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The Untold Truth Of Cad Bane

Ever since they were introduced into the "Star Wars" universe through a memorable scene in "The Empire Strikes Back," bounty hunters have proven to be a haven for some of the most beloved fan-favorite characters in the franchise. Their mysterious aura — combined with their ability to break out of the binary morality of Jedi and Sith lords — makes them irresistible figures to so many "Star Wars" devotees. While Boba Fett may be the defining cool bounty hunter for many, other fans have gravitated towards the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" character Cad Bane as the apex of awesome in this franchise profession. First appearing in the "Clone Wars" Season 1 finale, Cad Bane is now a regular fixture of the show and has also made appearances on other programs like "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" and "The Book of Boba Fett."

All the while, Bane has maintained a ruthless air and an immediately recognizable costume that has made him beloved by many. Even with the sizeable fanbase that this character has cultivated, though, there are plenty of qualities about the bounty hunter that remain obscure. The inspiration for his voice, the details that went into his "Bad Batch" appearance, and the fact that he wasn't originally supposed to appear in "The Clone Wars" — there are many elements that inform the compelling untold truth of Cad Bane.

Cad Bane almost wasn't in The Clone Wars

Today, it's hard to imagine the era of "Star Wars" media dominated by "The Clone Wars" without thinking of Cad Bane, arguably one of the most famous characters created for the program. However, initially, Cad Bane wasn't supposed to be a part of the show. In fact, per an entry for the character on StarWars.com, the original landscape for "The Clone Wars" had no room for third-party players like bounty hunters. Instead, the focus of the show's stories would exclusively remain on Republic and Separatist forces.

As the show began to blossom, though, these plans changed. Bounty hunters gradually began to get incorporated into the show, though even at this stage, Cad Bane's existence was not on the table. Instead, his role in "The Clone Wars" was to be filled by pre-existing characters from existing "Star Wars" lore like Durge or Nom Kahbah. However, once George Lucas suggested taking this character in a visual approach more inspired by Westerns, the idea for creating something original emerged. From the ashes of these inaugural concepts is where Cad Bane was born. Even if he wasn't originally supposed to be in this TV show, viewers everywhere can't imagine "The Clone Wars" without the bounty hunter's ruthless skills.

Cad Bane was based on old Star Wars concept art

The distinctive look of the aliens in the "Star Wars" canon is one of the best parts of this franchise. Honing down the finer intricacies of the appearances of these creatures is a difficult task, and one never knows where inspiration will strike for an alien design. In the case of Cad Bane, the "Clone Wars" crew found his look in the past. Specifically, a piece of unused concept art for an alien character in the original "Star Wars" trilogy; one with guns in holsters and a gigantic-rimmed hat. The artist could never have imagined it decades earlier, but this figure was exactly what the "Clone Wars" team was looking for when it came to Cad Bane.

"Clone Wars" producer Dave Filoni explained (via StarWars.com) that though this may sound like a scenario that could only happen in the movies, it's a common practice for "Star Wars" media. George Lucas and other artists will come up with character names (such as Mace Windu) or alien designs in the 1970s, abandon them, and then find the perfect home for them decades down the road. When you're a franchise like "Star Wars" that spans for years and years, you never know when an idea — like the concept art for Cad Bane — might get a second lease on life. After all, being this open to concepts of the past is how you maintain the distinctive look of those "Star Wars" aliens.

Cad Bane was originally supposed to be a smoker

Cad Bane engages in a lot of behavior that's quite harsh by the standards of villains on animated kid's TV shows. In his first appearance on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," he murders a Galactic Senator by shooting them in the back, while a subsequent appearance depicts him torturing a Jedi for important information. Whenever Bane shows up, he's bound to engage in ruthless violence — the kind of mayhem that solidifies to any viewer why this bounty hunter has such a formidable reputation.

However, one place Bane couldn't cross the line was smoking. On one of the bonus features on the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" 4th season home video box set, Dave Filoni comments that Bane's trademark toothpick was originally supposed to be a cigarette. This would've aligned with the noir and Western inspirations for the characters, as these two genres are known for feature characters who aren't afraid to light up cigarettes. However, unlike most individuals in these two genres, Bane was a character on an animated kid's show airing on Cartoon Network, and the thought was that having him smoke would set a bad example for younger viewers. Thus, the cigarettes were ditched, and Bane had to reinforce his penchant for unruly behavior in other more vicious ways.

Cad Bane's unfinished Clone Wars arc

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" ground to a halt in the spring of 2013, just a few months after Disney purchased Lucasfilm. This sudden development left multiple seasons' worth of stories on the back-burner unfinished. Even after two bursts of "Clone Wars" episodes were released across 2014 and 2020, there were still tons of unreleased "Clone Wars" story arcs that remained just scripts or animatics. The latter fate is what befell a proposed storyline that would've seen Cad Bane returning, this time as a mentor to a young Boba Fett (via a StarWars.com panel)

Though Bane was a central figure of these episodes, this arc was primarily a Boba Fett origin story, right down to the revelation of getting his Mandalorian armor and how he got the dent in his helmet. The latter development happened in a shoot-out between Bane and Fett, which would've capped off the duo going from mentor/mentee to adversaries over a series of episodes. Made for the Season 5 development cycle of "The Clone Wars," it's unknown why this storyline wasn't finished and released for either of the brief revivals of "The Clone Wars." However, one reason could be that the Fett/Bane showdown ended with the latter character perishing (per Fiction Horizon). Perhaps the team behind this show opted to scrap this episode so that Bane could remain alive and well for whatever new "Star Wars" properties emerged down the road.

What makes Cad Bane different from Boba Fett

It's hard not to see some similarities between Cad Bane and Boba Fett, and not just because they're both bounty hunters. Both are people who use minimal words but aren't afraid to show force when the occasion calls for it. They're also "Star Wars" characters with immediately distinctive costumes, especially regarding the items that they always wear on their heads. However, the team behind "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" was very conscious of Bane coming off as just a clone of an earlier beloved bounty hunter and did its best to make sure the character came off as unique.

Talking to StarWars.com directly after Bane's first appearance on "The Clone Wars," episode director Giancarlo Volpe made sure to emphasize that, unlike Fett, Bane "doesn't take prisoners." Though a small distinction, this detail already suggests a world of difference between the two bounty hunters. Bane is an even darker version of Fett, and he's an important entity to have lingering around as an adolescent Fett navigates the hate he has in his heart over the death of his father. Notably, Bane being even more ruthless than the traditional version of Fett allows viewers to see what this young man can turn into if he doesn't change his ways. Quietly introducing this thematic detail is one of the many benefits to the "Clone Wars" team, and it ensures that Bane isn't just a reductive Boba Fett doppelganger.

Corey Burton's vocal inspiration for Cad Bane

As a character, Cad Bane, like so many other important parts of the "Star Wars" mythos, is inspired by classic cinema. Everything about the character's fashion sense — particularly the hat and toothpick — owes so much to classic Western protagonists. Elsewhere, one of the character's earliest appearances in the episode "Holocron Heist" introduces Bane draped in darkness and shards of light like he's a noir character. Though existing in a sci-fi world populated by futuristic technology, Cad Bane is very much evocative of vintage pop culture.

Given this attribute, it shouldn't be a surprise that voice actor Corey Burton looked to the past for inspiration on how to voice Cad Bane. Speaking to StarWars.com, Burton revealed that the primary inspiration for the character's vocals was the distinctive pipes of Peter Lorre. Specifically, Burton took particular cues from Lorre's more subdued work on assorted Lux Radio Theater programs. However, Burton made sure to emphasize that Bane is not just a clone of Lorre's voice, remarking that he and the "Clone Wars" crew would use this iconic classic movie actor as a starting basis for the performance before taking it in new directions. The inspiration behind this voice is just one of many ways Cad Bane takes the old and makes something new.

Cad Bane's brief Star Wars: Rebel appearence

Given how much talent from "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" was ported over to "Star Wars: Rebels," one would presume that the former show's recurring antagonist, Cad Bane, would've been right in line for a guest appearance. The likelihood of that happening seemed to increase once "Clone Wars" fan-favorite characters like Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex made appearances on the program, and the series continued Darth Maul's storylines from "The Clone Wars." If these familiar faces from "Clone Wars" could show up, who's to say Cad Bane couldn't?

Unfortunately for Cad Bane fans, the bounty hunter was missing from the entire run of "Star Wars: Rebels." Even when other scoundrels introduced in "The Clone Wars" made an appearance in "Rebels," Bane was nowhere to be found. However, eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted the closest thing to a Bane cameo on the show in one particular "Rebels" episode in the form of Bane graffiti on a wall behind Sabine. Though just a background detail, this Easter egg reminded viewers that Bane is alive and well in this era of "Star Wars." Of course, it's almost certainly true that devotees to this "Star Wars" figure would've vastly preferred a confrontation between Bane and the protagonists of "Rebels."

Why Cad Bane is Corey Burton's favorite Clone Wars character to voice

On "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," veteran voice actor Corey Burton had no shortage of interesting characters to voice. This includes familiar "Star Wars" figures like the nefarious Count Dooku, as well as new characters like Ziro the Hutt. It's among those fresh individuals that one finds Burton's favorite character to voice on "The Clone Wars." Much like fans of this show, Burton is especially enamored with everything to do with the bounty hunter Cad Bane.

"Cad Bane is a real joy to perform, and it's completely effortless," Burton explained to StarWars.com. "Dave Filoni has such a good sense of casting that we always end up with character roles that come naturally and don't require a lot of thought and effort." Burton went on to note that his fondness for Bane also stems from his penchant for voicing villains, with the performer revealing that he largely prefers voicing adversarial characters over clean-cut good guys. His fondness for Bane could also stem from how Burton worked on Western radio dramas in his younger years as a performer. Though those scripts didn't involve lightsaber duels, they did utilize characters that served as precursors — both in attitude and attire — for Cad Bane. Considering all these deeply personal qualities at play, it's no wonder that Bane has emerged as Burton's favorite voiced character on "The Clone Wars."

Why Cad Bane was brought into The Bad Batch

Even before Disney bought Lucasfilm, "Star Wars" TV shows were all about bringing in familiar faces for surprise appearances. Just look at how Jabba the Hutt factored into the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" movie or the guest appearance by Greedo in a Season 3 episode of the "Clone Wars" TV show. This practice has only gotten more pronounced in recent years as Lucasfilm attempts to reinforce a sense of unified continuity across all its various "Star Wars" properties. An example is Cad Bane making a surprise showing in an episode of the TV show "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" in 2021.

Producer Jennifer Corbett explained to Skywalking Through the Neverland that having Bane appear on "The Bad Batch" was more than just providing hollow fan service to viewers. After all, the program had already featured the titular leads facing off against bounty hunter Fennec Shand. Following that formidable opponent, the writers wanted to introduce an even greater threat for the Clone protagonists to face off against. This is where Cad Bane came into play, as Corbett and the other "Bad Batch" personnel felt he was one of the most ruthless figures these characters could go toe-to-toe with. And if having this adversary around reinforced the grander fictional universe "The Bad Batch" occupied, well, that was just gravy.

What inspired Cad Bane's visual appearance in The Bad Batch

When Cad Bane reappears in "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" — his first appearance in a canonical "Star Wars" property in almost a decade — he looks a little different than viewers might remember. Bane hasn't undergone a radical transformation, but he's got a new ship, and his clothes have been tweaked. These weren't incidental alterations, though — these were intentional enhancements to the character meant to take him into new directions while also paying tribute to unrealized storylines involving Bane from "The Clone Wars."

Director Brad Rau explained to Skywalking Through Neverland that Cad Bane's appearance was built on "some designs that had never gone into production that were in progress in 'Clone Wars' both for his look and his ship that you see. It was a lot of fun to sort of take them out of the garage and tinker with it and push it and rework it a little bit so that Cad Bane and his ride felt familiar and yet a little bit more nuanced and more detailed." These differences also helped to reinforce the passage of time between Bane's last appearance on "The Clone Wars" and the era of "Star Wars" history that "The Bad Batch" took place against. By going this visual route, "The Bad Batch" could tip its hat towards the past of "Star Wars" on television while also offering up something new for a familiar audience-favorite character.

How The Bad Batch reused unrealized Cad Bane material

Bringing Cad Bane back for "Star Wars: The Bad Batch" wasn't just an opportunity to make fans of this bounty hunter pleased as punch. It was also a chance to bring to life certain story beats that "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" never got to execute before it was cut short. Of course, given how much time had passed between "The Clone Wars" getting initially canceled in 2013 and the 2021 debut of "The Bad Batch," original concepts for Bane storylines couldn't just be reused whole cloth. But they could be reinterpreted to fit newly introduced characters in the "Star Wars" mythos.

Talking to Screen Rant, producer Brad Rau revealed that Cad Bane's appearance in "The Bad Batch" was steeped deeply in unused designs and storylines from "The Clone Wars," to the point that the show's big showdown between Bane and new character Hunter was based on the animation and direction of an unused showdown between Bane and Boba Fett from the earlier program. "So it's more of us as fans, behind the scenes, wanting to pay homage to that," Rau said of how Bane's "The Bad Batch" appearance is rooted in "Clone Wars" material "that was never finished — more than anything else." When it comes to this galaxy far, far away, no idea ends up getting totally discarded.

Cad Bane's other animated appearances

A character as popular as Cad Bane can't be confined to just one TV program for long. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Bane began to appear in other types of "Star Wars" media beyond his home of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." This has included appearances in a slew of non-canonical video games, particularly the comical title "LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles." Though he may be a cold-blooded killer on "The Clone Wars," the opportunity to juxtapose such a ruthless figure with wacky antics was too good for many creators to pass on.

This helps explain why Bane was once set to appear on "Star Wars: Detours," a proposed comedic animated TV show spearheaded by Seth Green and other personnel from "Robot Chicken." Intended to be a satirical interpretation of the "Star Wars" universe, a promo reel for the show contained a handful of brief appearances by Bane, one of which involved him engaged in a stand-off with another bounty hunter that briefly catches R2-D2's attention. Though this program never made it to air, Bane's presence in the marketing for "Detours" is very much worth noting. After all, he was presented alongside "Star Wars" fixtures like Jabba the Hutt and Obi-Wan. Though this was a goofier, animated take on the character, presenting Bane as an equal to these "Star Wars" legends speaks to the immense popularity that this bounty hunter has procured.