Star Wars loves a good redemption arc. Darth Vader is the most famous Star Wars villain to receive one, but Kylo Ren/Ben Solo gets a redemption moment at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, and many other minor and major characters gain redemption throughout Star Wars media, such as Iden Versio in the Star Wars Battlefront II video game.
But there’s one character who shouldn’t receive a redemption story, and that’s Crosshair in The Bad Batch.
I’m a big fan of redemption arcs. I love seeing a flawed individual overcome their mistakes and bad decisions and learn to better themselves by putting others first and learning very hard lessons along the way. The redemption arc of Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the most compelling parts of that series and one of the biggest reasons why I adore that show.
Not everyone deserves redemption, though, and Star Wars has had plenty throughout the years. For a franchise in need of some shaking up after the end of the Skywalker saga, breaking their traditional mold of allowing a villain to have a “hero moment” via a heroic sacrifice at the end of their story is a good way to start.
Is Crosshair beyond redemption?
As part two of the season 1 finale of The Bad Batch nears, I can’t help but shake the feeling that Crosshair — this season’s emotional antagonist set against the backdrop of the ultimate villain, the Empire itself — is going to be offered a redemptive arc in the final episode. Whether it’s through a heroic sacrifice to save one of the members of the Batch or through the empathy of Omega or Hunter offering him a second (technically third) chance to join them and defect from the Empire, Crosshair is in prime position to have a moment of atonement in the season finale.
But think back to what Crosshair has done this season, and you may see why I’m in favor of denying him that redemption.
Inhibitor chip or not, Crosshair has done some pretty heinous things since refusing to join the rest of the Batch as they defected from the Empire. Not only has he hunted down and attempted to kill his former squadmates, but he shot and killed a captured rebel fighter even after they had surrendered. Then he commands his troopers to kill the refugees — innocent and unarmed civilians, mind you — and they comply. The one trooper who refused to listen to Crosshair’s orders? He gets shot and killed by Crosshair.
Yeah, that’s pretty messed up.
Even though Crosshair likely still had his inhibitor chip activated at this time, that’s not an excuse for ordering the murder of refugees, executing your own soldiers, and shooting someone who has already surrendered.
That should be bad enough to exclude Crosshair from any sort of redemption, but when you add up his actions towards the Batch, his former “family,” and the fact that he purposely targeted Omega over the rest of the Batch in Episode 8, “Reunion,” when he encountered the Batch, then you begin to wonder why he should be offered any form of absolution.
Additionally, Crosshair has now been willingly allying himself with the Empire for who knows how long.
Assuming he wasn’t lying when he told Hunter and the Batch that his inhibitor chip had been removed a while ago, Crosshair has committed some pretty bad deeds on his own accord during the first season of the show.
Crosshair hasn’t exactly shown any remorse for his actions, either. Yes, he has a point about Hunter and the Batch leaving him behind and feeling abandoned, but his “olive branch” he extended towards his former squadmates was to ask them to join him and the Empire. He hasn’t shown any misgivings about murdering those civilians or trying to kill the Batch previously, and he only wants his “family” to be whole again on his terms.
Redemption in Star Wars
Look, I’m well aware that Darth Vader was redeemed despite slaughtering Jedi and killing younglings. If he can be forgiven after that, then who’s to say anyone is beyond saving?
That redemption, however, was also written back in the 1980s, and those horrifying acts, while committed canonically before the events of The Empire Strikes Back, didn’t happen on screen till two decades later in Revenge of the Sith. So at least in that instance, there’s a bit of a catch due to the prequel trilogy coming out in theaters after the original trilogy.
Vader isn’t the only villain to willingly give up his own life to save another and receive forgiveness at the end, though.
Much like I am with Crosshair, I was also in favor of Kylo Ren not receiving a redemption moment in The Rise of Skywalker after seeing him kill his own father, refuse Rey’s plea to turn from the Dark Side, and double down on his dark ways before Episode IX. Alas, he received a “hero moment” at the end of Episode IX and got to have a heroic sacrifice just like his grandfather.
I expect the same to happen with Crosshair in the season one finale of The Bad Batch.
The overall concept of redemption stories is fine, and I believe them to be some of the most interesting and fascinating plot devices in story-telling. If the message of Star Wars is that no matter how far you fall, you can still be redeemed, then great, I think that’s a good message to put out into the world.
However, if Dave Filoni and the rest of his crew want to set The Bad Batch apart from most of the other Star Wars properties — even in a minor way — then allowing Crosshair to die a villain would certainly do that.