Star Wars: Why (and when) the Empire replaced clones with Stormtroopers

By the end of the Star Wars prequels, the empire had a full army of clone troops, but that army was eventually replaced by normal human Stormtroopers. After the formation of the empire and the events of Order 66, Palpatine’s regime began a gradual expansion of centralized power throughout the galaxy, increasingly shifting the old republican systems toward dictatorship. This process began during the events of The Bad Batch and continued until the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, at which point the last remnants of the Republic were well and truly swept away.

The Jango Fett clones that made up the great army of the republic were one of those remnants. Although clone troops served Palpatine’s purpose perfectly during the Clone Wars, they became a peacetime responsibility for several reasons. As seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi with a homeless republican veteran begging on the streets, the post-war period and the early empire did not end well for the clone army. The exact timeline of the empire’s phasing out of clone soldiers is different in Legends than in Canon, but the underlying motives remain the same.

In the Legends timeline, Empire conducted various cloning experiments after the end of Clone Wars, including some projects aimed at creating Force-sensitive soldiers. Clones served as high-level shock troops and remained an important military asset for years after the dissolution of the republic, although they eventually began to be replaced by regular recruits. The main motivation for switching to Stormtroopers was simply that cloning became too expensive. The cost of ordering, cultivating, and training the clones was exorbitant, and the timeline for becoming full-fledged soldiers was long. There was also a level of distrust of clones growing in the empire, in part due to a series of uprisings. At 1 BBY (before the Battle of Yavin) there were virtually no clones serving in the Imperial Army, and most of those who remained were in non-combat roles.

Where did the Clone Troopers end up in Star Wars?

Canon’s process of phasing out clones from the Imperial series is pretty much the same as in Legends, but with a few tweaks. Kamino’s cloning facilities were closed to Canon shortly after the end of the war, leaving only one generation more soldiers to cultivate and train. As in Legends, the decision was mainly based on the high cost of cloning, which was no longer necessary without fighting a full-scale conflict. The rest of the great army of the republic, owing to its accelerated aging, began to be gradually replaced in the ranks during the first years of the imperial rule. Around 5 BBY on Canon’s timeline, before the start of Star Wars: Rebels, almost all Stormtroopers in active service were regular recruits.

When The Bad Batch debuted at Disney + Star Wars, fans discovered an additional factor that influenced the empire’s decision: The Empire created Stormtroopers because they were easier to control than clones. Despite being genetically identical, the Republic’s clone troopers had remarkable amounts of free will and individuality. Many were in conflict over their role in Order 66 and the subsequent galaxy-wide cleansing of incompatible planets and systems. Company 99, the titular “Bad Batch” of clones that refused to follow Palpatine’s genocidal whims, ignited a spark with their disobedience, leading to more clone uprisings. In the end, the clones were the soldiers of the republic, believing in its ideals – justice, freedom and democracy. Despite their genetic mental programming, they were not as willing to enforce a totalitarian Sith regime as Palpatine had predicted. Stormtroopers summoned by devoted Palpatine fanatics, however, willingly followed the imperial dogma without a doubt and even dropped their names for TK numbers.

Another possible reason for the shift from clones to recruits is the extra level of control he gave the empire over various systems. By taking soldiers from all corners of the galaxy – and presenting imperialist recruitment as the only way out of a life of poverty in the Outer Rim, as Luke Skywalker himself saw – the empire reduced the risk of rebellion. A planet with children serving in the Imperial Navy would be far less likely to resist Palpatine’s regime than a planet with nothing to lose. Therefore, the replacement of the faceless clone troopers with normal human Stormtroopers may have helped Palpatine tighten its grip on the Star Wars galaxy.

Obi-Wan Kenobi shows that the empire has left its clone soldiers

When the limited Obi-Wan Kenobi series hit Disney +, it provided an insight into clone life after the empire’s transition to Stormtroopers. The Clones did not appear in the original trilogy, but that’s primarily because Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was released in 1983, and clone troopers were not introduced until Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. did not hit theaters in 2002. Clone Wars was mentioned. in Obi-Wans A New Hope, but that was the extent of their presence until the prequel trilogies.

It was never really a problem. The Empire has been known for phasing out its clone army for conscript Stormtroopers, and their lack of presence in the original trilogy could be easily explained in the universe by the clones encountering an ironically fatal fate similar to the Jedi after the order. liquidation of his clone army assets would certainly be on Palpatine’s mark, after all. But thanks to Obi-Wan Kenobi, it is now known that the clones were not killed by force – they were simply abandoned.

In an emotionally charged moment, Obi-Wan encounters a ragged veteran clone on Daiyu, a dingy planet that visually resembles the streets of Coruscant from the first act of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. The final fate of most clones was not violent but tragic. They are reduced to begging in the streets, ignored even by Stormtroopers who replaced them, the sacrifices they made to build the empire forgotten. The scene was the last dark Star Wars moment depicting a serious problem in the real world in the colorful, fictional galaxy. The clones were thrown aside, rejected by an ungrateful empire, as were veterans of real conflicts, such as Vietnam and World War II. Again, Disney has chosen to show that while lightsaber, Jedi and Sith are amazing, the battles that ordinary galactic citizens face, after the space opera’s twist in the extensive list of main characters in Star Wars, do not differ from Impacts. of lived tragedies.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is currently streaming on Disney +

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