Thanks to a proposed but ultimately unused storyline in Star Wars Rebels, a fan-favorite Clone Trooper, Commander Cody, may return in the upcoming animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Cody was a prominent Clone Trooper character in the Star Wars franchise, making his live-action debut in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith as Obi-Wan Kenobi’s friend and ally during the Clone Wars. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Cody was one of the series’ main clone characters, often working alongside Obi-Wan and Captain Rex. Cody’s friendship with Rex and role in Revenge of the Sith almost resulted in an appearance in Rebels, but the storyline could be repurposed for The Bad Batch, which stars the five-clone team Clone Force 99.
Commander Cody was created for warfare but, like every Clone Trooper, was ultimately a good man who believed in the democracy he was fighting for. Unfortunately, the Clone Army’s true purpose was to help the Sith eradicate the Jedi Order and transform the Republic into the authoritarian Empire. No clone would willingly fight Jedi or support fascism, but their free will was removed by brain implants placed in them as embryos. Cody never removed his implant, and thus became an unwilling pawn of the Sith, attempting to kill his friend Obi-Wan and joining the Empire. In the Canon timeline, Cody has yet to appear after Revenge of the Sith.
Thanks to Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex had his implant removed, and thus retained his free will and deserted the fledgling Empire, eventually joining the Rebellion. Rex appeared regularly in Rebels starting with season 2, and would occasionally mention his friend, Cody. As revealed in a panel at Dragon Con 2018, the Rebels creative team had a story idea in which the Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn calls on a still mind-controlled Cody to counter the Rebels after realizing they’re recruiting former Clone Troopers. The storyline was never finished, but The Bad Batch trailer reveals that the five clone heroes will retain their free will and fight against the Empire. Whether or not Thrawn is a villain in The Bad Batch, a non-clone antagonist (such as Tarkin) could employ Cody to track down and defeat Clone Force 99.
With few clones in Rebels, Cody’s appearance would have been a surprise for viewers, though it would have inevitably led to a confrontation between him and Rex. This would be a heartbreaking scenario, as the implant-influenced Cody would try to capture or kill his once-best friend, and the conflict could easily end in Cody’s death. With many mind-controlled clones appearing in the trailer for The Bad Batch, an appearance from Cody would feel less surprising, and a conflict between him and Clone Force 99 wouldn’t have quite the same gravitas as it would with Rex. Nevertheless, Cody is a popular Clone Wars character and a modified version of his proposed Rebels role would help further explain what happened to the mind-controlled Clone Troopers after they served their purpose.
Though unlikely, Cody’s story may avoid ending in tragedy. Aside from Rex, some clones managed to remove their implants and retain (or restore) their free will, inevitably turning against the Empire. This almost certainly includes the five clones of Force 99. It’s possible that whatever method they used to remove their implants could be used on Cody, thus gaining them an extremely valuable ally. Cody having his free will restored would have been far more heartwarming if it happened in Star Wars Rebels thanks to Rex, but Cody hunting down and eventually being saved by the heroes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch would be an exciting storyline nonetheless.