Bad Batch: Who is Riyo Chuchi?

"Trespass" - The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episode 15. Image courtesy
"Trespass" - The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episode 15. Image courtesy /

The Bad Batch episodes “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences” surprised me by bringing back one of my personal favorite Clone Wars characters, Riyo Chuchi. This long-time character from the previous series definitely made her voice known in the sequel show. But who is Riyo Chuchi and why is she important?

Riyo is the senator from the moon of Pantora which orbits around the icy wasteland of Orto Plutonia. Pantorans did not live on the planet; instead, it was inhabited by the Talz people which set the stage for Riyo’s entry into the series. She made her first appearance in the season one episode of Clone Wars, “Trespass,” as a relatively young new senator sent to help settle a dispute. The Republic tried to set up a base on Orto Plutonia, but it was attacked by the Talz who didn’t want them on their world.

Along with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Captain Rex, Riyo was sent with another Pantoran, Chairman Chi Cho, to find out what happened to the base. Upon discovering the Talz, Chi Cho makes the entire situation worse by going all colonizer on a planet that’s not his, calling the Talz people lesser, and declaring war on them. Rex and his men hold off the Talz long enough for Riyo to get approval from the Pantoran Speaker of the Assembly to settle the matter herself.

Chi Cho is killed and in his last breath, he tells Riyo to wipe out the Talz. But Riyo instead does what she does best: she understands the needs of the voiceless. She speaks with the Talz Chieftan and declares that the Pantorans and Republic will leave their planet alone. After she respectfully bows to the Talz leader, she removes the Republic from the planet so the Talz can govern how they see fit.

Now in hindsight, this episode is more significant for The Bad Batch. It’s how Riyo met Captain Rex and became his friend to help set up “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences.”

Throughout the Clone Wars, Riyo pops up in a swath of cameos from the Zillo Beast attack to Cad Bane taking members of the senate hostage. Her friendship with Anakin is displayed as she helps Padme care for his wounds while they wait for rescue.

But Riyo’s other biggest appearance in the series came in the season four episode “Sphere of Influence.” The moon of Pantora has been slowly becoming disillusioned with the Republic, so Count Dooku stages the Trade Federation to make a blockade around the moon claiming they have debts to be paid. In reality, he wants Pantora to join the Separatists.

As Riyo and the Pantoran Chairman Notluwiski Papanoida turn to the Republic Senate for help, Papanoida’s daughters are kidnapped to force the planet to join the Separatists. Fun fact, Papanoida was played by George Lucas and his daughter Katie Lucas plays Papnoida’s daughter in Revenge of the Sith.

Despite the fact that the Jedi could not get involved, Ahsoka Tano had become good friends with Riyo over time and wanted to help. So Anakin being his rule-bending self, he gave her a wink-wink-nudge-nudge lowkey permission to assist the situation as long as she wasn’t caught.

As Chairman Papnoida tracks down one of his daughters on Tatooine, Riyo and Ahsoka find the other daughter on a Trade Federation ship. They overhear the plan that the Trade Federation blockade was a ruse and save the second daughter. With the family safe and accounted for, Riyo comes back to the Senate and is able to negotiate the dissolution of the blockade now that the Trade Federation had no more leverage against Pantora.

The last major cameo prior to The Bad Batch for Riyo was during the trial of Ahsoka Tano. She sat on the jury for her friend and heard the case.

Riyo Chuchi has been a long-time character in Star Wars animation. As I said, she’s one of my personal favorites since Clone Wars, so it was such a delight to have her back in “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences.” With her fighting for the rights of the clones, I hope this isn’t the last time we see her in The Bad Batch.

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