This post contains spoilers for Season 1 of The Bad Batch.
If you enjoyed the Great Inhibitor Chip Debate of Order 66, boy do I have some great news for you.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch isn’t even close to being done inhibiting or chipping yet.
We’re only three episodes in, and there’s cause for concern about everybody’s favorite large and in charge member of the Bad Batch.
Childlike and exuberant in destruction, Wrecker’s caps-lock key is always on. When we first met Wrecker in the of The Clone Wars’ last season, he seemed the easiest to understand.
But just a few episodes in, there’s reason to wonder about a potentially dark path for the stuffed-animal clutching big guy.
In fact, there’s ten of them.
The Bad Batch is connected to the other clones
When Wrecker and his buddies arrived as Clone Force 99, they appeared in a four-episode arc that established the characters and then crammed them back down the memory hole.
They flew off to who knows where to make room for Ahsoka Tano’s storyline.
The Bad Batch, which began airing on May 4 of this year for Star Wars Day, picked up the squad’s thread just before Order 66, in which the clones were told to wipe out the Jedi Order.
The vast majority complied.
Wrecker and the rest of the Bad Batch did not. What that means for Clone Force 99 and the rest of the clones is one of the major plot currents of the new Disney Plus series.
With his one operable eye, web of scars, and towering physique, Wrecker is the most immediately identifiable member of the enhanced clones.
The voice actor behind all the clone characters, Dee Bradley Baker, declared the muscle man the most challenging clone to voice because of his propensity to provide loud voiceovers to his destruction.
But it seems there’s much more to Wrecker than we initially believed.
Wrecker has an inhibitor chip, too
The canon established in Bad Batch’s parent series, The Clone Wars, states that all clones received inhibitor chips during incubation.
The discovery of this “innovation” constituted a major arc with the trooper Fives during Clone Wars, one which came back around in the last episodes as Rex and Ahsoka review his evidence and remove Rex’s chip.
A few years later, in Rebels, Rex tells Ezra and Kanan that the clones indeed “had a choice” in whether to execute Order 66.
However, it’s entirely possible that Ahsoka was using the Force to help him “flip the switch” so that he could resist pulling the trigger.
While Ahsoka could have overpowered Rex in a head-to-head battle, her gentle nature and compassion seemed to drive her deep desire to prevent him from attacking her. She knew that she’d have to kill her friend and fellow soldier if he did so.
All the clones have inhibitor chips, but Tech posits that since the clones are experimental and enhanced, theirs don’t work as designed.
Echo, a typical clone who the Separatists later mine-mined for information, was too damaged by his experience to experience its effects.
But does that mean the Bad Batch’s inhibitor chips will never kick in?
Crosshair’s inhibitor chip switched on
As seen in the premiere of Bad Batch, Crosshair repeated the code of other clones affected by the inhibitor chip (“Good soldiers follow orders”) and tried to gun down young Kanan.
Although the Padawan escaped with the help of Hunter, his early actions revealed that the Bad Batch is not immune to the order.
It’s true the Kamino cloners enhanced Crosshair’s inhibitor chip, under Admiral Tarkin’s watchful eye. This led to him — well, there’s no easy way around this — committing war atrocities by commanding his new troops to incinerate innocent civilians.
Wrecker received a surprising amount of character development in the early going
This scares me the most about Wrecker. He and Tech were the least complex members of the team, but suddenly Wrecker received character development with a sweet stuffed toy and an endearing affinity for children.
His buddy’s kids joyfully greet his as “Uncle Wrecker” as he calls them to him, saying “Remember me?”
Crosshair is the guy with the creepy stare at the end of the bar who you text when you’ve really made some poor decisions at the end of the night, so his defection to the Empire isn’t such a wrench.
But losing Wrecker at this point? He who made Omega a room of her own?
Concern about Crosshair
During Episode 3 of the series, Replacements, it touchingly relieved Wrecker when he asked if it wasn’t Crosshair’s fault he defected to the Empire — that the inhibitor chips were fully to blame, and his buddy had no choice.
He seems especially concerned about his former teammate and becomes the first member of the Bad Batch to express that he misses him.
While Hunter is curt about the matter and is ready to shut down discussion of Crosshair, the childlike Wrecker seemed eager for further assurance that the chip compelled Crosshair to act as he did.
Any member of the team could have posed these concerns and questions. But placing them in the mouth of Wrecker highlights the primal fear and loss the team might feel.
It might also act as foreshadowing that Wrecker will be the next to fall.
Or, since they showed Tech tinkering with a device to study their chips, perhaps he will provide answers to the questions the clones are asking about their free will.
Role as a Replacement
Like The Mandalorian, Bad Batch episodes carry sleek, simple titles which viewers might interpret several ways. The most recent episode is Replacements, which on the surface seems to refer to the Bad Batch cementing Omega as their replacement for the defected Crosshair.
However, the Empire seems ready to “replace” the clones with more traditional troops while the cloners scheme to replace Jango Fett’s DNA with a project of their own.
Not only has the Bad Batch replaced Crosshair, but Crosshair has replaced the Bad Batch. The Empire asks him to train and lead his own team of elite troops.
This goes well for the Empire, but not basic morals and deployment of just war theories.
Crosshair orders the troops to execute the civilians. At first one recruit refuses, so Crosshair kills him as well. The remaining squad members then carry out his orders.
The Bad Batch could have stopped Crosshair after refusing to obey his command. Regular humans cannot.
Without his brothers to balance him, Crosshair is tumbling down a steep, dark path. He seems to realize it as he sits alone in his bare bunk after returning from his mission.
If Wrecker’s inhibitor switch activates and he joins Crosshair, the first defector will be even more difficult to stop.
What about his age and mutation?
There are various ideas about where the Bad Batch came from. Some state that they are DNA accidents and therefore cannot be replicated.
Others view them as experiments that worked once but were not re-generated. Still more fans think the cloners primed them for duplication, but the experimental clone gone awry — Number 99 — stopped the program.
Perhaps Number 99 was a member of the Bad Batch, but his directed mutation went too far. The fact they named the Bad Batch’s squad in his honor seems to verify this notion.
Rex noted and approved of the gesture during Clone Wars.
Were they designed and enhanced, or not? Or a combination of factors? Cody describes the crew as having “desirable mutations,” but were these mutations truly an accident?
The Star Wars website describes them as “experimental unit Clone Force 99.” Is the unit the experiment, or each individual member of the team? Or both? In canon, there’s no direct answer.
Some commentators state that the members of the Bad Batch are not the same age, and that Crosshair is the eldest. If this theory is correct, given the advancement of his male pattern baldness, Tech seems to be the next older brother.
And the baby? Who else but the lumbering Wrecker?
An exasperated Crosshair told him to “grow up” during a Clone Wars episode, an event that within the Star Wars timeline did not take place too far in the past.
If the Bad Batch’s inhibitor chips activate Order 66 when the Clones hit a certain age in development, Wrecker would seem to fall last. However, their enhanced skills and unique experiences might mean this takes place at unpredictable times.
In The Replacements, Wrecker appears to have bonked his head during the team’s tough landing in a Mandalorian system.
Thereafter, he complains of a headache, and rubs the spot on his head where the clone’s inhibitor chip is — the same area Crosshair was touching as the team sat in jail, just before he turned.
In a scene close to this one, Echo has to remind Wrecker that Crosshair shot him, and Wrecker comments that the glancing blow hurt his arm.
But he seems to have forgotten about the pain it incurred, and multiple times remarks on his headache.
This guy has a remarkably high pain tolerance — so that is some Advil moment. Mark it.
The showrunners sure did.
I mean, there is a lot of discussion about this accident and the fact that Wrecker’s head hurts. It’s so bad that Hunter orders him to stay on the ship while they undertake a mission outside.
He even takes untried Omega with him rather than letting the team’s bruiser take another hit.
Just as the Kaminoans don’t create something for no purpose, Dave Filoni doesn’t introduce a much-commented upon head injury just for it to fade away for no reason.
We’ll see this headache again.
Can he make complex decisions?
Wrecker’s character, although becoming further developed to attach the audience to him more firmly, still sees the world in black and white.
In some ways, he is a child. It’s difficult for him to comprehend what’s happening with Crosshair.
If his inhibitor chip does indeed activate, he might not have the complexity of understanding to fight off the impulse to obey it, and it looks like there won’t be a Jedi nearby to help him, either.
Keep an eye on Wrecker. He’s tough to miss anyway.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch is currently streaming on Disney Plus. New episodes release every Friday. Follow Monsters and Critics’ Facebook page for the latest Star Wars theories, essays, news, and reviews.