- "Clones can think creatively. You will find that they are immensely superior to droids."
- ―Lama Su, to Obi-Wan Kenobi
Cloning was the process of duplicating an organism into one or many clones. During the final years of the Galactic Republic, an army of clone troopers was grown on the planet Kamino. Using the human bounty hunter Jango Fett as a template, the Kaminoans tampered with Fett's genetic structure to make his clones more docile. In addition, they were designed to grow at twice the rate of normal human aging, making the clone troopers ready for deployment in a decade's time. At Fett's request, an unmodified clone—Boba Fett—was created from his template and given to him to raise as his son.
During the Clone Wars, Fett's clone soldiers served in the Grand Army of the Republic under Jedi leadership until Order 66 called for the destruction of the Jedi Order. The clones carried out their mandate due to their programming, eliminating most of the Jedi Knights across the galaxy, after which the Galactic Empire was formed by the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Shortly thereafter, the clone army was decommissioned and replaced by birth-born stormtroopers.
The Empire ultimately fell to the New Republic after the Emperor's destruction. However, Sidious managed to cheat death. Through the combined use of cloning and the dark side of the Force, the Sith Lord transferred his spirit to a new host that had been cloned from his original body. Though the transference had been a success, Sidious' new vessel suffered from rapid deterioration and was unable to contain the dark energy of his soul. His followers, the Sith Eternal, experimented with Sidious' template in the hope of creating a more suitable vessel. Their efforts produced various Strand-Casts, including Supreme Leader Snoke and multiple genetic copies of him, as well as a modified clone that was healthy yet lacked Sidious' connection to the Force. As such, the clone's only worth to Sidious lay in continuing the Palpatine bloodline through more natural means, resulting in the birth of Rey who, unlike her father, was regarded as the ideal host for her grandfather's essence.
Overview[edit | edit source]
- "They are totally obedient, taking any order without question. We modified their genetic structure to make them less independent than the original host."
- ―Lama Su
Cloning was the scientific procedure of growing a clone from the genetic template of a living organism. The template's DNA was the foundation for clones, which could number from at least one genetic copy to millions of specimens that shared the same face, voice, and even skills inherited from the original source. The template's genetic code could be altered through modifications to the cloning process for various purposes, including growth acceleration and greater docility. Without alterations to the genome, a clone would be the exact duplicate of its template at the genetic level.
The practice of cloning humans was an imperfect science. In spite of the Kaminoans' efforts to perfect the art, it was still possible to discover the occasional genetic or physical defects in their specimens, producing both wanted and unwanted results.
Millions of clones could be grown from a single genetic sample, but only while it was viable. Over time the sample would degrade. Therefore, cloners required regular access to the original source or donor in order to extract replacement samples. Otherwise a new host would have to be adopted to continue the cloning production. Clones were also considered mentally superior to droids. Their physical conditioning could be enhanced through technological augmentation, which, in the case of clone troopers, increased their chances of surviving against numerous endless waves of battle droids.
Clone troopers were created for the sole purpose of fighting; as such, they were afforded little respite. They were also capable of developing genuine resentment for their opponents, in particular the battle droids who they referred to by the derogatory slang "clankers." Some clones developed a habit for collecting droid parts as war trophies, although this act was considered a sign of defectiveness or deviant behavior.
A clone's DNA could be modified in a way that made it impossible for the clone to disobey a specific order. This was accomplished by encoding a directive in the clone's biology.
History[edit | edit source]
Fall of the Republic[edit | edit source]
- "Two hundred thousand units are ready, with a million more well on the way."
- ―Lama Su
Though not the only practitioners of cloning in the galaxy, the Kaminoan government turned its mass production of clones into a large-scale commercial activity. It was through the Kaminoan cloning process that an army was created for the Galactic Republic, almost ten years before the Clone Wars, at the behest of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Lama Su, the Kaminoans utilized their cloning expertise to create millions of genetically-engineered soldiers who would form the backbone of the new Republic Military. The Sith, having taken control of the late Sifo-Dyas' secret project, hired a human bounty hunter, Jango Fett, to serve as the army's clone template. Fett's genetic code served the foundation for millions of clone troopers who all shared the same face, voice, and combat prowess as their progenitor, although they were also structurally modified at the genetic level to make them less independent and more docile.
Further genetic tampering caused Fett's clones to grow at twice the rate of the human species, making them ready for deployment in a decade's time. While the process of growing clone troopers was left to Kaminoan scientists, the Sith took a more active role in their programming, having supplied their cloners with behavioral modification biochips to be implanted in the brain of every clone at the earliest stage of their development. Portrayed as a structural inhibitor chip, they ostensibly made their hosts more docile and less aggressive than their template, but their true purpose was to force the clones to obey Order 66—a secret protocol authorizing the immediate extermination of the Jedi Order as enemies of the state.
In addition to Fett's considerable monetary fee, the Kaminoans compensated him by creating a clone that stood apart from the rest of his artificial progeny. Unlike the others, this clone was an example of pure genetic replication and as such he was neither programmed for loyalty nor designed to grow at an accelerated rate. Fett took custody of the unmodified clone, which he named Boba Fett and raised as a son.
Clone Wars[edit | edit source]
- "I understand your concerns, Master Jedi. Ever since the unfortunate death of Jango Fett, we have had to stretch his DNA to produce more clones."
- ―Lama Su, to Shaak Ti
The clone army's development had proceeded according to schedule as the Separatist Crisis entered its final days. The Kaminoan capital, Tipoca City, housed tens of thousands of clones, while millions more were in development in facilities scattered across the planet Kamino. When the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered the clone army, Lama Su praised it as one of the finest ever produced by his people. As war became imminent, with thousands of secessionist star systems joining the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the Galactic Senate empowered Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, to mobilize the clone troopers as the Grand Army of the Republic.
Clone troopers were the legal property of the Galactic Republic, although Doctor Nala Se—one of the clones' main engineers—believed that the Kaminoan government still owned them. Clones fought for the Republic on all battlefronts across the galaxy and were loyal to their Jedi Generals as well as Chancellor Palpatine. During the conflict, the Jedi oversaw the training of younger clones on Kamino. With only a limited supply of genetic material from the late Jango Fett, Lama Su was concerned that the new clones would be less effective as soldiers. He recommended that the Jedi acquire a new template, but his Jedi liaison, Shaak Ti, advocated her support for the remaining Fett clones, particularly the clone cadets of Domino Squad.
Fett's genetic record was considered a military asset of the highest importance to the Republic's continued war effort. Knowing this, the Separatists sought to halt the production of new clones by invading Kamino and destroying the last source of Fett DNA. Though the clone troopers were soldiers of the Republic, they harbored an affinity for the Kaminoan homeworld which they viewed as their home as well. This collective sentiment motivated the clones to make every effort in pushing back against the Separatist invasion, ultimately winning the Battle of Kamino through acts of bravery and sacrifice.
As the war continued, the Senate broached the subject of buying more clones to augment the Grand Army's ranks. While Senator Padmé Amidala and other like-minded politicians advocated fiscal responsibility and a diplomatic solution to the war, others argued for increased military spending. Senator Halle Burtoni favored legislation that would deregulate the InterGalactic Banking Clan, thereby providing the Republic with new lines of credit to purchase more clone troopers from Burtoni's homeworld of Kamino.
Age of the Empire[edit | edit source]
- "I heard they shut down the facilities on Kamino. They'll train up the last batch of clones and that's it."
In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, Sidious proclaimed himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire. During the early Imperial Era, the clone troopers that fought for the Republic became the first generation of stormtroopers. At first the clones continued to form the backbone of the army, and some troopers joined the ranks of the Emperor's Royal Guard, but to their own surprise the New Order terminated the cloning operation on Kamino. The decision to phase the clones out of military service was influenced not only by their rapid aging process, but also the influx of non-clone humans who were inspired to enlist by Imperial propaganda. The final batches were brought online, but the Stormtrooper Corps was henceforth comprised of birth-born human volunteers and conscripts. Although clones could be programmed for unconditional loyalty, the Empire discovered that a more uniform, malleable soldier could be produced through the fervent patriotism of the young than the genetic duplication of a single template. Boba Fett also survived the Clone Wars and became a notorious bounty hunter like his father before him.
Though new recruits replaced clones in the Imperial Army, the Emperor was still invested in cloning for his own reasons. During his reign, there were rumors that the Empire created clones of unique species. Prior to the Battle of Endor, a clone of the Emperor's body was engineered on the hidden Sith world of Exegol. Its purpose was to serve as a replacement vessel in the event that the Emperor's original body was destroyed.
New Republic Era[edit | edit source]
- "Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army."
- ―Kylo Ren
Clones were remembered long after the Clone Wars, having made an impact on galactic history, well past the fall of the Empire and throughout the era of the New Republic. During the Cold War, the First Order warlord Kylo Ren had an argument with his rival, General Armitage Hux, concerning the newest generation of stormtroopers. Ren openly criticized Hux's soldiers, convinced that they were all capable of treason due to the actions of a single traitor in the ranks, and declared that Supreme Leader Snoke should consider the advantages of using a clone army.
Return of the Emperor[edit | edit source]
- "I have died before. The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural."
- ―Darth Sidious
After a generation of Sith rule over the galaxy, Darth Sidious was destroyed by his Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, who gave his life to save his son, Luke Skywalker. With their deaths, the lineage of Sith Lords from Darth Bane to Darth Vader was broken. Balance was restored to the Force, fulfilling the Jedi prophecy of the Chosen One. In spite of Anakin Skywalker's sacrifice, however, Sidious had discovered a way to cheat death. Having stolen the secret of immortality from Darth Plagueis, Sidious endeavored to gain the eternal life that his Sith Master coveted. Plagueis was caught unprepared in his moment of death, whereas Sidious—sensing the flickering light side of the Force in his apprentice—had been ready for years.
Using himself as a genetic template, a cloned body had been prepared as a replacement host for his soul in the event of his demise. Though he anticipated Vader's potential to turn against him, the Emperor's death came sooner than he expected, forcing him act swiftly in thrusting his consciousness into his new body before his original form was destroyed. The transfer was imperfect, however. The secret place where his clone was stored had not finished its preparations, and the body that Sidious was restored in was wrought with pain, making it nothing more than a temporary vessel.
Trapped in a broken, dying form, Sidious was forced to rely on the physical support of an Ommin harness, while Sith cultists labored tirelessly to keep the cloned host alive while they experimented with their master's genetic template, endeavoring to create a more sufficient container for his dark essence. The cultists of the Sith Eternal toiled, splicing genes and bolstering tissue. Their genetic tampering spawned unnatural abominations, but they hoped that at least one of the Strand-Casts would become a sufficient receptacle. All of their experiments ended in failure. However, their efforts were not entirely in vain.
A single Strand-Cast survived; regarded as the Emperor's son, he was a clone of Sidious, though not completely identical to his template. Despite being in excellent health, the clone did not inherit Sidious' strong connection to the Force. Sidious could not bear to look on his clone, being disappointed that something so ordinary could be spawned from his blood. While he considered the clone a useless, powerless failure, Sidious kept him alive on the chance of continuing his bloodline through more natural methods. The clone ultimately became involved with a woman who bore him a child, the Emperor's granddaughter Rey. Unlike her father, Rey inherited Sidious' power in the Force, making her strong enough to contain her grandfather's spirit along with all the power of the Sith.
By the time Sidious announced his return in a broadcast to a war-torn galaxy, his cloned body was rapidly failing him. The Sith Eternal cultists had been fighting a losing battle, using an apparatus dating back to the Clone Wars to sustain the Emperor's putrid flesh. Despite their efforts, Sidious was unspeakably frail. He could not even survive without the support of the Ommin harness. His eyes had deteriorated to the point of blindness. Vials punctured Sidious' neck, yet all but one were empty of liquid, which was the last thing preventing the Emperor from succumbing to a permanent death. Observing the state of the Emperor's dying form, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren estimated that it was only a matter of time before the clone was completely destroyed by the dark presence within. By finding Sidious on Exegol, Ren also discovered the existence of Snoke's clone "brothers," or rather genetic copies of Ren's late master, who were kept sedated in a tank of nutrient fluid.
Resistance trooper Beaumont Kin correctly speculated that Sidious' resurrection following his death during the Battle of Endor might have involved cloning. As the Emperor's plot for revenge continued apace, Rey confronted her grandfather on Exegol where she learned the details of his survival through cloning in a Force vision. Sidious goaded Rey to surrender herself to the dark side by participating in a ritual sacrifice. By killing the Emperor in anger and hatred, Rey would become possessed by Sidious' spirit, freeing the Emperor from the confine of his cloned vessel. However, Sidious abandoned this plan upon discovering the extent of Rey's bond with Ben Solo, formerly Kylo Ren. The realization that they were a dyad in the Force led Sidious to drain them of their combined power, thereby healing his body and restoring himself to full power. Vowing to herald the return of the Sith, the reborn Emperor moved to annihilate the Resistance but was opposed by Rey, who managed to destroy his spirit's vessel with the help of all the Jedi who were one with the Force.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]
- "All I Want For Life Day"
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Crisis on Coruscant" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DLC)
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
Sources[edit | edit source]
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Conspiracy"
- The Star Wars Book
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 16
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Fugitive"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Hidden Enemy"
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Clone Cadets"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Pursuit of Peace"
- Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 2
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary, New Edition
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker