(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)
A year from now, we will all be arguing passionately about The Book of Boba Fett, the surprise new Star Wars show set to arrive in December 2021. Given The Mandalorian’s excited willingness to bring animated Star Wars characters into the live-action realm, and given the character’s bounty hunter profession and personal past with Boba Fett, it feels like a certainty we will see Cad Bane on the show (obviously this is mere speculation and not an actual certainty). The whole thing is just too juicy for Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to pass up.
But wait, who the heck is Cad Bane?
Which Character is This Again?
Let’s say it is way back in the day and you are deciding whether or not Clone Wars is for you. Maybe you dislike the animation. Maybe young Ashoka bothers you. But maybe you also feel just enough pull to keep with it, hoping that something really cool grabs you to finally bring you all the way into the show.
For some, that came with the introduction of Cad Bane during the season 1 finale. With his big eyes and narrow, long face, Bane offers a very alien-looking alien. This, however, gets offset by his Spaghetti Western influence. Bane wears a wide brim hat and chews on toothpicks. He speaks with a dry, crisp drawl. From his opening moments, Bane steals the screen and demands attention through sheer coolness. If Clint Eastwood were a Star Wars character, this would be him.
That coolness is magnified by the fact that despite not having superpowers or anything, Cad Bane is an incredible bounty hunter, thief, kidnapper, and whatever else people pay him to be. The character repeatedly stands up to the Jedi and walks away unscathed. And remember, this is the Clone Wars so there are Jedi everywhere. Even when Bane gets captured, he frequently gains an upper hand and escapes. The guy is slippery and never caught looking like a fool.
Bane is so cool, in fact, that he becomes an anomaly. Visually, verbally, and in action, there is something just to the left of Star Wars about him, as though he were beamed in from another franchise. Western influence abounds in Star Wars, but rarely in such a direct, culturally-specific way. His not fitting into the Star Wars aesthetic hits a little softer in animated form. His arrival in live-action form might also hit softer thanks to the recent introduction of other characters from outside the Star Wars aesthetic – I’m looking at you Migs Mayfeld and Peli Motto. As the live-action galaxy grows, it becomes a more likely place for Cad Bane to show up.
Does This Character Warrant a Toy?
So far, any Cad Bane toy would have to be done in the Clone Wars style, so there is that to consider. He only appeared in Rebels via dialog and some Easter Egg-level graffiti. But as a toy, he has a lot to offer. Hat on? Hat off? Toothpick in? Toothpick out? Disguised as a Clone Trooper? The possibilities are endless!
Of course, you’d probably want just the regular, classic Cad Bane to fly around and thwart other characters who are many times more powerful than this unassuming, blue criminal. Even better, you could get his whole crew of backstabbers and thieves to run the galaxy while all the Jedi are busy fighting droids.
How Important is This Character?
Cad Bane is totally not important at all. On Clone Wars, he felt like interesting side noise to the ongoing war, a different flavor that would pop up every so often to help refocus your attention and build out the larger Star Wars galaxy. He took jobs from and fought major players, to be sure. But his role was quite minimal overall.
Bringing this all back to The Book of Boba Fett, this peripheral villainy makes him perfect for a series about a Tatooine crime syndicate where every character is more or less peripheral to the larger Star Wars story. That’s essentially what The Mandalorian has been, and it’s great. Maybe it’s time to give the Skywalkers a break anyway.
Most importantly, Cad Bane has no confirmed death. We don’t know how long his species (he’s something called a “Duros”) lives. Supposedly, an unfinished Clone Wars episode was to see Bane killed by Boba Fett, but that never happened, so he might as well be out there kicking it still. Why not?
Is This a Secretly Great Star Wars Character?
If you watched Clone Wars, Cad Bane’s greatness is no secret. If you skipped Clone Wars, he’s still unknown to you. So the answer is different depending on who you are. If he does show up on The Book of Boba Fett and if he remains as cool as his animated counterpart, he’ll soon become one of the all-time great Star Wars characters. Those are some risky ifs, so let’s not hold our breath. Nevertheless, my hope is up there pretty high. I guess I never learn.
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