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Star Wars: Why (& When) The Empire Replaced Clones With Stormtroopers

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Star Wars Updates: The Empire had a full army of clone troopers by the close of the Star Wars prequels, but the army was ultimately replaced by regular human Stormtroopers.

Palpatine’s government started a steady extension of imperial authority in the galaxy in the aftermath of the Empire’s founding and the events of Order 66, moving the old institutions of the Republic more and more into a monarchy. This was a long transition that lasted until the events of the original Star Wars when the last remnants of the Republic were wiped out.

One of those remnants was the Jango Fett clones that made up the Grand Army of the Republic. Though the clone troopers were suitable for Palpatine’s needs during the Clone Wars, they were a weakness in peacetime for a few reasons. The precise time frame for the Empire’s phase-out of clone troopers varies between Legends and the Canon, but the basic reasons remain the same.

Following the conclusion of the Clone Wars, the Empire performed numerous cloning tests, including several programs aimed at producing Force-sensitive troops, according to the Legends timeline.

Clones trained as high-level shock troops and remained an important military tool for years following the Republic’s breakup, though they were gradually replaced by regular recruits. The biggest reason for the transition to Stormtroopers was that cloning had become prohibitively costly.

The cost of purchasing, developing, and preparing clones was prohibitively costly, and the timeline for them to become full soldiers was lengthy.

The copies that arose within the empire were also distrustful, partly because of a series of rebellions. By 1 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), the imperial army had scarcely clones and most were in non-combat positions.

Star Wars: Stormtroopers

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The Canon cloning procedure is essentially the same as in the legends, but with a few modifications. In Canon just after the end of the war, the Kamino cloning facility was shut down, leaving only another generation of troops rising and preparing.

As in Legends, the decision was partly focused on the high cloning costs, which were no longer necessary without fighting a widespread dispute. Because of the rapid aging of the majority of the Grand Army of the Republic, in the first few years of imperial rule, they started gradually to replace them.

By about 5 BBY on the Canon timeline, before Star Wars began: Rebels were ordinary recruits with almost all participating Stormtroopers.

The additional degree of influence the Empire provided over various processes is another potential explanation for changing from clones to recruits.

The Empire minimizes the risk of revolt by taking troops around the galaxy – pitching imperial enlistment as the best way out of a life of desperation beyond the Rim, as Luke Skywalker himself saw.

A world of children serving in the Imperial Navy will be far more likely than one with little to lose to defy the Palpatine regime. It may therefore have helped Palpatine strengthen its hold on the Star Wars galaxy to replace the clone troops with ordinary human storm troops.