Star Wars Just Improved Upon a Classic The Phantom Menace Moment
Written by on January 24, 2023
But this isn’t your straightforward race to the finish line. The Bad Batch adds an interesting new twist to the competition. Back when Anakin was podracing in The Phantom Menace, attempting to sabotage the other racers was technically against the rules, however overlooked by Tatooine’s gangsters. But when it comes to the dangerous sport of riot racing, destroying your competitors’ vehicles is actively encouraged for a more high-octane form of racing. There’s not quite a Safa Toma version of Beggar’s Canyon with Tusken Raiders shooting at you, but instead, each speeder is equipped with an arsenal of weapons. Podracing had some fiery farewells, but when a riot race spectator is taken out by a stray laser bolt in one scene, it’s clear that even the audience is participating at their own risk.
While it’s hardly the first time the franchise has introduced an alternative to podracing – the time trials of Knights of the Old Republic‘s swoop racing levels come to mind – riot racing might be the very best we’ve seen so far. Armed competitors, a twisting course complete with trick tunnels and dead ends, and surprise obstacles popping out of the track when you least expect it give these sequences a Mad Max or Death Race 2000 sort of feel, making for an even more lethal take on Lucas’ idea for The Phantom Menace. Who knew all podracing was missing was even more ways to blow up?
So Many The Phantom Menace Easter Eggs
On top of introducing a more high stakes version of podracing for The Bad Batch, “Faster” also doesn’t skimp on The Phantom Menace easter eggs.
The episode features its very own version of a racing arch-rival akin to The Phantom Menace‘s Sebulba, with TAY-0 racing against a Nosaurian named Jet Venim. Nosaurians are another callback to Episode I – Clegg Holdfast, the first Nosaurian in Star Wars, was one of the competitors in the Boonta Eve Classic.
There’s an even more deep-cut reference to The Phantom Menace. During one of the racing sequences, you will spot an advertisement for a yellow version of the Seraph-class urban landspeeder that appeared in the movie. There are also the staple DUM-series pit droids that made their debut in Episode I and have more recently popped up as comedic side characters to Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto in The Mandalorian.
When TAY-0 is wiped out by a rogue racer, it looks like the Batch is doomed – forcing Tech to take the droid’s place. In fact, you’ll notice a lot of droid drivers here, including an old battle droid from the Clone Wars. TAY-0 explains that’s because droids have the response times needed to compete in riot races. This echoes a throwaway line in The Phantom Menace when Anakin says he’s the only human capable of podracing. While Qui-Gon guessed that Anakin’s superior racing reflexes were due to his Force-sensitivity, Tech doesn’t have supernatural abilities. But he is incredibly intelligent, so he uses his analytical mind to win the race.