How ‘The Bad Batch’ Revives a Forgotten ‘Star Wars’ Plot
What happens when you combine Godzilla, King Kong, and Star Wars?
In the newest episode of The Bad Batch, the team finds a downed research vessel and discovers that the creature being transported is the cause of the missing crew. The creature, while not named in the episode, is what’s known in Star Wars canon as a Zillo Beast, and it has a very interesting history in the franchise.
What is a Zillo Beast?
A Zillo Beast is the Star Wars version of Kaiju, with two legs and three arms that allow it to change its orientation and scale cliffs / buildings with ease. The fully grown version was first seen in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 2 episodes “The Zillo Beast” and “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back.”
The first episode “The Zillo Beast” is basically Star Wars‘ take on Godzilla. After the Republic uses an experimental EMP bomb on the planet of Malastare, they open a cavern and reawaken an ancient creature known as a Zillo Beast. While the native Dugs want to kill the creature, Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker manage to exhaust the beast using laser canons that penetrate the ridges of the creature’s armor plates.
The second episode “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back” pays tribute to King Kong by having the beast ravage Coruscant after being transported there for further research. The episode indicates that the Zillo Beast is not only extremely intelligent but also potentially Force-sensitive; as the creature targets Chancellor Palpatine during its rampage, it recognizes him as a Dark Sider. The duology of episodes ends in tragedy with the creature being killed by poisonous gas bombs and Palpatine ordering the beast to be cloned so that its armor could be studied and replicated for use in military gear.
The story was unfortunately not revisited in the show and was considered by fans to be a forgotten plotline that would never be resolved.
How is The Bad Batch‘s Zillo Beast different?
The Zillo Beast in The Bad Batch is intentionally very different from what we saw in The Clone Wars, being a cloned and genetically manipulated version of the creature. The first version we see is almost like an armored tadpole, though it’s still clearly capable of destruction, having eaten the crew and downed the research vessel during its escape.
This version is more similar to a Xenomorph than a Kaiju, with its predilection for hanging from ceilings and its main feature being a seemingly eyeless armored face. Its newfound ability to feed on electricity quickly turns it into a more recognizable version of the beast with five limbs and a towering height. It even has the same vulnerability to lasers, like its progenitor.
It is yet another instance of the Empire’s attempts at cloning that started with the Clone Troopers, eventually led to Grogu’s kidnapping by Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian, and resulted in clones of the Emperor, like Snoke and Rey’s father, as seen in The Rise of Skywalker.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait another decade to find out the Empire’s plans for the beast.
(featured image: Disney / Lucasfilm)
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