March 25, 2023

By the end of the Prequel Trilogy, the once-peaceful Republic has been reorganized into the tyrannical Galactic Empire, and the Dark Lord of the Sith is now in complete control of the galaxy. The Jedi Order has been destroyed and the trilogy’s greatest heroes are all dead or in hiding or have been transformed into evil cybernetic monsters. As for the clones? Well, Lucas doesn’t really explore what happened to them, and back in 2005, fans were basically just supposed to assume that eventually the clone army transitioned into the Imperial stormtroopers we first meet in A New Hope. At some point, there must have been a changing of the guard.

In this writer’s opinion, that was well and fine, not everything in a fictional universe needs to be explained, and one of Star Wars‘ greatest strengths back in the early Lucas era was the air of mystery that defined so much of its lore. Things like the Force and the Clone Wars were left open to interpretation so that viewers could fill in the gaps using their own imaginations. But by the time Lucas set to work on the Prequel Trilogy, he’d clearly changed his mind.

So, while the end of the Prequel Trilogy didn’t explore the fate of the clones beyond Order 66, Lucas and his creative team did expand on clone lore further in The Clone Wars animated series, even revealing the clone army only turned on the Jedi because of an inhibitor chip secretly implanted into their heads at birth. In other words, Palpatine used bio-tech to control them like they were disposable battle droids. Lucas loves a bit of allegory.

Even after Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, the House of Mouse has continued to delve deeper into the story of the clones and what happened to them between the Prequel and Original Trilogies. In fact, the latest episodes of Star Wars: The Bad Batch, “The Clone Conspiracy” and “Truth and Consequences,” have finally answered one of the biggest questions about the fate of the clone army, solving a mystery left behind by the Prequels but that was really first set up by A New Hope in 1977.

How were clone troopers ultimately replaced by volunteer Imperial stormtroopers? It turns that it happened on the Imperial Senate floor. This week’s two-part story in part follows the sinister Imperial Vice Admiral Rampart as he tries to manipulate the Senate into voting for the Defense Recruitment Bill, which would allow the Empire to begin recruiting new troops in order to finally decommission the aging clone army once and for all. Seeing the clones as a relic of the past, many senators agree with Rampart, but there are holdouts who first want to make sure clone war veterans are taken care and integrated into society after their relieved of duty. These holdouts include Bail Organa, Senator Riyo Chuchi (from The Clone Wars), and Tynnra Pamlo (who we first met in Rogue One).

While Chuchi, Captain Rex, and the Bad Batch work to dig up proof that Rampart led an Imperial attack on the clone labs on Kamino in order to halt production of new clone troopers (an act so inhumane it would certainly halt the bill in its tracks), the Vice Admiral works with Palpatine stooge Mas Amedda (another returner from the Prequel Trilogy) to eliminate opposition to the bill. Rampart even taps in a clone assassin to assassinate fellow clone troopers who might reveal the truth about what happened on Kamino.

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