Star Wars Series Got Its Inspiration From The Best Video Game

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Star Wars The Bad Batch was heavily inspired by the classic Nintendo 64 podracing for a recent episode bringing back the high-speed contest.

By Mark McKee
| Published

Admit it, you don’t hate the prequels nearly as much as you’re supposed to; like any good Star Wars fan, you’ve watched the prequel trilogy over and over and found that, while flawed, there are some things that you still love. Podracing is one of the aspects of the series that is both beloved and hated, a divisive tool Lucas used to show Anakin’s early sensitivity to the force and a plot point to bring him to the attention of Qui-gon Jin (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). But as divisive as it was after Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, it gave us an amazing podracing game on Nintendo 64, and according to Slash FilmThe Bad Batch used it for inspiration. 

According to Freddie Prinze Jr., who voiced Kanan Jarrus and others in Star Wars: Rebels, the franchise is made for kids, and with that in mind, there need to be some lighter episodes with some fun. Episode 4 of The Bad Batch decided to accomplish that by bringing back podracing, but not in the hot deserts of Tatooine like in Episode 1, but in enclosed tunnels. The episode focused on gambling and allowed some character growth for both Cid and Tech. 

When talking with Slash Film, supervising director Brad Rau talked about moving it to the tunnels so they could show the high speeds by using advertisements whizzing by as the pods traveled through. According to him, there were a lot of inspirations; one was the imagery of a Formula One race, another was the pod race in Phantom Menace, and the third was the Nintendo 64 Star Wars podracing game Star Wars – Episode 1 – Racer. Rau told Slash Film that they looked at that game a lot and reminisced about playing it a lot as a kid. 

Star Wars: Episode 1 – Racer

Of course, not every episode can be a heavy storyline that furthers the plot and gives something deeply meaningful to the characters. Sometimes there needs to be some fun, and The Bad Batch Season 2, Episode 4, “Faster,” gives us that, along with giving Tech his time in the spotlight. However, while the writers and artists got to have fun by tickling our nostalgia for the Star Wars podracing game and showing fans what the world of podracing could actually look like (not just force-sensitive toddlers blowing up alien bullies), they do give us a little bit of insight into the character growth. 

First and foremost, we get to see Tech beyond being just the guy in the chair, but also establishing his habit of going on the defensive. We also get a little more of Cid, and a sneak peek into the past that undoubtedly holds some skeletons that will come back to haunt the group at some point. 

While the big-budget films in the Star Wars franchise have focused on the Skywalker family and the feud between the Sith and the Jedi, it is good to see some of the writers having fun with expanding the universe. For any millennial out there, the throwback to the Nintendo 64 Star Wars podracing game is the kind of love we like to see from the franchise

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