean Guards arrive to collect it.
Once again, the animation is a delight – perhaps the rancor is a touch too kiddified to feel ‘genuine’ but that’s a minor quibble – and hearing Matt Wood once more as Fortuna, after playing him in person in The Phantom Menace and The Mandalorian is very satisfying, as is the continuing development of Omega and her place in the team which is a joy. You could confidently argue that the first few episodes of The Bad Batch make for the most impressive start in Star Wars animation so far, and let’s hope that streak continues next week.
Read our previous reviews of The Bad Batch here: