There seems to be a lot of confusion out there. We’re here to clear everything up.
We’ve entered a new phase of Star Wars, one that’s determined to look forward while still keeping a foot grounded in what came before. There’s no better example of that mentality than stormtroopers, which have been one of the only constants across all three trilogies.
However, with Star Wars Rebels taking place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, not to mention The Force Awakens establishing a whole new setting thirty years after Return of the Jedi… some questions are popping up regarding the fundamentals in each era. Some are centered on institutions such as the Knights of Ren… but a lot of people are talking about stormtroopers.
Big question we keep hearing is “Are the stormtroopers the same as the clone troopers?” and “Are the stormtroopers clones in the original trilogy?”
Well, today’s your lucky day. We’re here to answer that one in great detail.
What are clone troopers?
Based on the manipulations of Darth Sidious, clone troopers were created on Kamino in order to give the Republic an army in preparation for the Clone Wars. An elite fighting force equipped with the latest gear, clone troopers were copied from the genome of the notorious Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett. The clones were created in a mere ten years thanks to accelerated aging.
During the Clone Wars, the clone troopers were feared and respected as they fought alongside their Jedi generals against the Separatist droid armies. The clone troopers were bold, loyal, and effective while still managing to become individuals in their own right.
Unfortunately, they were implanted with special chip that made them turn against the Jedi when Darth Sidious issued Order 66. When the Republic became the Empire, the clone troopers continued to serve the military, but it wouldn’t be forever. With the death of Jango Fett at the Battle of Geonosis, there was no way to create more clones from fresh genetic samples… which led to the introduction of stormtroopers.
Alright, what are stormtroopers and how are they different from clone troopers?
Because the cloners on Kamino didn’t have access to fresh genetic material from Jango Fett, they were unable to supply more clones like the ones that had served during the Clone Wars. Instead of continuing to use clones, the Empire instead opted for human conscripts throughout the galaxy.
Thus, stormtroopers just became regular people who were recruited and rigorously trained. The first season of Star Wars Rebels has episodes that feature one of the facilities that train stormtrooper conscripts on the planet Lothal. In an early second season episode of Rebels, retired clone commander Rex laments the drop in quality from the clone trooper corps to the stormtroopers widely seen all over the Empire, which explains why the clone troopers are so amazing in the prequel films and the stormtroopers are inaccurate cannon fodder in the original trilogy.
What about the First Order stormtroopers in The Force Awakens?
We’re willing to bet they aren’t clones for several reasons. We think it’s a safe to say the cloning facilities are outside the First Order’s reach due to being destroyed, forgotten, retired, or otherwise disabled because the filmmakers are trying to stick with the feel of the original trilogy. In addition, both Gwendoline Christie and John Boyega are both playing members of the stormtrooper corps in the film… and it’s safe to say they have a few different genes between them. Instead, we think the First Order will employ human recruits that have been indoctrinated into the First Order’s way of thinking since a very early age.
Of course, we don’t know for certain there won’t be any clones… but we’re very certain the First Order won’t be using them for stormtroopers by the time of The Force Awakens.