Like most Star Wars: The Bad Batch fans, I’ve been mulling over the many different theories surrounding the mysterious character Omega. Many range from the very plausible, such as Omega being Force sensitive, to the absurd, such as Omega being Phasma. However, my favorite theories to speculate over derive from looking at Star Wars through the Hero’s Journey and Heroine’s Journey. As I have been posting on Twitter and Reddit, I believe Omega’s Heroine’s Journey is modeled after the classic fairy tale trope of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, an Aarne-Thompson-Uther folktale type #709.
Wait, what’s that you say? Aarne what? Heroine’s Journey? What does that have to do with our favorite Bad Batcher Omega? And how does that put her in carbonite?
Let me break it down!
WATCH THE VIDEO IF YOU WANT AN ABRIDGED AUDIO VERSION:
The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Cambpell, and Star Wars
First, let me start with George Lucas and his love for Joseph Campbell. The latter was a professor of Literature that became well known in pop culture for his book Hero of a Thousand Faces. Now let me preface by saying that Campbell has received much criticism by folklorists. Even my cultural anthropology professor, a major Star Wars fan, said Campbell was not very good at anthropology at all. But if you want to understand Star Wars you need to understand Campbell because George Lucas was a huge fan of the guy, and he decided to write Star Wars based on the structure of the Hero’s Journey that Campbell laid out.
Campbell saw all myths as being derived from one great monomyth and all stories as just variations of that myth. He was strongly influenced by Carl Jung‘s work on mythic archetypes and Sigmund Freud, who Carl Jung was a student of.
But essentially, when you watch a Star Wars movie, particularly of the Skywalker Saga, you are watching a Campbellian monomyth laid out, with huge doses of Carl Jung mythic archtypes thrown in.
In the Hero’s Journey there are three main acts
- The Departure Act, in which the hero leaves their ordinary, “normal”life
- The Initiation Act, in which the hero faces challenges, temptations, etc, the action of the story
- The Return Act, in which the hero returns home to bring back what they’ve learned.
This is further subdivided into 12 steps.
Fairy tales, myths and folklore all (according to Campbell) follow this basic 12 step structure in three acts.
What about the Heroine’s Journey?
n 1990, Maureen Murdock wrote the Heroine’s Journey. She felt that Campbell’s Hero’s Journey did not adequately reflect stories of heroines, such as Beauty and the Beast or Snow White which is about “the healing of the wounded feminine within the protagonist and culture”. There are some great essays on Tumblr about the Sequel Trilogy’s Rey and her Heroine’s Journey which is most strongly aligned with the Eros and Psyche story motif, Aarne Thompson Uther index #425. I highly recommend Magpie-Trove’s excellent and accurate breakdown of Rey’s Heroine’s Journey!
And if you’re wondering what Aarne Thompson Uther means, I’ll get to that in a bit! But for now, I want to briefly outline the Heroine’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is based on external events shaping the protagonist’s story, but the Heroine’s Journey is more introspective. I would argue that even for Omega and Rey, their journeys incorporate aspects of both.
Heroine’s Journey steps
- Separation from the feminine
- Identification with the masculine and gathering of allies
- Road of trials and meetings with ogres and dragons
- Finding the boon of success
- Spiritual aridity and death
- Initiation and descent to the goddess
- Urgent yearning to reconnect with the feminine
- Healing the mother/daughter split
- Healing the wounded masculine within
- Integration of the masculine and feminine
Okay, so got all that? Let’s move on to fairy tales!
What is the Aarne Thompson Uther Index?
Simply put, it is the indexing of all the folklore types that are known into a numerical, searchable system. Many of the stories we grew up with such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White have are quite old, and have many diverse versions. Some stories are blends of two different types of story, or have elements of only one. The Eros and Psyche story of which Ben and Rey of the sequel trilogy is most aligned has elements of #425, the supernatural husband story motif such as Beauty and the Beast 425C.
I noticed when I first started watching Star Wars: The Bad Batch, that a fairytale motif, very well known to most of us was informing the structure of Omega’s Hero/Heroine’s Journey. That fairytale motif is #709. We know that story as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but that story has multiple versions from Scotland to Italy, such as my favorite version, The Dead Princess and the Seven Knights, and the Glass Casket. Most of us have seen Disney’s version of the Grimm’s Snow White, so I highly recommend this charming 1951 animation of USSR’s The Dead Princess story based on a poem of the 19th century by Pushkin.
How is The Bad Batch’s Omega’s journey like that of Snow White? AKA how potentially Omega could be frozen in carbonite or have a fake death
There are several main elements to #709 stories.
- A young heroine must flee her home, from a toxic older female figure. Most of the time, she will be the stepmother, but sometimes the child’s own mother. The main idea, is she is an older female figure that means harm to the girl. In some stories she is envious of the latter’s beauty, in some tales, she simply means to eliminate someone who could take the wealth she believes should be only hers.
- The girl will be persecuted, and told to be killed by a hunter, handmaid, or other. The one who is sent to kill, instead becomes an aide to the girl. This aide isn’t dependent on gender, and isn’t always even human.
- This fleeing represents Campbell’s Departure Act and the Heroine’s Separation from the Feminine simultaneously.
- The girl will usually flee into the mythic world of the forest, or in one story, the land of fairies. In most stories, it is the forest, and in Grimm’s tale she finds dwarves, in the Dead Princess, she finds seven knights who are brothers. In the Heroine’s Journey, this will be her alliance with the masculine. Symbolically, this is her gathering of friends in the Hero’s Journey as well. The main idea in the 709 tale is that the Snow White figure is an outcast, but finds solidarity with other outcasts and temporary family. These figures, you’ll notice, are either supernatural such as the dwarves or fairies, or just peculiar people as the seven knights, mysteriously living in the middle of a forest.
- Snow White or the Princess will become useful to the masculine allies she lives with. Since these are folktales of centuries before, she does “women’s work” for them. She shows herself to be industrious, and willing to work, despite any royal upbringing, though not all 709 stories features nobility, in some tales she is a tailor’s daughter.
- Happiness is short lived as the malevolent mother figure finds the girl’s whereabouts and is outraged she is alive. She will find this out through animals or a mirror. Simultaneously the girl sometimes misses her father, or her fiancee [The Dead Princess and the Seven Knights].
- The wicked mother figure either seeks to destroy the girl herself, or hires a witch to do it for her. She will tempt the girl with something as simple as fruit, a dress from her father, a spinning wheel, etc. These items are poisoned or cursed.
- The crisis of all these tales is that the girl is rendered falsely dead. She is is laid in a cave, or paraded in a crystal or glass casket by the dwarves, fairies, or knights who love and mourn their sister figure.
- The girl is inevitably rescued by a prince or in one strange version, the prince’s new wife. Marriage concludes the tale, in some stories the prince finds the dead girl and falls in love with her corpse [ew], or was already betrothed to her before the mother figure’s attacks and has been searching for his beloved the whole time.
- The mother figure usually dies, either from a heart attack, or very gruesomely as is common with Grimm’s version of stories.
In episode 1 of the Bad Batch, Omega is already living in the “castle” of Kamino. This is her home and all she has ever known. One of the first things I noticed right away with this episode and the teaser trailer is that Omega wears the same kind of circlet that Kaminoan women wear. This was important because right away it signified that Omega is not regarded in the same utilitarian manner as other clones. Someone, I think Nala Se, regards Omega as a person, enough to share in her own culture and feminine traditions. This is a change from what we’ve seen of Nala Se in the Clone Wars, where she regards the Clones as products.
In episode 2, “Cut and Run”, we have this one brief but emotional scene in which Omega removes her circlet and cries. While Omega was fine to flee with the Bad Batch, her likely brothers (for now, I assume she is of the Fett template as the others, whether she is a strandcast or not), its clear she still misses Kamino, or perhaps Nala Se.
While Nala Se’s previous behavior, and her discussion with Lama Su in Episode 3 that Omega needs to be retrieved to serve as a negotiation product, can lead one to believe she is the wicked mother archetype, it is also at conflict with her letting Omega flee in episode 1, in addition to her regard of Omega. It’s difficult for me to say whether Nala Se operates as a maid figure that aids in Omega’s escape from the world of her birth that has become dangerous to her (and thus Kamino itself is the malevolent mother figure, a world of storms that creates child after child, a violent mother-goddess), or whether she is a deceptive mother to Omega, and Omega’s affections for her are misplaced.
Episode 2 through 4 showcase Omega’s naivete, which is typical for a Snow White story. While different versions of the #709 tale vary in how naive (or just plain stupid) the girl is, many versions simply have the girl as inexperienced in the ways of strangers, or the witch sent to kill her uses magic to disguise her appearance as the girl’s own family household maid, to which the girl would have no reason to suspect of evil.
However, Omega, like Snow White, is far from useless. Omega, from the very start, seeks to help her new-found brothers. She already knows of them when they arrive to Kamino, and seems to know they are her kin, something episode 3 confirms. Omega knows quite a bit about them, inhibitor chips and more. I am fairly confident her medical knowledge will come in handy when these chips need to be removed, as Wrecker’s chip seems ready to activate per episode 5.
It’s also worth mentioning that Episode 5 has the Bad Batch lay down rules for Omega, much like some versions of Snow White has the dwarves or fairies lay down rules for Snow White to remain safe, as she has already been tricked by the stepmother before.
In episode 4, Omega had her first trial on her own with Fennec Shand. Shand is deceptive and charming, attired in black, and like the witch/stepmother figure in many versions of the #709 motif, uses her family—Hunter and the rest—as temptation, by promising to help reunite Omega with them. And not very subtly, we get a scene of fruit. Perhaps not an apple, but it nonetheless comes off as very, very evocative of one of the most common symbols of the Snow White story.
In episode 5, Omega is far more confident of herself in the world, and takes up a weapon that will be hers, the lightbow. She will get into more conflict, and likely be victorious in most, but I suspect she will fall prey to a temptation to save the Bad Batch.
What does this mean for Omega’s story arc? Could Omega be frozen in carbonite ?
There is already much speculation on who and what Omega is. I do think it is very likely she is Force sensitive, though it may be that she is just extremely perceptive. I came across a segment of an article that described the Snow White figure as Carl Jung’s primordial child archetype, who symbolizes eternal potential, and the start of a new world. Snow White represents the end of the old generation, and the start of the new generation. The primordial child is The Beginning and The End. Innocent and Wise.
This certainly is a good characterization of Omega—naive to the world, but seemingly a reserve of knowledge we have not yet uncovered. Is she related to the Jedi? Palpatine? Neither? One tantalizing theory is that Omega is the template from which her brothers were created and it’s why Lama Su and Nala Se only need Omega, and not the rest of the Bad Batch.
In other words, Omega is the ultimate clone, of all desirable combat abilities, and the Bad Batch, from Tech, to Hunter, to Wrecker are derivations of her template, tweaked for specialization. They are aspects of her—a divided animus among several men, and she is their anima. She is mother, progenitor, sister, and child.
In the Heroine’s Journey, Omega is in steps 3 to 4. We are only 5 episodes in, and there is much that could happen. I think the Snow White motif is a useful guide on what could happen to Omega. I think she will save the Bad Batch, along perhaps with Rex, by removing the chips. This is the boon of success. I don’t know how spiritual aridity will come into play, but I think shortly after Omega saves the Bad Batch, she will have a crisis—she will learn more of who she is, or more likely, the Bad Batch will know who she is and this will create conflict.
I think she will seek to reunite with Nala Se. That putting away of the circlet wasn’t for nothing. She will learn more of herself and the plans for the Bad Batch.
I think, in keeping with the Snow White motif, Omega will be ensnared, caught by someone she trusts. That could be Nala Se, but it could be another bounty hunter. It could also be Crosshair.
I think most importantly, Omega will be believed to be dead. The “death” of the heroine is one of the most common, recurrent themes in multiple fairytales, not just Snow White, but Sleeping Beauty and many others. It is the death of the old form of Omega, and the emergence of the new, integrated with the masculine and feminine, wiser.
How will this translate on screen? I think Omega could very well be caught by someone and frozen in carbonite. She could just as easily be believed to be dead on a blown up ship (okay, okay, no Chewie jokes). But Omega will die and be resurrected by those who love her.
I will say that I don’t think The Bad Batch’s use of the Snow White motif will necessarily involve a romantic “prince”, nor is it really necessary for this particular tale. The story of the Bad Batch and Omega is already a love story of family. What I think would be really neat is if Crosshair is able to break from his curse—the chip—and is able to save Omega. This would work well with the Heroine’s Journey of healing the wounded masculine.
So what do you think? Do you think Omega is Force Sensitive? Could Omega be frozen in carbonite by the end of season 1 does some other fate await our newest Bad Batcher?
This post contains Amazon affiliate links through which if you make a purchase, I may make a commission at no additional cost to you.