Star Wars has often brought in familiar faces to cameo in its projects. Maul appears at the end of Solo, and The Bad Batch Season 1 featured many characters from all over the Star Wars world, but did it too often, and sometimes it forgot who its main characters were. Obi-Wan Kenobi is no different, and as soon as Episode 2 it treats the audience to Temuera Morrison as a 501st Legion clone trooper on the planet Daiyu.
Unlike the cameos in prior projects, this one has a lot of emotion to it, and helps those who haven’t seen The Bad Batch understand what happens to the Clone Army under the Empire.
The cameo appears near the start of Part II. Obi-Wan lands on Daiyu and begins his search for Leia. When he tries to reach out to Qui-Gon Jinn for help, a familiar voice asks Obi-Wan for credits. The camera pans across and reveals the face of a disheveled clone, played by none other than Temuera Morrison. The clone then asks Kenobi for help getting a warm meal.
Obi-Wan hesitates for a second, no doubt in shock. Once he recovers, he puts a few credits in the man’s helmet. The following shot features two stormtroopers, in their nice, shiny armor, pushing Obi-Wan and other citizens out the way.
There are two reasons that make this cameo stand above the rest that Star Wars offers. Unlike many of them, it gives the audience a genuine emotional reaction, other than just pointing at their screens in shock. Thanks to series like The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch, the fanbase has grown attached to many clones, many in the 501st Legion. To see one in such a state of despair is saddening, especially because the audience knows that this isn’t through his own fault. It further adds the tragedy of the clones, bred for a war they didn’t understand, forced to kill their friends the Jedi and then made homeless, forgotten by everyone.
But this moment isn’t just sad for the clone. Obi-Wan’s hesitation indicates he is living through trauma of Order 66 in his head. He doesn’t know about the inhibitor chip, he thinks that the clones willingly turned on the Jedi, and on him. Moreover, he knew the 501st Legion were at the Jedi Temple during Order 66, he knew they were with Anakin as he slaughtered children. So for him to still give the clone a few credits shows that no matter how Obi Wan personally feels, he still shows compassion. Obi-Wan is still a Jedi after all.
Another reason this cameo stands out is because of what it tells the audience. The appearance of the clone as a dirty, homeless and poor man, is immediately juxtaposed with two stormtroopers, their armour glistening. It shows the audience that the clones were discarded by the Empire, they were replaced. This acts as a summary of The Bad Batch.
With a focus on Clone Force 99, the show explores the replacement of the Clone Army with the early Stormtrooper Corps, and the fact that the Empire didn’t support the clones afterwards. However, the clone cameo conveys the essentials of the story without spending too long on it.
Morrison’s cameo is full of emotion and conveys an important part of the rise of the Empire, making it a necessary inclusion. It isn’t a cameo just to surprise the audience, but there’s an emotional and story purpose behind it. It hints at a larger story, something the audience can find in another Star Wars series. More cameos should have the same amount of depth found here, and not just be included just for the surprise factor.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is now streaming Wednesdays on Disney+.
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