At San Diego Comic-Con back in July, Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: The Clone Wars would be revived, prompting frenzied fans to take to Twitter with the hashtag #CloneWarsSaved. The teaser trailer concludes with a holo of Ahsoka Tano greeting Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, giving audiences a taste of a highly anticipated reunion between the trio. But the opening sequence—with long lines of trooper helmets and overlapping voices—reminds us of some of the central figures of the Clone Wars: the clones themselves, the namesake of the galactic civil war.
The clone troopers might not be awe-inspiring Force-users who can swing lightsabers around with ease. And sure, not every clone is as mysterious or well-known as Boba Fett. But they play a critical role in the history of our beloved galaxy far, far away. While they might be remembered for the grand, pivotal moments, like the execution of Order 66, their everyday existence also asks some tough moral questions. Plus, the clones’ unwavering camaraderie and sense of honor restore some hope to a pretty bleak situation.
So, it’s about time the clone troopers got some love. The following list is compiled from a wide range of canonical material, so note that there are plenty of spoilers from comics, movies and TV shows. A number of the facts are presented in-canon as traits that apply to all clone troopers, but some are about specific clones, and probably apply to others as well.
Here are 20 Weird Details About The Clone Troopers’ Bodies.
Since the clones are commissioned in secret by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas in anticipation of an all-out war, it makes sense that it’s imperative that they grow more quickly. When Obi-Wan visits the cloning facility on Kamino in Attack of the Clones, he learns that the Kaminoans have altered Jango Fett’s original genetic code so that the clones would grow twice as fast as birth-humans.
With the accelerated growth rate, the Kaminoans are able to form a vast army just in time for a galaxy-wide civil war. It’s unclear, however, whether or not this accelerated growth continues even when they’re past their prime. If they do keep aging twice as fast, time is running short for the remaining clones who’ve managed to survive the Clone Wars.
The clones’ accelerated growth might have played a crucial role in preparing a grand army for the Republic, but their rapid aging also has its downfalls. According to Dave Filoni and the now-obsolete official Star Wars Databank, part of the appeal of birth-human Stormtroopers for the newly born Empire is their natural growth rate.
Although some Imperial officers believe that obedient soldiers must be trained from birth, birth-human soldiers would have better longevity. Assuming the clones’ accelerated growth continues even once they reach their prime, their bodies would also start deteriorating earlier than those of birth-humans, with a maximum life expectancy of around 50. As a result, the Empire builds its own army through forced recruitment and volunteers.
Though the Empire phases out clone troopers and replaces them with Stormtroopers, some clones place their loyalty with the Empire and continue to serve. According to Pablo Hidalgo, although older, more experienced clone troopers don’t necessarily work on the frontlines anymore, some are brought on board as instructors to the new generation of birth-human soldiers. This in some ways mirrors how clone troopers are trained in the Republic, with adult clone sergeants overseeing rookie cadets. Even after being replaced by Stormtroopers, clone troopers still have a good reputation among Imperial officers due to their crucial role in establishing the Empire.
Fortunately, some older clones like Rex, Wolffe and Gregor reject the Empire’s cruel regime and work with the Rebellion.
Another series of modifications to Jango Fett’s original genetic code make the subsequent clones less independent, less aggressive and more obedient, as explained in Attack of the Clones. According to Lama Su, the prime minister of Kamino, the clones are completely obedient and will take any order without question.
As Lama Su takes Obi-Wan on a tour of the cloning facilities, the Jedi sees lines upon lines of clones, preparing for deployment and doing even the most mundane tasks like eating with the utmost discipline. Even the younger clones sit at complete attention as they receive their training. Knowing how rowdy Boba Fett is at around the same age, it’s quite a feat to have toned down the clones’ restlessness.
Despite being programmed for absolute obedience, the clones can still think creatively, making them superior to battle droids in Lama Su’s opinion. They might be genetically identical, but some clones show knacks for different aspects of battle as well as varying characteristics.
There’s CT-T567, aka Rex, who has a strong penchant for leadership and cares deeply for the troopers he commands. Then there’s CT-000-1010, nicknamed Fox, who has grown so weary of the war that he orders his men to let Bail Organa escape in spite of their orders. To top it all off, Filoni says that the clone troopers are more “real” than Stormtroopers in that the former have colourful customized armor and freely display their distinct personalities in spite of their rigid training.
The Kaminoans try to strike a balance between mindless obedience and adaptability in the clone troopers, and for the most part they seem to succeed. But not every clone is perfectly obedient and loyal to the Republic.
After the Battle of Geonosis, Cut Lawquane survives an attack on a transport. He then decides to leave the army once he realizes there is no chance of survival if he stays. He eventually settles down on the planet Saleucami with his wife and two adopted children. Another high-profile instance of a rogue trooper is Slick, who betrays the Republic, taking a deal with Asajj Ventress. He believes the Jedi use him and his clone brethren as slaves, so Ventress offers him money and freedom in exchange for information on the Jedi.
The clones are perfectly aware that they’re engineered from the DNA of a host template. Even if they don’t know initially, plenty of signs point to their otherness, including the way they tend to be treated as sub-humans and the obvious physical similarities with their brethren.
However, they don’t know that they have control chips implanted into their brains when they are embryos. The chips are allegedly used as a fail-safe to prevent the troopers from betraying the Jedi. That may have been the initial purpose, but once the Sith take over the procedure, they altered the chips to include the instructions of Order 66. The clones aren’t the only ones subject to this lack of autonomy: in Aftermath: Life Debt, the Empire uses the chips to enslave Wookiees as well.
The inhibitor chips go largely unnoticed by the clones until clone trooper CT-5385, aka Tup, starts behaving aggressively and ends Jedi General Tiplar’s life in The Clone Wars TV series. Just before he ends General Tiplar’s life, he says, “Good soldiers follow orders.”
As it turns out, his inhibitor chip malfunctions and triggers Order 66 prematurely as a result, so in his mind he is simply following the orders that are programmed into him. The Kaminoans insist that Tup’s strange behavior is a result of a virus. His friend Fives is determined to investigate the true nature of Tup’s attack, and finds an unknown tumor in Tup’s brain. Fives and the medical droid AZI-3 remove the tumor, but Tup passes.
When Tup ends General Tiplar’s life, it seems like he’s lost control of himself. However, the clones actually do remember executing Order 66. CC-1010, another clone trooper nicknamed Fox, recalls his role in Order 66 on Coruscant in Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, and describes the Jedi as agitators. Others are more sympathetic to the Jedi, like CC-10/994, known as Grey. Grey follows through on Order 66, ending the life of Jedi General Depa Billaba, his former commander. In the Kanan comic books series, he goes after Billaba’s surviving Padawan, Caleb Dume. Grey begins to have doubts about his participation in Order 66, and ends up sacrificing himself so that Dume could escape alive.
The clone troopers are not aware of the inhibitor chip or of Order 66, at least not consciously. The chip impacts them at a subconscious level, causing recurring nightmares for the troopers. As Tup draws his last breaths in The Clone Wars, he tells Fives that he is finally free from the mission. When Fives asks what mission he’s referring to, Tup simply says that Fives already knows the mission, the one that manifests itself as a never-ending dream. Fives attempts to uncover the conspiracy, but is taken out before he can. With his last breath, Fives refers to the same nightmares to Rex. Fortunately, Rex and some other troopers are able to eventually remove their chips before Order 66 thanks to Fives’ warning.
The clones are, well, clones, making every single one of them identical to Jango Fett, the original host template. The Kaminoans may have altered the original genetic code to introduce favorable changes to Jango Fett’s temperament, but they’ve opted to keep their physical similarities.
All the clones have the same voice as and are the same height as Jango Fett, standing at 183 cm (just over 6 feet), according to the old Star Wars Databank. Despite their similarities and the rigidity of their training, the clone troopers are still free to change their appearance. Fives has a tattoo on his right temple, Rex bleaches his hair blond, and Kix has tattoos all over his shaved head.
The clone troopers seem to have relatively few restrictions when in terms of altering their appearances, but all of them have their ID codes marked on their left forearms. The clones’ respective files can be accessed when an astromech droid scans the code. In The Clone Wars, Colonel Gascon leads a squad of droids and encounters a dish washer named Gregor.
It turns out that Gregor is a clone with amnesia who has been missing in action and has no idea of his original identity. R2-D2 scans the code on Gregor’s left arm, pulling up is file that contains his designation number, rank and other details regarding his service in the army. However, the code isn’t visible to the naked eye.
The cloning technology on Kamino has helped the Republic assemble a vast army in a relatively short amount of time. That said, the cloning process is far from perfect even though it produces thousands upon thousands of well-trained soldiers. At first glance, 99 doesn’t seem all that similar to Jango Fett—he’s pale, wrinkled, and stands at 168 cm (around 5 foot 5) according to the Databank. Due to a host of genetic issues from a problematic cloning process, he’s unable to serve in the Grand Army. Instead, he works as a member of the custodial and maintenance staff on Kamino. However, he still tries his best to defend his home world when the Separatists invade it, losing his life in the process.
The Kaminoans have the technology to make a whole army of clones, but they apparently can’t make clones from clones. The third season of The Clone Wars opens with the five cadets in Domino Squad struggling to finish their training on Kamino. As the general who oversees the clones’ training, Jedi Master Shaak Ti, consults Lama Su about the squad’s progress. Lama Su suggests that the clones are deficient because they’ve had to stretch Jango Fett’s DNA to make more clones since his passing. He also advises the Jedi to find a new host template for future clones. That said, he does say that there is “no one way to make a clone,” so perhaps they’re not unable, but are unwilling to use clone DNA.
During his lifetime, 99 is dismissed and ridiculed by clone cadets and their bounty hunter trainers alike because of his physical disabilities. However, a clone commando squad is later named in his honor. Known officially as Clone Force 99 and unofficially as the Bad Batch, the squad is comprised of clones with “desirable” genetic mutations considered beneficial to their battle skills. Their mutations cause them to vary in physical appearance and voice as well, and made their first appearance in an unfinished episode of The Clone Wars (which has been released). Their self-imposed nickname isn’t just a reference to their genetic mutations though. Clone Force 99 is also known for their unorthodox fighting tactics and brash behavior.
In Attack of the Clones, Lama Su tells Obi-Wan that part of Jango Fett’s compensation is an unmodified clone for himself. Jango raises the unmodified clone as a son, who grows up to become the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett, fulfilling Jango’s hopes for him. Unlike the clone troopers, Boba grows at the speed of an ordinary human and obviously does not simply obey orders. That wouldn’t be a trait conducive to being one of the deadliest bounty hunters in the galaxy. He’s also definitely not any less aggressive than his father. Despite his reluctance to be associated with the other clones, he does seem to have a soft spot for them, at least as a youngster in The Clone Wars.
In addition to knowing that they’re clones, the troopers are also fully aware that they’re being specifically programmed for optimal obedience with methods such as mind-wipes. In The Clone Wars, Fives is escorted out of Tup’s examination room after the latter’s passing. In the corridor, he encounters the medical droid AZI who has helped him remove Tup’s tumor. Although Fives believes he’s just going back to the frontlines, AZI informs him that his mind is going to be wiped clean, just like the droid is to be reprogrammed. Fives breaks free of his guards upon hearing the news because he wants to investigate Tup’s passing, but the idea of mind-wipes doesn’t seem foreign to him at all.
Before the Empire eventually replaces the clone troopers with birth-human Stormtroopers, a crop of the youngest remaining clones is trained as an expendable squad. The squad is comprised of Inquisitor Troopers under the command of a group of Inquisitors and Darth Vader himself in the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comics.
The Republic certainly treads on some moral grey areas when it comes to the clones, but the Empire is definitely much stricter. In addition to literally being considered expendable, each Inquisitor Trooper has a shaved head and a red tattoo on his face. These troopers still have the inhibitor chips containing Order 66, which Padawan Ferren Barr uses to his advantage. He triggers the order, making the troopers turn on the Jedi hunters, who turn out to be former Jedi.
The clone troopers’ colorful personalities are reflected in their unique hairstyles and tattoos, but they’re literally programmed to serve in an army. They’re often depicted as highly disciplined soldiers, standing in neat lines as they await their orders even if they do joke with one another among their ranks.
That said, clones or not, they’re still humans who need to leave such a rigidly regimented lifestyle and blow off some steam every once in a while. As it turns out, there’s a cantina on Coruscant called 79’s that caters to clones. Plenty of non-clone civilians still frequent the bar though, and Troopers would go there to paint the town red when they’re off duty, still wearing their uniforms.
The Star Wars universe has various ways to freeze and thaw sentient beings to preserve their longevity. The most famous example is probably Han Solo’s forced hibernation in carbonite. Then there’s cryo-cycle stasis, a process that is used on clone trooper CT-6116, aka Kix. As it turns out, the clones’ accelerated aging can still be put on hold with this technology.
In The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku, Kix finds out the truth about the inhibitor chips, so Dooku has him frozen and transported to the Sith. Before he gets there, the transport crashes on a desert planet in order to escape a Republic attack, leaving Kix in stasis for fifty years. Kix wakes up eventually, and ends up joining the pirate crew called the Crimson Corsair.
Do you know any other facts about the clone troopers' bodies? Tell us in the comments below!