From the MoviesAt the time of their introduction, the Republic clone trooper represented the future of galactic warfare. Far superior to the battle droid armies of the era, the clone troopers formed the backbone of the Republic's new military initiative that battled against the forces of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. So pervasive and symbolic were they of the times, the galaxy-wide conflagration that saw their debut took its name from their ranks: the Clone Wars.
Identical in form, physical prowess, stamina and mental capacity, each of the first generations of clone trooper was grown in the cloning facilities of Tipoca City, on the storm-drenched world of Kamino. Within the hermetic confines of the secret facility, the politically ambivalent Kaminoans applied their mastery of genetic sciences to craft what they deemed the finest of clone armies.
According to Jedi investigations, the clone army was apparently commissioned by one of their own, the late Master Sifo-Dyas, a decade previous to their introduction on the battlefield. The original source of genetic material was an extremely skilled bounty hunter named Jango Fett. Using his genetic code as a template, the Kaminoans carefully tampered with the material to produce clones with diminished independence and accelerated growth.
Growth acceleration is essential to the production of clones, otherwise it would take almost two decades for a soldier to reach combat maturity. In a decade's time, the clones were constantly trained in fighting techniques, vehicular skills and battlefield tactics. Yet they still maintained a spark of independent and creative thinking, making them far better suited than droids to handle unexpected turns of warfare.
Clone troopers were fully encased in hard white armor, their identical faces concealed behind a t-shaped visor. In the first units, color-coded flashes on the armor denoted rank, with green troopers being sergeants, blue being lieutenants, red being captains, and yellow being commanders. The clones designated for command duty were specifically trained in that capacity. By the end of the war, color-designation came to signify not rank, but individual units, who often became more customized with mission specific gear and armor modifications. Units such as the Galactic Marines, the Shock Troopers, the Attack Battalion and the Star Corps had distinct armor variations that made them stand out.
During the increasing tensions of the Separatist crisis, Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered the secret clone army on Kamino. The Jedi Council was surprised to learn of its existence, and of the involvement of Sifo-Dyas. Nonetheless, when it became clear the Separatists were gearing for war, the clone army was desperately needed to protect the sanctity and stability of the Republic. The Supreme Chancellor was granted emergency powers, and as his first act, he activated the clone troopers as the grand army of the Republic.
On the barren plains of Geonosis, a major Separatist stronghold, the first battle of the Clone Wars erupted. The clone troopers, equipped with advanced armor and air support, stormed the Separatist forces, and cut through the battle droid ranks. Led into battle by Jedi commanders, the clone troopers secured the first victory of the war.
It would be a long and bloody conflict in the years to come, but the efficiency of the clone trooper infantry would be proven time and again on many scattered worlds. The Jedi became their generals, waging a long and destructive war against the Separatists. Clones assigned to specific Jedi grew to develop strong working relationships that bordered on friendship, but to each clone, the achievement of victory in war was of single-most priority, and their ultimate loyalty was to the Republic.
So it was that a duplicitous Chancellor took advantage of this unswerving allegiance. Palpatine, who was in truth Darth Sidious, had masterminded the Clone Wars from its very inception, having arranged the creation of the army through the dead-end front of Sifo-Dyas. As part of a contingency, there were a series of emergency protocols that each clone commander was specifically trained to enact.
Order 66 identified the Jedi order as traitors to the Republic that had to be eliminated with all haste and with extreme prejudice. With his shadowy plot fully in motion, Sidious used his wide-spanning communications network to make contact with his loyal clone commanders, and executed Order 66.
The clones turned on their Jedi leaders. They opened fire on the unsuspecting Jedi Knights, bringing to an end Clone War engagements on such varied worlds as Cato Neimoidia, Saleucami, Mygeeto, Felucia, Kashyyyk and Utapau.
With their Jedi leaders taken out, the chain of command placed the clone troopers under the Chancellor, who would regroup and reform his galaxy-spanning armed forces into the stormtrooper ranks that came to symbolize the oppressive might of the Galactic Empire.
From the Expanded UniverseThe relentless battery of physical and mental training within such an accelerated lifetime could potentially drive a clone mad were it not for the highly structured and balanced development program instituted by the Kaminoans. Though care was taken to protect the clone psyche, the fully mature clone cannot be said to have a "normal" personality, as their identities are wholly shaped by military training and subservience to authority.
The Kaminoans are obsessed with order and control over variables, and carefully monitored the developing clones for any deviance in biochemistry. These statistical anomalies were smoothed over under the supervision of Kaminoan Chief Scientist Ko Sai through extra conditioning. The Kaminoans reconditioned an average of seven aberrant clones for every two hundred clones.
Mature clones resembled Jango Fett as he was in his 20s, with slight deviations that were a byproduct of accelerated growth in a sterile environment. Fett resided on Kamino, offering his martial expertise and advice in the training of his duplicates. During this period, the Kaminoans developed the ARC troopers, special forces with less docility tampering than the standard clones of the line. From these ranks arose the ARC trooper known as Alpha. Distinguishing himself in combat, Alpha returned to Kamino to train future clone soldiers.Alpha drilled classes of clone commanders in combat techniques that emphasized beyond-the-manual improvisation and individuality.
Though some Kaminoans bristled at the idea, Alpha's training program began to reward commanders by officially acknowledging their individualism with the gift of proper names. Clone troopers typically refer to each other by their identification numbers. In small groups and under close quarters conditions, they commonly refer to each other using only the last two digits of their ID number. The use of individualized nicknames was known to occur on the battlefield, but the Kaminoans disparaged the asymmetry it introduced among their creations. At the behest of the Republic and the Jedi, the cloners put aside their dislike for Alpha's program that resulted in such notable named clone soldiers as Odd Ball, Cody, Bacara, Bly, Neyo, Appo, Fox and Gree.
The first series of clone trooper armor (designated Phase I armor) consisted of 20 form-fitting plastoid-alloy composite plates sealed to a temperature-control body glove via magnatomic gription panels. Jango Fett's Mandalorian heritage influenced the design of the armor, as seen in the t-shaped visor plate. The Kaminoans aesthetic influence is also visible, in its stark coloration and detailing. As the Kaminoans are not fully versed in human ergonomics, the armor was uncomfortable to sit in, though future generations of the suit corrected this flaw. The clone trooper helmet includes a comlink and enhanced breath filter for combat in hostile environments.
The unique clone trooper identification number is embedded in each clone's DNA. The clones themselves have no physical markings indicating their unique identities. A special scanner incorporated into the clone trooper helmet identifies the trooper and this info is displayed on a tiny LED viewscreen incorporated in the back of the helmet. The information displayed on the helmet can also be transmitted to a central location so that combat commanders can "track" a battle.
With the exact same genome copied thousands of times across a battlefield, the use of clone infantry has been very beneficial to combat medicine. Treatment for clones is much easier compared to individuals of other species. The clones are all the same genome, so their body parts are literally interchangeable -- there is no worry about rejection syndrome, and many complicated procedures can be extensively standardized.
Following the rise of the Empire, the military cloning program expanded to include new clone hosts. By the time of the Empire consolidated its power by dissolving the Senate, the ranks of the Imperial stormtroopers would include cloned infantry from multiple sources as well as birth-born conscripts and recruits from various worlds.
Behind the ScenesThe titular clone troopers of Episode II were designed to strongly hint at their eventual evolution into the Empire's stormtrooper ranks. As envisioned by creator George Lucas, the prequel trilogy would showcase the evolution of fighting forces, starting with battle droids that were clearly flawed. The clone troopers were the next step in the evolution, and Concept Artist Jay Shuster worked on the armor designs. "It follows the formula for a lot of the prequel trilogy," says Shuster. "Take something pre-conceived in the existing trilogy and de-generate it."
That Boba Fett's armor had some connection to the stormtrooper pedigree had long been a vague assertion in Star Wars lore. Design Director Doug Chiang's concept art focused on this connection, melding features of both armors into the finished clone trooper design. R. Kim Smith and Michael Patrick Murnane built a concept model of the clone trooper which implied that this first generation armor was thicker and bulkier than the lighter armor worm by the stormtroopers. This design concept was carried through by the Episode III Art Department, that further progressed the look of the clone troopers closer to the stormtroopers of the original trilogy, including variant designs that gave obvious nods to the sandtrooper, scout trooper and snowtrooper designs.
For the finished film, every single armored clone trooper was realized as a computer-generated creation, and no clone trooper armor was ever built. Playing the young, unhelmeted clone was Bodie "Tihoi" Taylor, cast for his resemblance to a younger Temuera (Jango Fett) Morrison. For several shots set in Tipoca City, Taylor was photographed multiple times and composited repeatedly to fill out a crowded scene. In some cases, Taylor was completely digital, particularly for distant shots of unarmored clone troopers in training.
Taking the all-digital armor one step further for Episode III, Revenge of the Sith included scenes of armored yet helmetless clones, played by Morrison and Taylor. Both actors would wear blue bodysuits that isolated their heads. Digital costumes were then match-animated to their bodies. In some cases, there were completely digital helmetless clones that featured a unique head design that was a digital blend between Taylor and Morrison's features.
Since the clone troopers were the product of visual effects, many of the first Episode II print materials could not feature imagery of the still-in-development clones. Instead, several book covers and trading cards featured photographs of the original Smith and Murnane concept maquette.
Keywords: Databank - The Clone Wars, Databank - Episode III, Databank - Episode II, Databank - Expanded Universe
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