- "They'll do their job well. I'll guarantee that."
- ―Jango Fett
Clone troopers were highly trained soldiers in the Grand Army of the Republic, the armed forces of the Galactic Republic in its final years. Bred from the genetic template of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, clone troopers represented the latest evolution in galactic warfare at the time, largely due to their superiority over battle droids. Their formal introduction as the Republic's new military force coincided with the outbreak of a galaxy-wide civil war; various members of the Republic attempted to secede from the galactic government in order to form the breakaway state known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The ensuing conflict gained its name—the Clone Wars—from the clones who made their debut in the first full-scale war since the formation of the millennial Republic.
For three years, clone troopers served under the leadership of the Jedi as they defended the Republic against the Separatist forces. Although the clones repeatedly demonstrated their loyalty to the Jedi and the Republic, often by sacrificing their lives in the Clone Wars, they were in fact the secret weapon of the Sith—an order of dark side practitioners that conspired to take over the galaxy. In spite of their efforts to save the Republic, the clone troopers ultimately played an integral part in the annihilation of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Sith-controlled Galactic Empire. The clone troopers who served the Republic became known as Imperial stormtroopers, enforcing the rule of Emperor Sheev Palpatine during the early years of the New Order. As a result of their accelerated aging process, the clones were ultimately decommissioned and replaced by recruits several years before the Battle of Yavin.
Clone troopers were remembered—particularly by Imperial military officers—for their role in the formation of the Empire and reputation as soldiers. During the Age of the Empire, Admiral Brom Titus credited the clones for putting the Imperial regime in power. Commandant Brendol Hux, an Imperial Academy instructor who regarded stormtroopers as sub-par soldiers in comparison to clone troopers, believed that a soldier should be trained from birth in order to achieve maximum combat effectiveness. This particular aspect of the clone trooper training regimen was ultimately incorporated into the training of a new generation of stormtroopers, all of whom were trained since birth to become super-soldiers of the First Order.
- "Clones can think creatively. You will find that they are immensely superior to droids."
- ―Lama Su
Prior to the Invasion of Naboo, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas came to believe that the galaxy would soon become engulfed by war. He therefore advocated for the creation of an army to ensure the defense of the Galactic Republic, but his views were ultimately rejected by his peers and he was cast out of the Jedi Council. Undeterred by the lack of support from the other Jedi, Sifo-Dyas secretly contacted the Kaminoans—a species of experts in cloning, native to the planet Kamino. Acting without the authorization of the Jedi Council or the Galactic Senate, Sifo-Dyas commissioned the Kaminoans to create an army of clone soldiers for the Republic.
Shortly afterward, Sifo-Dyas was killed by the Pyke Syndicate at the behest of the Sith, resulting in the Sith's takeover of the clone trooper project. Darth Tyranus, the apprentice of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, recruited the bounty hunter Jango Fett to become the genetic template of the clone army. Various modifications were made to the Fett genome so that the clones would grow faster and be more susceptible to following orders. The Kaminoans resorted to growth acceleration in order to create mature clones in half the time a normal human took to reach maturity; Fett's genetic structure was further modified to make the clones less independent and more docile than their template. However, the clones were also designed to be capable of creative thinking, making them superior to battle droids (according to the Kaminoan Prime Minister Lama Su). Of the multitudes of clones, Fett requested that one remained unaltered, so that he could adopt the boy as his son.
Although the Kaminoans believed that the army was meant to serve the Republic, the Sith intended to use the clone troopers as their secret weapon against the Jedi Order. The clone army's true purpose was to exterminate the Jedi, and to that end an organic inhibitor chip was implanted into the brain of every clone trooper at the third stage of their development. Officially, the chips were supposed make the clones less aggressive and independent than Jango Fett. The significance of the inhibitor chip was supported by the assertion that a clone would become mentally unstable and dangerous to everyone around him if his chip was damaged or surgically removed. The chips were, in fact, created to compel the clone troopers to execute Order 66—a secret protocol that authorized the destruction of the Jedi Order.
Each clone trooper had an identifying code inserted in his left wrist. During the Clone Wars, the codes were linked to the file of every individual trooper in the Republic's military database. The files, which could be accessed by an astromech droid via the scanning of a clone's identifying code, contained the clones' designation, rank and overall service record, as well as any specialized training and the units that he was affiliated with.
Within a decade after Sifo-Dyas commissioned the creation of the clone army, the first 200,000 units were ready with a million more under way. Around the same time, the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered the clone project on Kamino and duly informed the Jedi Council. By then, the galaxy was on the verge of a civil war between the Republic and a Secessionist Movement that ultimately formed the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Since the Jedi lacked the sufficient manpower to guard the entire Republic, the Senate resolved to grant emergency powers to the executive branch. As a result, the clone troopers were formally organized into the Grand Army of the Republic by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine—the elected leader of the Senate and public persona of Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith.
- "What's the point of all this? I mean, why?"
"I don't know, sir. I don't think anybody knows. But I do know that someday this war is gonna end."
"Then what? We're soldiers. What happens to us then?"
- ―Clone troopers Rex and Fives, on their military service to the Republic
Clone troopers were deployed into battle for the first time on the planet Geonosis. Under the leadership of the Jedi, the Grand Army of the Republic forced the Separatist Droid Army into full retreat and consequently won the first battle of the Clone Wars. In the wake of the Republic victory on Geonosis, Count Dooku—a former Jedi Master and the alter ego of Darth Tyranus—rallied a growing number of dissenting worlds to the Separatist cause, further dividing the Republic and forcing the clone troopers to fight the war on all fronts across the galaxy.
Throughout the conflict, clone troopers continuously demonstrated extreme loyalty to the Galactic Republic, especially their Jedi generals and the Supreme Chancellor. Yet while the clones were conditioned to be absolutely obedient, every clone developed his own unique identity. The distinction between each clone ranged from loyal units, such as Commander CC-2224 and Captain CT-7567, to a minority of clones who proved to be disloyal or uncommitted to the Republic's cause. A clone trooper sergeant, nicknamed "Slick," was arrested by the Grand Army as a Separatist spy and saboteur; disillusioned with his role in the war as a clone, he betrayed the Republic by accepting bribes from the Separatists. Another clone trooper displayed aberrant behavior by deserting the Grand Army and becoming a farmer under the name "Cut Lawquane." For the most part, however, the clones found pride in their purpose as soldiers, and many continued to sacrifice their lives for the Republic.
Later in the war, Order 66 was nearly discovered by the Jedi. CT-5385, a clone trooper in the 501st Legion, became mentally unstable when his inhibitor chip malfunctioned during the Battle of Ringo Vinda, causing him to kill Jedi General Tiplar. This premature execution of Order 66 resulted in an investigation by the Republic, the Jedi, and the Kaminoans. The Sith also took an interest in the matter; Count Dooku—whom Lama Su and Nala Se knew only as "Tyranus," their secret benefactor—instructed the Kaminoans to prevent the Jedi from discovering the true purpose of the inhibitor chips. Tyranus was also disturbed by the degree of individuality that the clones displayed in spite of their psychological conditioning; Nala Se believed that the Jedi were responsible for encouraging greater creative thinking in the clones. Nevertheless, she was certain that, with the exception of CT-5385's damaged chip, the rest of the chips would function according to their design.
During the investigation, ARC trooper CT-5555 became increasingly convinced that the inhibitor chip was part of a conspiracy against the Republic and the Jedi. Against Nala Se's advice, he was allowed to plead his case to Chancellor Palpatine. However, their meeting led the ARC trooper to believe that the Chancellor was involved in the conspiracy, although he was unaware of to what extent. Jedi Master Shaak Ti witnessed CT-5555's attempt to assassinate the Chancellor and prevented him from succeeding. Soon after his escape from the Grand Republic Medical Facility, CT-5555 was cornered by the clone shock troopers of the Coruscant Guard and executed by Commander CC-1010. The investigation falsely concluded that CT-5385's chip was infected by a rare parasite native to Ringo Vinda and CT-5555 succumbed to madness after removing his own chip on Kamino.
Shortly before dying, CT-5385 and CT-5555—both of whom had their chips removed—described Order 66 as a mission that they repeatedly experienced in their nightmares. With their deaths and the removal of any evidence that could alert the Jedi to the existence of Order 66, the Chancellor convinced the Jedi Council that the clone troopers did require their inhibitor chips.
The death of CT-5555 did not completely ensure the secrecy of Order 66, however. The Jedi Council began inquiring into the specific circumstances regarding the mysterious death of Sifo-Dyas, the founder of the clone army. Alarmed by the Jedi's interest in the matter, Darth Sidious tasked his apprentice with the responsibility of eliminating any remaining loose ends that could connect the Sith with the creation of the clones. Darth Tyranus journeyed to the planet Oba Diah and killed Minister Lom Pyke of the Pyke Syndicate, but not before the Pyke revealed to the Jedi that Tyranus and Dooku were one and the same.
The Jedi Council was disturbed by the revelation of the Sith Order's involvement in the creation of the clones. Yet in spite of their suspicions regarding the reasons the Sith would provide the Jedi with an army, the Council ultimately chose to conceal their findings from the public and the government, fearing that such a discovery would undermine public confidence in the war. Moreover, Grand Master Yoda defended the clones' integrity to his peers, believing that the Jedi could trust in their loyalty.
- "The kid was right. Billaba was our hero. Yours and mine."
"That traitor? No. Never!"
"Yes. She was. And Order Sixty-Six… We followed it—I followed it—as if under some kind of spell… As if I had no will of my own. No memories of the battles we had fought together. Not for one second did it occur to me to even question the Emperor's command!"
"Because when soldiers question orders, people die!"
"People died anyway! Master Billaba died at my hands! My friend, let's take one second now… Before it's too late."
"You're talking like a Jedi traitor, Grey. We did what we had to do. Anything else is literally… Unthinkable."
- ―Clone troopers Grey and Styles, on their role in Order 66
After three years of constant warfare, the Separatist forces attacked Coruscant, the Republic capital world, and managed to abduct Chancellor Palpatine in the process. The clone troopers rallied to Coruscant's defense while the Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker rescued the Chancellor. During the battle, Darth Tyranus was slain by Skywalker—an act which brought the Clone Wars closer to a successful conclusion for the Republic. The Jedi Council moved to capitalize on the momentum gained by Tyranus' death in the hope of ending the war.
The Grand Army continued to fight the war on various worlds across the galaxy, including Mygeeto, Felucia, Cato Neimoidia, and Saleucami. New fronts were opened as clone troopers were deployed to Kashyyyk and Utapau. CC-1004 and the 41st Elite Corps fought side-by-side with the Wookiees in the Battle of Kashyyyk, under the command of Yoda, while Kenobi and CC-2224 oversaw the Battle of Utapau between the 212th Attack Battalion and General Grievous's droid army.
As the Republic drew closer to achieving total victory in the Clone Wars, Chancellor Palpatine revealed his true identity as Darth Sidious to the Jedi, provoking an immediate response from the Jedi Council. The consequent confrontation between the Council and the Dark Lord ended in the deaths of several Jedi Masters, including Mace Windu, and Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side of the Force. Now anointed as the Sith Lord Darth Vader, Sidious's new apprentice participated in the 501st Legion's assault on the Jedi Temple. Under the influence of Order 66, the 501st clone troopers stormed the Temple and exterminated the Jedi within. None of the Jedi were spared, including the younglings.
Around the same time, Darth Sidious issued Order 66 to the clone troopers throughout the galaxy—declaring every Jedi an enemy of the Republic. Order 66 triggered the hidden chips within the clones, compelling them to comply without question or hesitation with the plan to annihilate the Jedi. The clones turned on their unsuspecting allies and slaughtered them across numerous worlds. With the exception of a few survivors, the Jedi were all but extinct in the aftermath of the initial execution of Order 66.
- "Excuses won't suffice, Sergeant Crest. Perhaps you are aging too quickly to remain on active duty."
- ―Darth Vader, threatening a clone veteran
With the destruction of the Jedi, the galaxy fell under Sith rule once more. Darth Sidious—using his authority over the clone troopers, as well as his influence in the Senate and the courts—declared himself Emperor of the first Galactic Empire. Democracy and liberty came to an end with the fall of the Republic, resulting in the rise of the New Order of the Sith. In addition to the Republic's reorganization into the Empire, the clone troopers were re-designated as Imperial stormtroopers.
As stormtroopers, clones obeyed the new Emperor's will, enforced his laws, and destroyed the enemies of the Empire during the early years of the dark times. In time, however, the clones' fighting skills deteriorated as a result of their accelerated aging process. Ultimately, clones were gradually replaced by birth-born human recruits who, like their predecessors, were trained for absolute loyalty and obedience. Four years before the Battle of Yavin, most clones had been decommissioned by the Imperial Army. A small number of clones remained in Imperial service, acting as training instructors for the next generation of stormtroopers.
TX-828, nicknamed "Torrent," was among the last clones from Kamino who still served as a stormtrooper around the time of the Battle of Yavin. At that time he was nearing the age of forty due to his accelerated growth process, with strands of gray coloring his black hair. By then the rarity of TX-828's kind was such that ISB Commander Alecia Beck was surprised to encounter a stormtrooper based on the original Kamino-produced template.
Some clones, traumatized by the events of Order 66, felt bitter and horrified by their actions, while others removed their control chips and remained active for a time and chose to support a growing rebellion against the Galactic Empire. They were especially dismissive of their replacements—the stormtroopers.
CC-10/994, dismayed by his and his comrades' thoughtless execution of Order 66, argued with his subordinate Captain Styles over the morality of their actions. Distraught that his protest had landed on deaf ears, he destroyed their Gozanti-class cruiser, which was in pursuit of Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume, the apprentice of Jedi Master Depa Billaba whom he had killed.
Other clones, such as CT-7567 ("Rex"), were still alive fifteen years after the establishment of the Empire. Retired and trying to live a peaceful life, Rex lived with two other retired clones—CC-3636 ("Wolffe") and CC-5576-39 ("Gregor")—in an All Terrain Tactical Enforcer. They each had a scar where their control chips were located. Rex would eventually aid the growing rebellion in its fight against the First Galactic Empire.
- "How capable are your soldiers, General?"
"I won't have you question my methods."
"They're obviously skilled at committing high treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army."
- ―Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux, on the reliability of stormtroopers compared to clone troopers
By the time of the Galactic Empire, clone troopers and the Grand Army of the Republic were virtually forgotten, becoming what some called a "lost generation," despite their valiant service. By the war's end, clones had saved billions of lives across the galaxy, while their vehicles and equipment inspired new weapons such as the E-11 blaster rifle and AT-AT.
At least one Jedi survivor harbored a grudge against the clones. Kanan Jarrus was traumatized by the events of Order 66, including the sudden execution of his master Depa Billaba by their own clone troopers, who betrayed and murdered the Jedi Master without hesitation. This experience caused him to develop a strong sense of bitterness towards the clones.
Among military circles, the clones were remembered for their effectiveness. During the First Order–Resistance conflict, Kylo Ren expressed his disappointment in the stormtroopers of the First Order, telling General Armitage Hux that an army of clones would be more effective.
CT-6116, a clone trooper of the 501st Legion, was discovered by the pirate Sidon Ithano over fifty years after the end of the Clone Wars. At the time Ithano located a downed Separatist vessel and decided to raid it, assuming he would find valuable kyber crystals once belonging to Count Dooku. Instead he found CT-6116, who had been frozen in stasis since the late Clone Wars. The former clone trooper was ultimately allowed to join Ithano's crew due to his expertise in Clone Wars-era technology and the knowledge he possessed regarding the locations of Old Republic military bases.
- "I want you troopers to remember—we're shoulder-to-shoulder on those front lines. Brothers! And sometimes we may quarrel, but no matter what, we are united. Rule one: we fight together."
Clone troopers were subjected to intense combat training exercises in order to prepare them for war. As trainees, they held the rank of clone cadet and were organized into multiple squads for the purpose of learning cooperation and teamwork. Cadets had several kinds of instructors; younger clones were monitored by full-grown clone sergeants and bounty hunters were hired to supervise the older clones. By the time of the Clone Wars, Jedi Master Shaak Ti personally oversaw the training of new generations of clone troopers. ARC troopers were also assigned to inspect the progress of future troopers, especially the cadets who demonstrated the potential to join the ARC ranks.
During the war Shaak Ti observed how some cadets such as Domino Squad struggled to complete their training. Lama Su, who regarded the Domino clones as sub-standard units, believed they were the result of the Kaminoans' need to stretch their remaining supply of Jango Fett's DNA due to the template's untimely demise on Geonosis. The prime minister also opined that a new genotype would have to be selected in order to produce more clones fit for combat.
Although the clones lived and trained in Tipoca City, the capital city of Kamino, throughout their time as cadets, at least one squad was given a tour of the Venator-class Star Destroyer Endurance during the Clone Wars as part of the Clone Youth Brigade. The point of this on-site training exercise was to test the cadets' knowledge regarding the functions and layout of a Star Destroyer. It was also meant to help prepare the cadets for their future as fully trained clone troopers.
The clones who failed to complete their training were not allowed to become soldiers. Instead of military service, failed clones—such as 99—were given janitorial duties and menial work. The cadets who succeeded in their trials were promoted to active duty. Despite technically holding the rank of clone trooper, new troopers were regarded as rookies and referred to as "shinies" by older, more battle-experienced clones.
Certain clones were deemed exceptional in comparison to the more average, rank-and-file trooper. They were given specialized training in order to become elite soldiers, such as clone commandos or ARC troopers.
Phase I clone trooper armor was the first version in the clone trooper armor series. It was issued to clone troopers on Kamino prior to the Clone Wars, and was in service until it was rendered obsolete by Phase II around the time of the Battle of Mon Cala. Both versions of clone trooper armor could be modified with an array of attachments, such as jetpacks and macrobinoculars. To better monitor ground movements and coordinate attacks, all clone troopers held a tracking device within their helmets that allowed controllers on Acclamator-class assault ships to better monitor the combat zone.
At first, Phase I armor used color to distinguish clones trained for leadership roles, such as captains and commanders, from each other and the standard troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic. As the Clone Wars progressed, color gradually became used for the purpose of armor customization and unit identification. The trend was maintained during the service of Phase II armor, but was ultimately discarded by the time of the creation of stormtrooper armor after the Clone Wars. The identifying white armor of both Phases signified an honorable symbol of defense; however, the creation of the stormtrooper skewed this symbolism into one of a faceless icon of conformity.
Clone troopers were armed with the DC-15 blaster rifle and DC-15A blaster for long ranged combat, as well as blaster pistols for standard-ranged combat. They also wielded several types of grenades, including Electro Magnetic Pulse grenades and thermal detonators.
Specialized clone troopersEdit
To fill the demand of the different situations that occur during wartime, various clone troopers received extra or specialized training. The battles took place in many different environments during the Clone Wars and as such, the need for specialized gear also arose.
- Advanced Recon Commando (ARC)—Clone troopers that excel and receive further training.
- Advanced Recon Force (ARF)—Clone troopers who specialized in stealth, equipped with light armor, and trained to pilot the All Terrain Recon Transport.
- Biker Advanced Recon Commandos—Clone troopers equipped to use BARC speeders.
- Clone cold assault trooper—Clone troopers equipped with cold weather gear to be able to operate in frigid environments.
- Clone commandos—Clones specially bred by the Kaminoans to be the elite force of the Grand Army; they received specialized training and equipment.
- Flame troopers—Specialized clone troopers with fire resistant armor and flamethrowers.
- Galactic Marines—Clone troopers equipped for hazardous environments.
- Clone gunners—Clone troopers equipped to man AV-7 Anti-vehicle Artillery Cannons.
- Clone ordnance specialists—Clone troopers that have received specialized training in arming and diffusing bombs.
- Clone paratroopers—Clones trained for airborne assaults.
- Clone trooper pilots—Clones bred to pilot starfighters and other vehicles; equipped with specialized armor.
- Riot clone troopers—Clone troopers with specialized riot control training.
- Clone scout troopers—Clone troopers with light armor and trained in reconnaissance.
- Clone SCUBA troopers—Clone troopers equipped with underwater armor and weaponry.
- Clone shock troopers—Clone troopers bred especially for the Coruscant Guard.
- Special ops clone troopers—Clone troopers trained to be stealthy and equipped with advanced gear.
Behind the scenesEdit
Dee Bradley Baker voiced all of the clone troopers in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, while Logan reprised his role as the clone cadets in The Clone Wars episodes "Death Trap" and "ARC Troopers."
Notes and referencesEdit
- Clone trooper on Wikipedia