Although the audience did not get to see the Clone Wars and the fabled clone troopers that fought that war until decades after the original Star Wars trilogy was released, the importance of the clone army has been clear in the mythology of the Star Wars universe since the very beginning. And as the universe has evolved, the story of the clones has become one of the most complex and prominent elements of the entire saga.
But despite the fact that the clone troopers are an integral part of the space opera, they are still a force to be reckoned with that is somewhat shrouded in mystery. They were originally commissioned by a Jedi who kept their existence a secret, and they were secretly co-opted by the Sith for the sake of their own agenda. So how can anyone see clearly through this intentionally foggy corner of Star Wars mythology? Well, here are ten essential questions about the Star Wars clone troopers, answered.
10 Why Jango Fett?
Honestly, it's hard to say for sure. Jango Fett was undeniably one of the most feared and revered bounty hunters in the entire galaxy, and his son/unaltered clone Boba Fett definitely followed in his father's footsteps. So in that sense, Jango obviously made sense as the genetic prototype for a clone army.
Why wouldn't the Republic want to have thousands of copies of one of the most dangerous warriors in the universe as their infantry? However, the possible risk here seems obvious, because while Fett was a fearsome bounty hunter, he was also a man who was aggressive and difficult to control.
9 How Did Sifo-Dyas Know They'd Be Needed?
By some staggeringly impressive stealth maneuvering, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas managed to commission the creation of the entire clone army without anyone else being the wiser. But the question then is, why?
Sifo-Dyas was gifted with precognitive abilities in addition to the standard force sensitivity that the Jedi are equipped with, so on some level, it seems he knew that the Sith were rising and becoming an existential threat to the Galactic Republic. While that level of preparation and secrecy might still seem a little over the top, Sifo-Dyas was also a close friend of Count Dooku, so it's very possible that he had an even greater sense of the danger and urgency of the matter.
8 How Did Chancellor Palpatine Turn Them Against The Republic?
Well, Palpatine certainly knows how to play three-dimensional chess. Master Sifo-Dyas was clearly an above-average Jedi, but he still didn't manage to outplay Palpatine. Unfortunately, it seems that he actually played straight into Palpatine's hands. Sifo-Dyas was the one who initiated the creation of the clone army, but after he began the project, the Jedi master was killed and the Sith overtook the mission.
After the clone troopers were created, they were outfitted with inhibitor chips that essentially made them all into unwitting sleeper agents. They were bred and trained to be loyal to the Republic, but once Palpatine decided that he needed to overthrow the Jedi, their switches would literally be flipped and they'd turn on their leaders.
7 How Do You Hide An Army?
With a whole lot of effort. Sifo-Dyas actually had a bit of a head start in hiding the army since the Jedi order wanted nothing to do with his conspiracy theories about an upcoming war. But the Jedi master took a lot of steps to keep them a secret once his project was underway.
It appears that once Sifo-Dyas decided that the planet Kamino, which existed beyond the outer rim, would be the homeworld of his clone army, he decided to erase all evidence of the planet's existence from the Jedi archives. It was only by a stroke of luck that Obi-Wan Kenobi even figured out where the army was.
6 Why Did They Execute Order 66?
Because of those handy dandy chips in their heads. Only the Sith were aware of the true purpose of the clone army as well as the inhibitor chips that had been installed in their heads. The Kaminoans believed that they were creating this army for the Republic.
They also believed that these chips were actually designed to keep the clone troopers more under control and manage the more dangerous and unpredictable traits of their original genetic donor, Jango Fett. The clone troopers themselves were clueless about Order 66, and it was only when the order was actually issued that their chips took control and they ended the Jedi order for good.
5 What Makes Them The Ideal Army?
Putting aside the fact that they're genetic copies of one of the most dangerous men in the galaxy, they were an unrivaled military force for a few different reasons. Firstly, an army made up of actual sentient human beings instead of an army of droids makes them superior for a lot of obvious reasons. They can think and wage war in ways that no machine ever could.
But the clone army was also a genetically modified version of Jango Fett, so the Kaminoans essentially kept all of the best parts of Fett but genetically modified other aspects of his DNA to make an army of even more superior warriors.
4 In Which Ways Did The Kaminoans Change Their Genes?
Jango Fett was an undeniably good template if the Republic wanted thousands of excellent killers at their service, but the Kaminoans adjusted other parts of their genes to make them a better army. The most obvious and essential genetic modification was for their ages.
The Republic didn't have all of those years to wait for them to age naturally, so their aging was accelerated to get them to adulthood in half the normal time. They were also genetically altered to make them less aggressive and less independent, as well as making them more loyal and more adept at and willing to follow orders.
3 How Good Were They?
Pretty darn good it seems. Obviously, the purpose of the clone army was to be a superior army that could handily defeat any adversary they came across. Ironically, the fact that they managed to completely obliterate the Jedi order seems to demonstrate what an effective army they really were.
Although they ultimately became tools for the Sith and the empire, their abilities as a military force was so impressive that the clone army became a bit of a legend throughout the galaxy. Their public image wasn't all rosy, though, as the CIS was keen to point out that using living soldiers instead of droids was needlessly cruel.
2 Who Knew Their True Purpose?
It would seem that only the Sith, Darth Sidious, and Darth Tyranus (AKA Chancellor Palpatine and Count Dooku) were fully aware of what the true purpose of this clone army was. It's actually somewhat unclear how informed the genetic template Jango Fett was, though.
It seems that Fett was recruited by the Sith to become the prototype for this army, but it's unknown whether or not Fett was aware of what the real plans for this clone army were or if he even knew that it was the Sith that recruited him.
1 Did Anyone Ever Consider The Morality Of A Clone Army?
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like it. Clearly, a clone army of genetically designed and engineered soldiers is a more powerful military force than a droid army, but they're still human beings.
However, it doesn't seem like those who led them ever questioned the morality of what they were doing. There were a few select soldiers who disliked the situation, some even going so far as to consider their conscription into the Republican defense forces a form of slavery. But aside from that, it isn't an issue that many characters seemed to confront.