Learn all about the mighty creature recently seen in Star Wars: The Bad Batch.
What was that mysterious reptilian creature that ran rampant in the most recent episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch? It was the fearsome zillo beast, a fan-favorite monster that has been a part of the galaxy since the early seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
This misunderstood menace first appeared in 2013, in The Clone Wars episodes “The Zillo Beast” and “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back” (Season 2, Episodes 18 and 19). These two episodes played like loving homages to classic monster films like Godzilla (1954) and King Kong (1933). Ever since then, however, fans have been wondering what Palpatine’s conniving, cloning plans for the beast were.
And now, thanks to the newest episode of The Bad Batch (“Metamorphosis”), the zillo beast is back, and StarWars.com has all the insights you need to catch up on this energy-absorbing monster of the week.
During the Clone Wars, the Republic found itself in an intense standoff with the conniving Dugs, as they attempted to take control of the planet Malastare, which possessed an incredible wealth of much-needed fuel. It was decided to use an untested electro-proton superweapon bomb on the planet, to disrupt the opposing Separatist droid army.
While initially successful, the bomb also caused an enormous crater to form on the planet’s surface, awakening the long-slumbering zillo beast, an ancient, legendary creature. Immediately, it wreaked havoc on the battlefield, which was when General Anakin Skywalker dubiously discovered that its protruding spikes and plated skin were impervious to lightsabers.
The zillo beast, as encountered by the Republic and the Dugs, was a menacing reptile-like creature, towering above the armies at nearly 100 meters long. However, it was surprisingly graceful in its movements, helped by its five sinewy appendages, three-fingered clawlike hands, and its lanky, scaled body. Its glowing green eyes were both frightening and curious, hinting at its larger intelligence.
After its eventual tranquilization and capture, an intrigued Chancellor Palpatine ordered that it be brought to Coruscant for further observation, because its impervious hide could be studied for military purposes, like armor for ships and troopers. “The sooner we can unlock the zillo beast’s secrets, the sooner we can end this terrible war,” Palpatine cunningly noted.
After its delivery to Coruscant, Palpatine became increasingly captivated by the creature, as it was monitored (and tortured) by Republic scientists. Even through its pain and captivity, the potentially sentient zillo beast eventually broke out of its confines and ran rampant across the capital. Egged on by the Palpatine’s snarling visage on holograms across the planet, the zillo beast climbed across the towers of Coruscant, headed straight towards the senate building (and the Chancellor’s office).
After an intense battle, the beast was eventually brought down by gas bombs, killed by large doses of a powerful toxin (the same one that had coerced it into destroy Coruscant).
In order to make sure that its “sacrifice was not made in vain,” Palpatine ordered his scientist, Doctor Boll, to clone the beast. And that was the last we saw of the zillo beast, until its cloned offspring came after Clone Force 99.
This arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was initially inspired by the series’ supervising director Dave Filoni’s love for kaiju and Japanese monster movies. At the time of the episodes’ initial release, Filoni said, “I knew that the zillo beast had to be different. It is rare for George [Lucas] to approve something, like the lightsaber not being able to cut through [its hide]. It had to do something we had never seen before.”
In a later 2015 interview with StarWars.com, Filoni mentioned that the zillo beast (or even a mecha zillo beast) would be too challenging to come back for Star Wars Rebels. But he hinted that “maybe a baby Zillo Beast!” could be possible. Fans would have to wait to see that small piece of foreshadowing come true for The Bad Batch, nearly eight years later.
We will find out if more zillo secrets are revealed as Clone Force 99 continues their adventures across the galaxy. Until then, if fans want to see even more of the zillo beast, in the future of the galaxy, they should check out Marvel’s comic one-shot Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren #1. In that issue, another member of the zillo beast species lived out in Wild Space, worshipped as a god by the Benathy species…and eventually killed by Anakin’s grandson, Kylo Ren.