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Cad Bane

SW: The Clone Wars
by yo go re

George Lucas never lets anything go. His very first 13-page draft of the story that would become Star Wars included not only the phrase "padawaan learner," but focuses on a character named Mace Windy. It took 26 years for either of those ideas to show up in Star Wars proper, and now it's possible the same thing has happened with the bounty hunter Cad Bane.

Cad Bane is hired by Darth Sidious to break into the Jedi Temple and steal a holocron containing the secret names of future Jedi. The resourceful and cunning bounty hunter carefully puts his plan in place using schematics of the temple, a techno-service droid and an unscrupulous shapeshifter.

Wait, wait, wait: are you really expecting me to believe there's such a thing as a scrupulous shapeshifter? Space ships that can exceed "worp" (as Han Solo said), energy beam swords that go yay high and then just stop, parsecs as a measure of time rather than distance... all these things I can accept, but a shapeshifter who isn't sneaky for personal gain? That's just too outlandish. Belief can only be suspended so far, you know, before it snaps.

Cad Bane is a Duros - those are the big-eyed aliens from the Cantina Scene - but he's dressed like he stepped right out of an old Western, with boots, chaps and a full-length duster. He's even got a big cowboy hat! So far Cad's only appeared on the cartoon, so his action figure is done in the animated style. Despite that, he's still got a high amount of detail: metal tips on the corners of his lapel and coat, clasps on his shirt, several (sculpted) layers of clothing, rocket boosters on his boots... it's all impressive stuff, made doubly so by its unrealistic origins.

Bane's hat is removable, giving you a clear look at the bright blue skin beneath. It's remarkably vibrant, considering the guys in the movie looked grey. His red eyes rest below heavy, hairless brows, and a black sleeve covers the back of his head. He has silver breathing tubes embedded into his cheeks, which apparently allow him to work freely in the harshest environments. Wouldn't he need to cover his mouth, too? Or does he just grip his lips tightly?

Articulation is always spotty on these Clone Wars toys - just look at what they did to Ahsoka Tano, for instance. Cad's got a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge/swivel elbows, swivel waist and swivel hips. No knees? No ankles? Disappointing. Plus, those technological gauntlets he wears have hoses that disappear into his sleeves; yes, that means like Boba Fett and Wraith, he's got plastic bits that run over a joint. Never a fan of that, especially since (due to a lack of wrist joints) you have to use his elbow joints to position his hands. They seem sturdy enough for now, but that's a feature that would have been better omitted.

The figure gets a lot of paint apps, but that means a lot you have to watch out for. There are four different shades of brown on his chest alone! However, the biggest problem area (or, let's be honest, just the easiest to notice because of its contrast) is anything painted silver. There's either inadequate coverage or noticeable spillage, depending on the area of the figure, or even the individual sample you can find. Definitely compare Banes, if you can - he's new, popular, and thus hard to find, so right now you're lucky to even spot a single figure. In time, though, he's sure to be plentiful. There is one problem that all the figures have, though: the tiny bit of holsters that are sculpted on the groin are unpainted; they're the same black as his pants, when they should be orangey brown.

Beyond his wide-brimmed hat, Cad Bane has three accessories: two pistols and a rifle. Yes, they're all outer spacey blasters, but the design is unmistakable, and in keeping with his western theme. The pistols fit in holsters on his hips - yes, just like Jango Fett - and although the stock photography of the figure shows the rifle held on his back somehow, it doesn't actually happen. Somebody cheated! His hands are molded to hold any of the weapons tightly, and the guns themselves are detailed well. The pistols are rubberbanded into his hands in the package, so they're slightly warped, but putting them in the holsters will help correct that.

One accessory the figure doesn't come with but probably should have is his little service droid, Todo 360. Todo only appeared in one episode of the cartoon, but he was voiced by Seth Green and was ridiculously charming. Everybody would love a Todo 360, but it just didn't price out - Hasbro said they'll try to find a way to release him in the future.

Season 1 of The Clone Wars was all Republic vs. Separatists, with no outside influence. For Season 2, however, the writers decided to introduce bounty hunters to the fray, and set about designing their new bad guy. They originally considered bringing Durge back, but eventually George suggested they make a character based on Lee Van Cleef's spaghetti Western roles. Looking through the Lucasfilm archives, Supervising Director Dave Filoni found an unlabeled sketch of a cowboy-styled bounty hunter designed for the Original Trilogy, and that served as the basis for Bane's design. It's possible Cad Bane was a character Lucas has been waiting decades to introduce, and now you can own him.

-- 12/13/09

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