- "After the Kamino uprising, the Emperor decided that an army of genetically identical soldiers was too susceptible to corruption. Future troopers would be cloned 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
Clone stormtroopers were the original elite soldiers of the Galactic Empire. After the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Declaration of a New Order, the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic were renamed as Imperial stormtroopers. As a result, the first stormtroopers were all clones of the late bounty hunter Jango Fett. The Fett template continued to serve as the basis for all clone stormtroopers until 12 BBY, the year that marked a failed uprising within the cloning facilities of the planet Kamino. From then on, the Stormtrooper Corps incorporated clones from a variety of templates and increased the recruitment of Humans as enlisted troopers.
- "The clone troopers, now proudly bearing the honorable rank of Imperial stormtroopers, have tackled the dangerous work of fighting our enemies on the front lines. Many have died in their devotion to the Empire. Imperial citizens would do well to remember their example."
- ―Emperor Palpatine during the Declaration of a New Order
During the Clone Wars, the clone shock troopers of the Galactic Republic were the first soldiers referred to as "stormtroopers." Formed into the Coruscant Guard, the shock troopers were responsible for protecting the Galactic Capital, as well as the Senate and Chancellor Palpatine. By 19 BBY, the shock troopers were a visible symbol of the new security measures that turned Coruscant into a virtual fortress world.
In the waning hours of the Clone Wars, Chancellor Palpatine, the public face of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, ordered all clone troopers to betray and murder their unsuspecting Jedi officers. With the Jedi Order all but destroyed, Palpatine declared himself emperor of the first Galactic Empire. With the rise of the New Order, the clone troopers of the former Republic became known as Imperial stormtroopers. The Stormtrooper Corps, originally known as the Grand Army of the Republic, continued to utilize Jango Fett's genetic template as the only source for clone stormtroopers until nearly a decade after the birth of the Empire.
By 12 BBY, the Empire discovered the existence of a secret rebellion on Kamino, the planet where the first clone troopers were bred and trained. Many Kaminoan cloners grew embittered over the Emperor's decision to commandeer their cloning facilities, and thus they staged a plot to overthrow the Imperial occupation of their world. For nearly a decade, the Kaminoan rebels engineered a new generation of Fett clones that were programmed with absolute loyalty to Kamino, rather than the Empire. The army was composed primarily of Anti-troopers, though they were also complimented by a new class of elite ARC troopers as well. The Empire responded to the Kaminoan rebellion by deploying a special detachment of the 501st Legion to Kamino with orders to suppress the rebellion and annihilate the army of renegade clones.
Under the leadership of the bounty hunter Boba Fett, a unique clone of Jango Fett, the stormtroopers of the 501st devastated Tipoca City and killed all of their rebel clone brethren without remorse. The incident, however, convinced Emperor Palpatine to reverse his decision to maintain an army of cloned soldiers based on a single template. As a consequence, new clones were created from a variety of genetic donors. Over the next decade, the Emperor redirected the clone stormtrooper program to other pursuits and stepped up the recruitment of real Humans from the Outer Rim Territories. By 1 BBY, the clones of the Fett template were reduced to a small minority within the army that they once composed as a whole.
Although the majority of stormtroopers were originally composed of Jango Fett's clones, a different class of clone soldiers was created under the GeNode program. Unlike the clones that were grown through Kaminoan methods, GeNode clones were engineered by Spaarti technology, thus allowing them to accelerate to full maturity in a single year. Also unlike the rest of the Empire's clone stormtroopers, the GeNodes were unaware of their origins as clones. Their programming caused them to believe that they were born as natural Human beings, a falsehood reinforced by artificial memories of civilian lives. Furthermore, they were incapable of acting on thoughts of retirement, nor were they able to discuss the subject of cloning with each other. The GeNodes' heavily modified minds made it impossible for them to recognize their fellow clones of the same genetic template. In order to add to the illusion of their mock backgrounds, the GeNodes were given full names to go along with their false identities, unlike the usual designations that were assigned to Republic clone troopers.
The GeNode clones composed roughly 40% of the Stormtrooper Corps in 19 BBY and were generated by clandestine facilities located in the Outer Rim Territories of the galaxy. At least four genetic templates were in use for the GeNode program, though one template was discarded after the formation of the Empire. A unit of GeNode troopers participated in the Battle of Kashyyyk where they fought alongside the Sith Lord Darth Vader and the 501st Legion.
Sa Cuis' clones
As an experiment, Sa Cuis, an Emperor's Hand, was cloned to create a batch of entirely Force-sensitive stormtroopers. The experimental batch of troopers were outfitted with the usual armor worn by all regular stormtroopers. Through their training, the clones learned to master their genetically-inherited Force powers and combat skills. As the genetic replicas of Sa Cuis, the clones were armed with red-bladed lightsabers.
The initial success of the Force-wielding clones were greatly impressed Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, who even considered transferring them into the 501st Legion. However, the Force-sensitive stormtroopers were secretly loyal only to Sheyvan, an Emperor's Hand who raised and trained the clones. When he attempted to kill the two Sith Lords, the clones of Sa Cuis obeyed their true master without question. However, the plot ended in failure when Vader destroyed Sheyvan and the clones in defense of the Emperor.
Due to the perceived dangers of rival clone armies, the Empire banned cloning and continued its clone stormtrooper program in secret. All operational cloning facilities were under the highest level of Imperial classification and security. The clandestine nature of the Empire's cloning operation was aided by public recruitment of enlisted stormtroopers, the use of multiple genetic donors, the omnipresent concealing stormtrooper armor, and the fact that the prevalent GeNode clones were neither released from service nor aware that they were clones.
After the failed rebellion of Kamino in 12 BBY, the Stormtrooper Corps gradually became divided between clones and enlisted troopers. However, clone stormtroopers remained as the naturally preferred soldiers of the Galactic Empire. Aside from the fact that they were programmed with absolute loyalty and unquestioning obedience, the fighting quality of the clones was a significant factor that added to the military's operational effectiveness. Many Fett clones, including veterans such as Commander Cody, resented the enlisted troopers and regarded them as inferior soldiers. Cody bitterly lamented on how the overall quality of stormtroopers significantly declined after the Empire increased its efforts at recruitment.
Despite the clones' beliefs in their proven loyalties and superior fighting skills, a clone army was as much a threat to the Empire as it was an advantage. In addition to the failed clone rebellion of Kamino in 12 BBY, several high-ranking Imperial officers conspired to overthrow the Sith regime by assassinating Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. In order to take control of the Galactic Empire, they discreetly grew a small army of clone stormtroopers, all of whom were programmed to be loyal to the conspirators. The plot, however, failed and the Sith Lords executed the treacherous officers. Many clone stormtroopers were killed by the Royal Guards when they assaulted the Imperial Palace on Coruscant; the rest were killed by Palpatine.
Thrawn's clone army
The deaths of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader launched the Galactic Empire into a long era of decline. Without the leadership of the two Sith Lords, the Empire was unable to avoid disorder and fragmentation while the New Republic, formerly known as the Rebel Alliance, continued to ascend as the next dominant force throughout the galaxy. As a consequence of the Empire's fall from grace, the ranks of the Stormtrooper Corps experienced a severe increase in casualties. In the ensuing chaos that destroyed much of the Empire's infrastructure, many cloning facilities were lost, commandeered or destroyed by the New Republic.
Five years after the fateful Battle of Endor, Grand Admiral Thrawn returned to known space in order to reverse the tide of the war and restore the Empire to its former glory. In his campaign to destroy the New Republic, he utilized several Spaarti cloning cylinders to generate a new army of clone stormtroopers. The genetic donors for the new clones included General Maximilian Veers, Baron Soontir Fel, Army Corporal Terkuss and Naval Lieutenant Creb.
The infusion of clone stormtroopers was a vital addition to the revitalized Imperial war machine, especially after the Empire became desperately dependent on the recruitment of enlisted troopers for manpower. However, the assassination of Grand Admiral Thrawn brought his campaign to an end. After the Galactic Civil War ended with the decisive victory of the New Republic, Thrawn's Empire of the Hand relied fully on enlisted stormtroopers, composed of Human and Non-Human recruits alike. Unlike its founder, the Hand was not known to have created any clone soldiers.
The Imperial Remnant, officially regarded as the successor-state of the former Galactic Empire, also came to rely on conscripts and recruits to fill the ranks of its diminished military. By 130 ABY, the Remnant reorganized itself into a New Empire, once again ruled by an emperor. Under the Fel dynasty, the Empire continued the tradition of employing enlisted troopers rather than clones.
Notable clone stormtroopers
- Tak Bazierre
- Wayson Dower
- Milo Strander
- Oswald Strepp
- Grodin Tierce
- Sterns Yennich
- Sa Cuis
- Soontir Fel
- Jango Fett
- Zyix K'zzt
- Erv Lekauf
- Barrow Oicunn
- Grodin Tierce
- Maximilian Veers
- Star Wars: Republic: Into the Unknown
- Star Wars: Purge
- Star Wars: Purge: Seconds to Die (Appears in flashback(s))
- Star Wars: Purge: The Hidden Blade
- Star Wars: Dark Times: The Path to Nowhere
- Star Wars: Dark Times 13: Blue Harvest, Part 1
- Star Wars: Dark Times 14: Blue Harvest, Part 2
- Star Wars: Dark Times 15: Blue Harvest, Part 3
- Pax Empirica—The Wookiee Annihilation
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- In His Image
- "A Two-Edged Sword"—Star Wars Insider 85
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars: Droids
- Star Wars: Empire: Betrayal
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Star Wars: Empire 13: What Sin Loyalty?
- Allegiance (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Empire: The Wrong Side of the War
- Dark Force Rising (First appearance)
- The Last Command
- Specter of the Past
- Vision of the Future
- Survivor's Quest (Mentioned only)
- Soldiers of the Empire! (First mentioned)
- Technical Journal of the Imperial Forces
- Inphobia 53
- Star Wars Trading Card Game - A New Hope
- The New Essential Chronology
Notes and references
- ↑ Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Star Wars: Battlefront II
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Pax Empirica—The Wookiee Annihilation
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 A Two-Edged Sword
- ↑ Star Wars: Empire: Betrayal
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Dark Force Rising
- ↑ Survivor's Quest
- ↑ Star Wars: Legacy 0½