- "Within months, the 501st gained a well deserved reputation as 'Vader's Fist.'"
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st
The 501st Legion, later known as "Vader's Fist" and the Five Hundred and First, was an elite unit of clone troopers commissioned by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine during the Clone Wars that later became a stormtrooper unit. Made up of units like Torrent Company, the 501st fought in many battles, such as the Battle of Teth and the Battle of Coruscant, becoming one of the most well-known legions. In 19 BBY, the 501st became Darth Vader's personal unit as he led them during Operation: Knightfall, in which the clones helped take down the Jedi, whom they believed to be traitors to the Republic.
Following the rise of the Galactic Empire, the 501st transitioned into a stormtrooper unit, like all other clone units. Given new armor and weapons, the 501st faithfully served the Empire, operating under the direct command of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader. After the Battle of Kamino, the 501st became the last remnant of the Grand Army of the Republic fully composed of Jango Fett clones, as opposed to the ever-growing and more diverse Stormtrooper Corps, where the Fett clones became a minority with the inclusion of a pool of clones from different templates and birth-born recruits.
The legion fought in a number of battles during the Galactic Civil War in an effort to defeat the Rebel Alliance and bring peace to the galaxy, although the Alliance ultimately triumphed. Though the 501st was disbanded after the Battle of Endor, the Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn would resurrect the name. He also added more diverse recruits to the 501st, including non-Humans. The 501st was stationed in the Unknown Regions, where they protected Thrawn's Empire of the Hand. Over a century later, the legion was still serving the Empire, now under Roan Fel.
Early Clone Wars
- "It's been said that the 501st got the best of the war. We also got the worst."
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st
The troopers of the 501st Legion were clones of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, who had been selected by Jedi Master-turned-Sith Lord Dooku to be the template for an elite army. Cloned by expert Kaminoan scientists, the troopers were given top-notch training in many fields, as they were designed to be the ultimate soldiers.
Members of the 501st Legion fought in the Grand Army of the Republic against the Confederacy of Independent Systems in the First Battle of Geonosis, the opening battle of the Clone Wars, in 22 BBY. By the year 21 BBY, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine had founded the 501st Legion by moving a number of clones to a secret location on Coruscant known only to the Chancellor's most trusted advisers, far away from the normal training center on the planet Kamino. These clones were given special training by Palpatine's command staff to make the 501st the most feared legion in the galaxy. Some members of the legion would be covertly transferred to other units; however, they were tracked to ensure that they would be available in the future if they were ever needed for any special assignments, as Palpatine suspected they would be.
The core group of this legion was assigned to serve under Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and Clone Captain CC-7567, nicknamed "Rex." With Skywalker's help, the 501st quickly earned a reputation for incredible victories, often snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Among the 501st's earliest battles was the Battle of Christophsis, where they served under Skywalker, Captain Rex, and High Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi. Based out of Crystal City, the 501st troops managed to recapture Christophsis from the Confederacy, beating back Separatist General Whorm Loathsom's multiple assaults. However, Loathsom soon deployed a deflector shield to protect his battle droid troops, and the clone troopers were forced to pull back and defend the Republic's heavy cannons. After Skywalker and his newly assigned Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, destroyed the shield generator, the heavy cannons annihilated the droids and forced the Separatists to surrender.
Immediately following the Republic victory on Christophsis, the 501st detachment Torrent Company was sent with Skywalker, Tano, and Rex to Teth to recover Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure's son, Rotta, in order to gain access to hyperlanes passing through Jabba's territory for the Grand Army. Ferried to Teth's surface in LAAT/i gunships, the Republic unit began a grueling campaign up the vertical face of a cliff to the B'omarr Monastery where Rotta was being held. Utilizing AT-TE walkers and grappling hooks, Torrent Company was able to defeat the Separatist battle droids holding the monastery, though half of the unit was lost on the way up. After Skywalker and Tano located and rescued Rotta from the depths of the castle, the Confederate forces—under the command of Dark Acolyte Asajj Ventress—launched a counterattack on the Teth monastery. The Jedi and clone troops were forced to barricade themselves inside the stronghold, losing three-quarters of their remaining forces in defending the castle. Skywalker and his Padawan then left to find medical assistance for Rotta, leaving Rex in command of the troops.
Ventress and her forces were soon able to break through the monastery door's controls, and the defense of the monastery cost Rex all but five troopers. The Captain and the rest of the survivors launched a last stand against the battle droids. General Kenobi and the 212th Attack Battalion eventually arrived at Teth, reinforcing the remnants of the 501st and securing the defeat of the Separatists. A treaty was established between the Republic and Jabba the Hutt, but although the 501st was replenished with new troops, the loss of the original Torrent Company left scars on all involved. Soon after, Rex and troops of the 501st were redeployed with Skywalker and Tano aboard their recently-christened fleet of Venator-class Star Destroyers to protect Bothawui from the Confederate General Grievous, who was intent on capturing the planet. Departing from Coruscant, Skywalker's forces eventually arrived at Bothawui and defeated Grievous, securing a Republic victory. 501st troopers Rex and Denal also helped Skywalker and Tano in destroying the Separatist listening post Skytop Station.
Rex, Tano, Clone Sergeant Coric, and six new Torrent Company recruits—Ross, Boro, Joc, Hil, Vere, and Ince—later participated in a routine shakedown cruise aboard Captain Gilad Pellaeon's assault ship, the Leveler, in the Dantus sector. However, their short respite from the war ended when they were called in to rescue the Republic Intelligence agent Hallena Devis, who had been taken hostage by rebel forces in opposition to the Regent of the nearby JanFathal. Receiving assistance from the Altisian Jedi sect as well as Skywalker, the task force was ultimately successful in extracting and rescuing Devis; however, troopers Vere and Ince were killed in the mission. Torrent Company itself continued to endure losses even after the JanFathal mission. Rex inducted rookie troopers CT-27-5555 and CT-21-0408, respectively nicknamed "Fives" and "Echo," into the 501st for their service in recapturing a Republic outpost from the Separatists and alerting the Republic to an impeding Confederate attack on Kamino. A few months later, Rex, Fives, Echo, and other elements of the 501st were serving with Skywalker and Kenobi on board the former's flagship, the Resolute, when they were assigned to stage a defense of Kamino, which was being targeted by Grievous, Ventress, and the Separatists. The Jedi and the 501st rushed to the clones' homeworld and were able to prevent the Confederacy from stealing a sample of the clones' DNA, and Fives and Echo were promoted to the prestigious rank of ARC troopers for their valiant service in the campaign.
The 501st also served with Skywalker and Tano in reinforcing Jedi General Aayla Secura, who was being ambushed by a Separatist fleet over Quell. Arriving at Quell aboard the Resolute, 501st troops were deployed in LAAT/i gunships to board Secura's cruiser, the Liberty, which was under attack by rocket droids. Skywalker and Tano rescued Secura and Clone Commander CC-5052 from the damaged Star Destroyer, but their escape cruiser's hyperdrive was accidentally tripped by a Vulture droid attack. The group mistakenly jumped to hyperspace, leaving Admiral Wullf Yularen in command of the remaining troops. The 501st's Torrent Company later helped to retake the Bothan colony world Kothlis from General Grievous, serving there under Kenobi, Tano, Rex, and Coric. Upon arrival at Kothlis aboard the Republic Star Destroyer Indomitable, Torrent Company joined in the battle to regain control of Kothlis's spynet facility. Although the campaign was ultimately a success, it saw the unit's greatest depletion since the Battle of Teth. The injured clones from the 501st company were sent to the Kaliida Shoals Medical Center for treatment, Rex and Coric among them. The legion additionally participated in "mopping up" the remaining droid forces on the planet Ryloth shortly after the world's liberation from the Confederacy, helping Skywalker and Tano to defeat the droids based out of the ruined city of Resdin. Eventually, Rex and a 501st contingent were sent to reconnoiter Geonosis, where evidence of Separatist droid foundries had been discovered. Upon arriving in orbit of the world, the task force was unable to make contact with the clones on the surface but ran preliminary scans and discovered the droid foundries in the planet's northern and southern hemispheres. In his report to the Jedi Council, Rex recommended a full-scale invasion to retake Geonosis, and the Jedi Council used the information to mount an assault on Geonosis that was ultimately successful.
End of the war
- "In our bones, we knew the war was almost over. The galaxy held its breath, waiting to see which side would make the final, daring move. As fortune would have it, the Republic moved first. After the Chancellor informed the Jedi Council that General Grievous and the Sep leaders were hiding on Utapau, General Kenobi gathered an army large enough to capture three star systems. When the orders reached the 501st, our morale soared. For better or worse, this would be the beginning of the end."
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st
In the final days of the war, the 501st was frequently shuttled across the galaxy, often divided into specialized groups to assist other missions. Under the orders of Chancellor Palpatine, the 501st would sometimes operate outside of the usual command structure, with detachments of the unit serving at many pivotal campaigns. In 19 BBY, the final year of the war, the 501st took part in several battles pivotal in ending the war. In the Battle of Mygeeto, they were involved in Project Hammertong, a clandestine mission to acquire a power crystal for Chancellor Palpatine, who secretly had plans of constructing a superlaser-armed battlestation. The clones succeeded in pushing back the droid forces, recovering the power crystal, and crucial to the mission, keeping their commander, Jedi Master Ki-Adi-Mundi, unaware of their true purpose.
The legion also fought in the Battle of Felucia alongside Jedi Knight Aayla Secura. Despite conditions the troopers would remember as hellish, they defeated the Confederacy's droid forces, as well as several wild acklays. Shortly before the Battle of Coruscant, members of the 501st were stationed on Coruscant, where they were used to carry out security patrols. Not long afterward, the 501st fought in the Battle of Coruscant in an effort to rescue the kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine from the Confederacy. Members of the legion, many flying starfighters in battle for the first time, destroyed a number of droid starfighters and capital ships. Most importantly, they created a diversion, clearing a path for Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi to infiltrate the Confederate flagship, the Invisible Hand, and rescue Palpatine.
After that battle, some members of the 501st were dispatched to Kashyyyk. When they jumped out of hyperspace, they found the planet blockaded by the Separatists. The 501st was forced to punch a hole in the Confederate Navy, which they accomplished along with stealing a set of attack plans for the upcoming battle. They then landed on the planet's surface, where they fought alongside the 41st Elite Corps and Jedi Master Yoda. Following this battle, a detachment of the 501st was transferred to Utapau. They fought with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and helped the 212th Attack Battalion defeat the droid forces there by taking down various CIS gun batteries and destroying an energy column. Most importantly, General Kenobi was able to kill the Confederacy's Supreme Commander, Grievous.
Fall of the Republic
- "What I remember about the rise of the Empire is… is how quiet it was. During the waning hours of the Clone Wars, the 501st Legion was discreetly transferred back to Coruscant. It was a silent trip; we all knew what was about to happen, what we were about to do. Did we have any doubts? Any private traitorous thoughts? Perhaps, but no one said a word. Not on the flight back to Coruscant, not when Order 66 came down, and not when we marched into the Jedi Temple. Not a word."
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st
As the battle was winding down, a group of clones were taken and discreetly transferred to Coruscant, in preparation for Order 66—a top-secret order given by Chancellor Palpatine which stated that the Jedi had rebelled against the Republic, and needed to be eliminated. On Coruscant, they met Anakin Skywalker, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader, and were given their orders: destroy the Jedi. Though they appreciated the Jedi, their loyalty lay first with Palpatine, as all clone troopers had been taught to obey the Supreme Chancellor first and foremost. Vader led them into the Jedi Temple, ready for battle. Though some held quiet doubts about what they knew was to happen, they did not voice them, and the troopers of the 501st, alongside Vader, succeeded in killing almost every Jedi in the Temple. Meanwhile, Palpatine was transmitting Order 66 around the galaxy to different clone commanders. Nearly all obeyed their orders without question, killing their Jedi commanders.
The Coruscant Security Force tracked a number of suspected Jedi, such as Tru Veld, and called in the 501st for assistance in capturing them. The legion also attacked and killed a number of Jedi on Shinarcan Bridge a couple of hours after the declaration of Order 66, and Jedi Knight Etain Tur-Mukan was killed by a fellow Jedi when she tried to stop him from killing one of the 501st troopers. Following the extermination of the Jedi, Decoy Squad Five was placed in charge of deceiving Jedi returning to the Temple, though the eight-member squad would be killed by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, who had managed to escape the carnage and return to Coruscant.
- "We were establishing a new era, an era of order and peace."
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st
A short time after the execution of Order 66, Palpatine would announce that he was reorganizing the Republic into the Galactic Empire, which he would rule as emperor. Now serving the Empire, the members of the 501st took the designation stormtrooper, as well as new armor, weapons, and ships. They would continue to serve directly under Vader, and in the years to come, would fight in a number of pivotal battles. The legion was often deployed in places where its advanced fighting skills could be used to make a political statement. Most of its missions were classified, so as to hide what it was doing from the Imperial Senate. In the years following Order 66, the 501st woud fight on a number of mop-up missions against either remnants of the Confederacy or the few Jedi that had managed to survived Order 66. To assist in the hunt for Jedi survivors, clone deserters, and varied Imperial dissidents, Vader brought together the ARC troopers and clone commandos who had formerly served in the Republic's Special Operations Brigade and formed a new special forces unit that was attached to the 501st Legion. Known as the Imperial Commando Special Unit, the Imperial 501st's veteran commandos were responsible for the death of Jedi Master Iri Camas on Celen and for killing the Jedi Knight Borik Yelgo aboard the Coth Fuuras space station.
A short time after Order 66, the 501st Legion went on Kessel to help Darth Vader take down the Jedi conclave there. Vader fought against a total of eight Jedi, and though he was wounded, the 501st aided him in killing them. When it was over, the eight Jedi lay dead. Vader's reputation, along with that of the 501st, grew tremendously with this victory. On the planet New Plympto, Commander Vill led a detachment of the 501st against Nosaurian forces still loyal to the Confederacy. The Nosaurians held out for a time, but Vill and his men succeeded in defeating the rebels at the Battle of Half-Axe Pass.
The 501st followed Vader to Murkhana, where they confronted a group of clones who had refused to execute Order 66. Vader killed most of them and had the rest taken into custody, and then led his men to Kashyyyk once more, where they fought against a group of Jedi who had survived Order 66. Led by Commander Appo, they killed and enslaved tens of thousands of Wookiees in an effort to gain workers for the Emperor's new secret project, the Death Star superweapon. Some of the Jedi, including Master Roan Shryne, were killed. However, before dying, Shryne managed to kill Appo, after which Commander Bow assumed command. Vader then brought a unit from the 501st with him on a visit to the devastated planet of Honoghr. There, they were attacked by the native Noghri, who proved to be a match for the elite stormtroopers. Impressed, Vader devised a plan to enslave the species and use them as his personal assassins.
Another crucial mission took place a year after the Empire's rise. The Queen of Naboo, Apailana, was suspected of hiding Jedi fugitives. After several failed negotiation attempts, the 501st was dispatched to Naboo to assassinate Apailana and kill any Jedi on the planet. Apailana attempted to flee from the unit, guarded by several Jedi, but was killed along with her guardians. This mission was the first time the 501st would forcibly adjust a planet's government. More would follow.
Sometime after the Battle of Naboo, the 501st was sent to Mustafar to stop a droid rebellion led by the rogue Geonosian Gizor Dellso. Dellso had found a hidden droid factory and had started it up, producing an army of battle droids. The 501st first had to fight his fleet before they were able to land on the planet. They also succeeded in taking back the plans for an experimental starfighter that Dellso had managed to steal from the Empire previously. On Mustafar, they destroyed numerous droids as well as Dellso's prototype droid schematics before confronting Dellso and his bodyguards. The troopers killed Dellso as well as his guards, then bombarded the planet from space.
In 12 BBY, the 501st was sent to Kamino due to suspicions of a rebellion on the planet. There, the Kaminoans were waiting with specially trained ARC troopers. The 501st was led by the bounty hunter Boba Fett, himself an unaltered Fett clone, due to his knowledge of the inner workings of Tipoca City and the cloning centers. Their mission was to kill as many rogue clones as possible, and destroy the cloning facilities. With the help of the bounty hunter, the 501st destroyed the cloning mechanisms, ending the rebellion. It was after this incident that Palpatine decided to use different templates for the clone army, as an army of genetically similar soldiers was too dangerous.
After these incidents, the 501st gained the nickname "Vader's Fist," as they were his personal stormtrooper squadron, and executed many top-priority missions. The unit, also referred to as the Five Hundred and First, would consist solely of Fett clones for a time after the Battle of Kamino, the only Imperial unit to do so, although by 0 BBY non-Fett clones were in the unit.
Members of the 501st were also stationed at the Jedi Temple at some point when Darth Vader's secret apprentice Galen Marek arrived in search of the Great Holocron. As Marek's existence was supposed to be kept from the Emperor, he was instructed to kill all who saw him. To preserve this secret, Marek killed a number of 501st troopers guarding the Temple.
Galactic Civil War
- "For months we had treated the Rebellion like a disobedient child, only to have our tolerance repaid with treachery on in unimaginable scale."
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st
In 0 BBY, the 501st would have their first encounter with the Rebel Alliance. A group of prisoners on the Death Star, led by a captured Jedi, rebelled and stole a set of schematics for the superweapon. The 501st managed to put down the brief insurrection, recaptured the set of the plans, and killed the Jedi.
The 501st soon learned that the plans they thought they had recovered was a decoy. They followed Vader around the galaxy, trying desperately to get back the lost plans. Following a battle on Polis Massa in which the Rebellion put up a much greater fight than expected, the 501st once again thought that they had recovered the plans. Much to Vader's displeasure, they learned that it was once again a decoy from the Alliance. They then learned that Princess Leia Organa had the plans. With that information, the Star Destroyer Devastator followed the Tantive IV, Organa's ship. Above the Outer Rim planet of Tatooine, the Devastator managed to disable the corvette. The 501st then stormed the ship, and stunned Organa, but failed to locate the plans, as an escape pod containing them had been jettisoned. At least one stormtrooper did not like the Imperial philosophy, and planned to defect following the invasion of the Tantive IV. However, he was shot and killed by Organa during the battle.
Though some troopers were by now tired of this chase, they were not so foolish as to voice their complaints, and suspected that soon this pursuit would be over. The unit believed that Organa would cave in to Vader's methods of persuasion, and inform him of all the Alliance's secrets. However, she refused to divulge any secrets, even under torture.
Meanwhile, the 501st was stationed onboard the Death Star. Much to their displeasure, Organa was able to escape from her cell with the help of several Rebels who managed to infiltrate the Death Star. The Alliance finally received the plans, and was able to discover a weak spot in the battlestation's defenses—an unshielded thermal exhaust port located on the surface. Unfortunately for the Alliance, the Empire had finally discerned the location of the Rebellion's secret base—the moon Yavin 4. Taking the Death Star to the Yavin system, the Empire expected to finally emerge victorious. However, in the subsequent battle, the Rebel Alliance was able to destroy the Death Star. Over half the men of the 501st died in the explosion. In response, the remnants of the 501st joined the Empire's blockade of Yavin 4. The legion managed to destroy a number of capital ships and starfighters in space before landing on the suface. There, they managed to kill three Bothans who were among the Alliance leadership. Still, the 501st was furious, as they felt like they had overlooked the Rebellion, only to pay for it with the lives of millions. The men were determined to end this threat once and for all.
In 1 ABY, the unit was sent to Makrin City along with Vader on a mission to capture Leia Organa and arrest Governor Barshnis Choard for high treason. Though Organa escaped with the help of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and five rogue stormtroopers, Choard was arrested and taken into custody.
In 3 ABY, the 501st took part in the Battle of Hoth along with Blizzard Force. The unit destroyed the Alliance's shield generator, and placed a homing beacon under the last Rebel transport, allowing several Star Destroyers to bombard the planet, decimating the transport and killing a number of Rebels. Overall, the battle was an Imperial rout. The 501st believed they had finally ended the Rebel Alliance threat, calling this battle their finest hour. However, a year later at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star with Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader onboard. The Empire, and the 501st, was in shambles.
Fall of the Empire and rebirth
- "Many years ago Thrawn told us that if he was ever reported dead we should keep at our labors here and in the Unknown Regions, and to look for his return ten years afterward."
- ―Voss Parck
After the fall of the Empire, the squabbling of numerous Imperial warlords caused the 501st Legion to be dissolved and its soldiers assigned to other units. Upon assuming command of the Imperial military in 9 ABY, Grand Admiral Thrawn, resurrected the name 501st Legion, knowing the symbolism of the name. Thrawn assigned the unit to protect the Empire of the Hand in the Unknown Regions. The Chiss also took the step of incorporating non-Humans into the 501st, something that would have been considered unthinkable under Palpatine. As reformed, the most basic unit in the 501st was a squad of four troopers, capable of acting as a fire team within a larger force, but also able to serve as a self-supporting commando team on special missions.
In 22 ABY, the 501st's Unit Aurek-Seven helped Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker explore the crashed ship Outbound Flight. With the aid of the stormtroopers, including Chak Fel, the son of Baron Soontir Fel, the Jedi were able to defeat the alien Vagaari.
The inclusion of non-Humans into the 501st intensified over the years, and specialized armor was created for certain species. Reforms made in the Empire allowed females to be recruited into the legion as well. This new 501st Legion was still in operation in 130 ABY, serving Emperor Roan Fel and the Fel Empire, acting as a praetorian guard. In 137 ABY, during the Second Imperial Civil War, the 501st left the service of the Sith usurper Darth Krayt when the exiled Emperor Fel called on them to retake the Empire from the One Sith during the Fall of Bastion. Their commander at the time was General Oron Jaeger.
A number of troopers fought in the 501st over the years. Originally an ordinary unit, the 501st, under the direction of Chancellor Palpatine, developed into an elite squad. Following the rise of the Empire, the unit became Darth Vader's personal legion, receiving the nickname "Vader's Fist". The members of the legion gained a reputation for being ruthless and efficient. Following the Battle of Endor, non-Humans were eventually integrated into the legion, and a number of reforms took place.
- "If we can't stop them, then we delay them as long as we can, and after that we make sure they have to crawl over our bodies. It's been an honor, gentlemen."
- ―Rex, to Torrent Company, during the Battle of Teth
CC-7567, nicknamed Rex, was the gruff, no-nonsense leader of the 501st Legion and Torrent Company during the early stages of the Clone Wars. His abilities of leadership and confidence were spotted early by the Kaminoan cloners, and he went through additional rigorous training in a variety of tactics and fighting styles to enhance his abilities, emerging to eventually hold the reputation as one of the toughest clones in the galaxy. Having displayed himself in battle, he wore honorific Mandalorian Jaig eyes on his helmet with his customized armor. Serving directly under Anakin Skywalker, he adopted the Jedi's tendencies for unorthodox combat strategies and tactics. He led the 501st in many battles, including ones at Christophsis, Teth, Bothawui, JanFathal, Quell, and Kothlis. Rex cared greatly for his men, and was always on the look for clones that showed grit under fire for consideration as potential 501st recruits.
- "Agent Devis said to come back for you, sur. An officer's missus always outranks him, so she's like a commodore. And she's in my face."
- ―Coric, to Rex
Coric was a clone trooper trained in both combat and the medical field. Serving in the 501st Legion's Torrent Company, he used his talents to treat injured troops during the Battle of Christophsis, manning the Republic's temporary medical station in Crystal City. The sergeant led a squad at the following Battle of Teth, which saw him emerge as one of the few Torrent Company survivors alongside Captain Rex and five other clones. Coric once again served with Rex on JanFathal, flying the shuttle that the Republic task force used to extract Intelligence Agent Hallena Devis from the world and escape to Captain Gilad Pellaeon's Leveler. During the flight back, the sergeant employed his medical skills to help the injured Ince, but the trooper died shortly after returning to Leveler. Coric expressed a dry humor, even in the direst situations, much like Rex himself.
- "I was rather fond of Commander Appo."
- ―Darth Vader, on Appo's death
CC-1119, or Appo, was in command of the 501st by 19 BBY. He had trained under the Alpha-class Advanced Recon Commando Alpha-17. He helped lead the attack on the Jedi Temple, where he was injured by the Padawan Zett Jukassa, who attacked a group of clones, including Appo, as they barred Senator Bail Prestor Organa from entering. However, Jukassa was killed by Fox, and Appo survived to continue leading the 501st under the orders of Vader. Appo and his men later helped Vader defeat several Jedi at the Kessel conclave, and would follow Vader to Murkhana. Following a confrontation with several rebellious clones there, Appo and his men accompanied Vader to Alderaan in hopes of arresting Senator Fang Zar for treason. On Alderaan, Vader was able to fatally injure Zar as he tried to flee, and the Dark Lord then led his men to Kashyyyk. Appo was killed by Roan Shryne on Kashyyyk, although Vader then finished off the Jedi while the forests of Kashyyyk burned from Imperial bombardment.
- "Don't worry about him; let him go!"
- ―Fox, ordering his men to cease firing at Bail Organa
CT-0000/1010, also known as Fox, was a sergeant by the time of Order 66. Stationed on Coruscant, he helped establish patrols in the Coruscant underworld to locate terrorists. Fox also knew of the Mandalorian Journeyman Protectors on Concord Dawn, and wished to become one at some point. In 19 BBY, Fox was a member of the squad that stormed the Jedi Temple under the command of Lord Vader, and helped guard the the Council Towers' hangar complex. When Senator Organa arrived during this incident, asking to speak to the Jedi Council and demanding to know what had happened, Appo insisted he leave. When the Padawan Zett Jukassa suddenly attacked the clones, Fox shot and killed him. He then ordered his men to let Organa leave unharmed as the senator fled away in his airspeeder.
Retired clone trooper
- "After the Kamino uprising, the Emperor decided an army of genetically identical clones was too susceptible to corruption. Future clones would be bred from a variety of templates. Though the 501st itself remained pure, gradually, the rest of the Imperial Army became more and more diverse. We never really got used to the new guys."
- ―Entry from the Journal of the 501st, composed by the retired clone trooper
This man composed a journal of his thoughts during some of the most well-known battles in which he fought during his decades in the 501st. A clone of Jango Fett, he was a member of the 501st from its formation, and took part in the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. This trooper recorded entries on the battles of Mygeeto, Felucia, Coruscant, Kashyyyk, Utapau, Naboo, Mustafar, Kamino, Polis Massa, the Death Star, Tantive IV, Yavin, and Hoth.
- "Holding her is dangerous. If word of this gets out, it could generate sympathy for the Rebellion in the Senate."
- ―Daine Jir, to Darth Vader, referring to Leia Organa
Daine Jir, a non-Fett clone, was a member of the 501st by 0 BBY. Jir was known as a dedicated, competent officer who was unafraid to speak his mind, even to Darth Vader, a man who normally tolerated no dissent among his soldiers. However, it was said that the Dark Lord appreciated Jir's honesty and even respected Jir. In 0 BBY, Jir helped lead the attack on the Tantive IV above Tatooine. There, the 501st was able to capture Leia Organa, and turn her over to Vader for questioning. Jir warned Vader that holding Organa could be dangerous; if the Senate learned that the Empire had taken one of its own into custody, it could create controversy and even support for the Alliance. However, Vader was unconcerned and ordered Jir to destroy the Tantive IV and then send a distress signal claiming the ship had been hit by meteorites.
Su-mil was an Eickarie member of the 501st from Kariek. Originally a freedom fighter on his planet, he participated in the Battle of Kariek in 22 ABY, in an effort to liberate his planet from the control of The Warlord. Fighting alongside the 501st, the Eickaries were able to defeat the Warlord. Impressed with the efforts of Su-mil, the trooper Jorm Whistler Mackenni offered him a position in the squad. Su-mil accepted, and took the name Grappler. A member of Unit Aurek-Seven following Mackenni's retirement, he participated in the Battle of the Redoubt against the Vagaari.
- "General Oron Jaeger, 501st, commander on Bastion."
- ―Oron Jaeger
Oron Jaeger was the commander of the 501st in 137 ABY. Jaeger was injured during the Battle of Corulag, and was fitted with cybernetic implants during his surgery. The implants made him a cyborg and allowed him to perform various complex tasks at once, such as monitoring communications. Jaeger remained loyal to Emperor Roan Fel after he was overthrown by the One Sith in 130 ABY, although he did not rebel against Darth Krayt's new government, feigning loyalty until Fel arrived on Bastion and succeeded in taking the planet back from Krayt's supporters. When Lieutenant Kiefer—who was loyal to Krayt—attempted to kill Fel, Jaeger shot and killed him.
Behind the scenes
The 501st Legion was first canonized in 2004 by the novel Survivor's Quest and e-book Fool's Bargain, both written by Timothy Zahn and released simultaneously. This was a reference to the fan organization known as the 501st Legion charity group. Formed by Albin Johnson and Tom Crews in 1997, it was originally composed of members who wore stormtrooper costumes, and has since expanded to include all trooper variations, as well as Sith Lords, bounty hunters, and other villains from the series. It boasts over 3,500 members in 40 countries. The 501st Legion helps coordinate volunteers at Celebration, the official Star Wars convention. The group also has the nickname "Vader's Fist," which was subsequently also made the in-universe designation for the legion. The honorary leader is David Prowse, the actor who physically portrayed Darth Vader in the original trilogy.
In a further tribute to the real-life organization, the legion of blue clone troopers led by Darth Vader into the Jedi Temple in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was designated the 501st. Although this name was not mentioned in the film itself, much of the support material and merchandising for the film make this reference, including the video game Star Wars: Battlefront II, which first gave backstory to the legion.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
The 501st appears in the non-canon Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition. After Galen Marek kills Vader, he replaces his former master as Palpatine's new apprentice. He is eventually dispatched to Hoth along with the 501st Legion in order to destroy the Rebel Alliance presence there. During his infiltration into the Rebel base, Starkiller aids a squadron of stormtroopers from the 501st that were cornered by Rebel troops. As the Dark Lord makes his way into the base's hangar, the 501st troopers engage the Rebels while Lord Starkiller duels and defeats Luke Skywalker.
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition
- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga