Tatooine has long been home to the galaxy far, far away’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy. Now a single character has made the infamous planet more dangerous than ever. He’s also made it a lot cooler too. The Book of Boba Fett‘s sixth episode featured Cad Bane’s live-action Star Wars debut. It was a perfect time to introduce one of the franchise’s most feared, skilled, and ruthless bounty hunters. Because that cold-blooded killer with style is not only a menace to everyone he meets. He also has a long history with the planet’s new budding criminal empire.
Cad Bane might have been the single most anticipated/hoped for character from Star Wars animated shows not to have appeared on a Disney+ series yet. With good reason. Ever since his debut on Star Wars: The Clone Wars he’s been one of the franchise’s most entertaining characters. Hailing from the planet Duro, Bane’s blue skin, red eyes, breathing apparatus, and cowboy hat make for a powerful presence. As his Old West-style gunfight with Cobb Vanth showed, Cad Bane can instill fear in even the bravest fighters simply by showing up. And as Vanth and his late deputy learned the hard way, nothing good happens when Bane does arrive.
Bane’s status as one of the greatest and most callous bounty hunters anywhere grew during the Clone Wars. During that civil war he undertook wildly dangerous missions on behalf of Darth Sidious, Count Dooku, Darth Maul, the Separatists, and powerful crime syndicates. Those jobs often brought him into direct conflict with the Jedi, including legendary knights like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano. Unlike almost everyone else, Bane never feared the Jedi. He once even accepted Sidious’s mission to infiltrate the order’s Temple. During the rare times Bane failed at his task, though—and no matter who opposed him, even two Jedi at once—he always escaped with his life.
Unlike the suddenly much softer and kindly Boba Fett, Cad Bane has never shown anything resembling an ethical compass. He has always been willing to kill anyone while doing the most depraved jobs—like kidnapping Force-sensitive children and delivering them to certain harm. At various times during the Galactic Civil War he also took Republic senators hostage, as well as Chancellor Palpatine himself. And when Republic forces finally did capture Bane, he escaped, leaving another trail of bodies in his wake. For wherever Cad Bane goes, death follows. He’s the cold-blooded killer he accused Boba Fett of being.
Bane’s story didn’t end with The Clone Wars either. As shown on The Bad Batch, during the early days of the Galactic Empire he accepted a job to locate the only unmodified female Jango Fett clone, Omega. He found the child and was about to deliver her to the cloners on Kamino for payment. But none other than Fennec Shand stopped him. However, that battle was not the first time his path crossed with those attempting to build a crime family on Tatooine. Bane himself had learned from Jango. And after Jango’s death Bane trained Boba Fett in the ways of being a bounty hunter.
Cad Bane and Boba’s personal history means nothing now. Bane has always served one master: himself. He is working on behalf of the Pyke Syndicate, which is preparing for all out war with Boba, but ultimately Bane works for himself and his own interests. Whatever relationship the two famed bounty hunters had in the past is inconsequential to a heartless killer like Bane. The fact his former foe Fennec Shand serves Boba Fett will only make it more enjoyable for Bane to destroy his old protege’s budding criminal empire.
That’s not good for Boba or Fennec. But it’s the best for Star Wars fans. The galaxy far, far away is always more entertaining when it has villains that are just as entertaining as they are cruel. And no one is as cool and deadly as Cad Bane. So while his live-action debut was a long time coming, it was worth the wait. Because The Book of Boba Fett and Star Wars are both better for having him around. Just not for all the people Cad Bane will kill now that he’s back.
Originally published February 2, 2022.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.