Clone troopers and Stormtroopers are the best-known characters from George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise, despite being – for most of their time in the series – associated with villains. And although they are colloquially known as being the worst shooters in the galaxy, their story – or rather – their history is quite interesting. When talking about masked space troops many ask themselves are the Clone Troopers the same as Stormtroopers and are they good or bad?
The Clone Troopers were never bad, they were just very loyal clones who obeyed a very evil leader, Palpatine. The Stormtroopers were humans and in that aspect, those that committed the crimes in the Empire’s name can be considered bad, especially since a lot of Stormtroopers eventually deserted because they did not agree with the Empire’s crimes.
Whether you see Stormtroopers and Clone Troopers as a tool or as a villain find out more about the Troops, their history and course of action in the lore in the following article.
The difference between Clone Troopers and Stormtroopers
Although they look practically the same, Clone Troopers aren’t exactly the same as Stormtroopers, although the latter were formed from the first. Here, we are going to explain the difference between these two groups.
Clone troopers were high-ranking officers within the Republican Army that was created for its protection and the fight against the separatists. They worked closely with the Jedi, but were under the control of the Chancellor and the Senate.
Bred at the cloning facilities on the ocean planet Kamino from their genetic template, Jango Fett, clone troopers were created to serve the Galactic Republic, which lacked a proper military force. They were the basis of the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. In reality, however, clone troopers were nothing more than a tool that Chancellor Palpatine, secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, used to wipe out the Jedi Order. The clone army was commissioned by Palpatine’s Sith apprentice and Separatist leader Count Dooku long before the Clone Wars, but the Jedi were led to believe that deceased Jedi Master Sifo Dyas was the one who ordered its creation.
Futhermore, all clones were genetically modified to age at twice the rate of a normal human, and be predisposed toward unquestioning obedience to the chain of command, including being outfitted with mind-controlling chips. As such, at the end of the Clone Wars, which Palpatine had used to rise to power, the Sith Lord issued Order 66, which caused the clone troopers to execute their Jedi commanders, now seen as traitors of the Republic. Following the Republic’s conversion into the Galactic Empire, clone troopers became more and more uncommon as they were slowly replaced by Stormtroopers.
Stormtroopers were the elite shock troops/space marines of the Galactic Empire, under the leadership of Emperor Palpatine and his commanders. They were created from the Galactic Republic’s clone troopers, clones of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Despite this, later stormtroopers are established as recruits; at the time of the original trilogy, only a few stormtroopers are clones.
Later, after the fall of the Empire, the upgraded stormtroopers served the First Order under the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke and his commanders, most notably Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Captain Phasma. A variation of the Stormtroopers, known as the Sith Troopers, was also introduces as an upgraded variant of the First Order stormtroopers that sport red armor and serve the Final Order, led by a resurrected Emperor Palpatine.
Why did the Clone Troopers turn bad?
As we’ve seen, the Clone Troopers were initially good guys who worked closely with the Jedi during the Clone Wars in service of the Galactic Republic. Despite being clones, they had built a strong connection to the Jedi and we can even say that they were friends. But there was one problem – the clones were programmed to be loyal to the Republic and not the Jedi, meaning that they had to obey the Chancellor’s orders whatever they were!
This resulted in tragedy when Palpatine activated Order 66. After Palpatine’s order, the Clones turned on the Jedi and started the Great Purge that resulted in the death of almost all of the Jedi. A few did survive, but the Order was destroyed and the surviving Jedi went into hiding.
This move on the side of the Clones is usually labelled as treason, but they really did not have many options, really. Namely, alongside the fact that they were created solely for the purpose of serving the Chancellor and the Republic, Palpatine also had a chip installed in them to make them more obedient, i.e., to completely take away their free will and make them obey any order without question.
This is why the Clone Troopers actually “turned bad”, but they really didn’t turn bad, they were just a big bunch of good guys led by a really, really bad guy who they had to obey because they were programmed to do so.
Are Stormtroopers good or bad?
As we’ve said, the Stormtroopers were formed after the Clone Troopers became obsolete and they became the Empire’s official army. Initially, they were mostly clones, but as the Empire expanded and more and more people joined the Imperial Army (either voluntarily, or by force), the Clones themselves became obsolete and the Emperor halted their production, which eventually lead to there being no more Clones among the Stormtroopers. The Stormtroopers were, as we’ve established, mostly humans who either joined the fleet voluntarily or were recruited by force.
The Stormtroopers, thus, had their free will and they did not have to obey any orders. The ones who voluntarily joined the Imperial Army did so by their own free will, which means that they can and should be held accountable for their actions. They had the option to decline and desert, as a lot of Stormtroopers actually did after being disillusioned with the Empire’s policies. This is why we can say that a large portion of the Stormtroopers was, indeed, bad. Those that were forced into being Stormtroopers could get some leniency, but even they had the possibility of deserting, which means that even they can be held accountable.
The only Stormtroopers that could not be considered bad are those that deserted the corps because they did not agree with the Imperial policies. The exact number of such troopers is unknown, but there has been a substantial number of such characters within the expanded universe.