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The 501st Legion, also known as the 501st Battalion, was an elite unit of clone troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. They were led by Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who fell to the dark side of the Force and became the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
One key member of this unit was the ARC trooper "Fives," who discovered a secret inhibitor chip installed into all clone troopers, which would make them carry out Order 66 without hesitation. He was killed to prevent him from revealing the truth regarding the Sith conspiracy to the Jedi or his fellow brothers. However, before his death, he managed to warn Captain Rex about the inhibitor chips hidden within the clone minds. Rex heeded Fives' warning and removed his chip prior to Order 66.
When the Order was enacted, it was the 501st that accompanied Skywalker - now known as Darth Vader - to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to purge it. This became the first of many successful assignments for the newly formed Galactic Empire.
During the reign of the Empire, the 501st Legion was nicknamed "Vader's Fist," and became Vader's personal battalion; among their known engagements were the Battle of Hoth. By this time, the Empire had abandoned the use of clones in favor of recruited soldiers.
The 501st first saw action on Geonosis during the first battle of the Clone Wars. There, one of the 501st's companies, Torrent Company under Captain Rex, fought well against Count Dooku's battle droids.
The 501st then fell under the command of newly promoted Jedi Knight and General Anakin Skywalker. During the battle of Christophsis, the 501st fought alongside General Obi-Wan Kenobi, Commander Cody, and their 212th Attack Battalion. Following the Republic's victory on Christophsis, the 501st along with Skywalker's new apprentice, Commander Ahsoka Tano, were then sent to rescue Jabba the Hutt's son, Rotta, from the B'omarr Monastery on Teth.
There, they fought against the Separatist Droid Army against Dooku's assassin, Asajj Ventress until Kenobi arrived with reinforcements. The 501st then accepted the two surviving members of Domino Squad into the legion.
A detachment of the 501st was then sent with Captain Rex and Commander Cody to Mandalore to escort the Duchess Satine Kryze to Coruscant aboard the Coronet. Onboard, they were briefed by Kenobi and Skywalker that the Death Watch and their Separatist allies would try to kill the Duchess before her arrival on Coruscant. With Skywalker, they discovered that one of the senators had smuggled assassin probes and probe killers. When Tal Merrik captured the Duchess, the 501st and Satine's royal guards then defended the ship against super battle droids.
The 501st, along with the bomb sqaud, were then sent to Naboo to apprehend Separatist scientist, Dr. Nuvo Vindi before he unleashed his Blue Shadow Virus laden bombs. They were able to get into Vindi's lab, rescue Senator Padmé Amidala and Representative Jar Jar Binks, and capture the doctor. However, Vindi's servant droid, LEP-86C8, set off the bombs. Luckily, the clones and Commander Tano were able to seal off the lab. However, they were infected with the virus. They along with Amidala and Binks then worked together to eliminate the remaining battle droids. They were then cured when Skywalker and Kenobi found Reeksa.
Three brigades of the 501st then boarded bounty hunter Cad Bane's command ship to reclaim the Kyber memory crystal. They then fought Bane and his battle droids until they were forced to leave the ship. At first, they thought Bane had been killed, but realized that Bane had stolen Denal's armor and escaped.
Several members of the 501st then accompanied Skywalker and Kenobi to infiltrate the Citadel. Together, they were able to acquire information on the Nexus Route from Master Even Piell and his captain, Wilhuff Tarkin.
The 501st was then sent to retake Umbara. However, during the battle, the 501st fell under the command of General Pong Krell when Skywalker was recalled by the Supreme Chancellor. However, Krell led the 501st with numerous casualties and flawed strategies. Despite Krell's leadership, the 501st was able to take the Umbaran airbase. However, many of the 501st's troopers disagreed with Krell's plans to attack the the capital head-on.
Rex then reluctantly agreed to let ARC trooper Fives and several others destroy the Separatist supply ship. However, Krell decided to execute Fives and Jesse for disobeying orders. The other troopers of the 501st refused to carry out his orders. They were then ordered to attack Umbarans disguised as clone troopers. However, they then realized that they were a platoon from the 212th under Waxer. Thus, under Rex's orders, they all decided to arrest Krell for treason against the Republic. At first, Krell to attempted to escape but they were able to capture him. Following Krell's death, Umbara and it's capital had been secure for the Republic.
The 501st, alongside the 212th, then liberated the Artisan colony of Kiros. After capturing the Separatist commander, Darts D'Nar, they discovered all Togruta colonists had been taken. The 501st then took part in defending Cato Neimoidia from the Separatists. The 501st then went to Ringo Vinda's Ring station. There they fought the battle droids under Admiral Trench and Commander Kraken. However, during the battle, one of the 501st troopers, Tup, malfunctioned and carried out Order 66 by killing General Tiplar. The ARC trooper, Fives, discovered that all the clone had been given Inhibitor chips to carry out this order. However, Fives was then gunned down by the Coruscant Guard before he could tell the Jedi Council and Senate of Palpatine's involvement with this.
Age of the EmpireEdit
Galactic Civil WarEdit
- "Those aren't just stormtroopers. They're from the Five-Oh-First Legion. Darth Vader's personal legion."
- ―Everi Chalis
During the reign of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine, the 501st fought under the direct command of Darth Vader against the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The legion's most notable operation was the assault on the Rebel base on Hoth.
Behind the scenesEdit
"501st Legion" is also the name of a fan costuming organization formed in 1997 by Albin Johnson and Tom Crews. The group originally intended to re-create accurate stormtrooper costumes, but has expanded to include Sith Lords, bounty hunters and other villains from the film series, encompassing EU source material as well as canonical ones. The group goes under the nickname, "Vader's Fist", and was the inspiration for George Lucas to add the organization into official Star Wars canon. The group actively does charity and volunteer work for a number of organizations, and currently consists of over 8000 members worldwide.
- Star Wars in 100 Scenes
- "Blaster"—Star Wars Insider 152
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- ; image #17 (of 21)
Notes and referencesEdit