Star Wars: The Bad Batch could explain just why the Empire stopped using Clone Troopers. Clone Force 99 is an elite group of clones unlike any other produced on the planet Kamino. Using Jango Fett as a template, the cloners of Kamino created thousands of soldiers to serve in the Grand Army of the Republic. The problem with cloning, however, is that – no matter how good your technology may be – you will eventually create mutations. Clone Force 99 is composed entirely of so-called “mutant” clones, whose mutations were deemed potentially useful to the Republic.

There’s a sense in which Clone Force 99 could be considered the superheroes of the Republic military. Each one possesses unique gifts beyond those of their brothers, and as a result Clone Force 99 are essentially as effective in battle as an entire army. Hunter is the leader of the Bad Batch, possessed of heightened senses. He works alongside Wrecker, a remarkably strong warrior; Crosshair, a gifted marksman; Tech, a genius who can make technology do exactly what he wants; and Anakin Skywalker’s old friend Echo, a cyborg who has added a new level of strategic expertise to the team.

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The Bad Batch are set to star in their own animated series, a spiritual sequel to Star Wars: The Clone Wars that is set sometime shortly after the climactic end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Intriguingly, this Disney+ series may well explain just why the Empire stopped using clones in the first place.

The Empire Stopped Using Clone Troopers After Order 66

In theory, the Clone Army should have been perfect for Palpatine’s purposes. He had successfully established the Empire, but he was well aware there would be resistance. A number of high-profile senators, such as Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, were no doubt of particular interest to the new regime; some tie-ins have already suggested the Emperor swiftly sent Darth Vader after potential political opponents, particularly those who have signed a petition calling on Palpatine to give up his Emergency Powers shortly before the fall of the Republic. Given this context, the Clone Troopers should have been irresistible to the Emperor. After all, he had already proven they can be controlled through judicious use of control chips even forced them to turn on the Jedi who had commanded them for years.

And yet, for all that is the case, instead the Emperor chose to decommission the clones and replace them with an intensive recruitment operation that spanned the galaxy. What is more, he appears to have begun doing this pretty much straight away. Charles Soule’s Darth Vader #2 is set shortly after the Empire was founded, and a conversation between two Clone Troopers reveals the cloning facilities on Kamino were swiftly shut down. The Empire trained one last batch of clones, and then ended the entire project.

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Looking back, this explains why the galactic conflict that led to the creation of the Empire became known as the Clone Wars; because the clone army only existed from the beginning of the war to shortly after its end. It is possible this psychological reason factored into Palpatine’s decision, in that he sought to demonstrate to the galaxy that the last painful chapter of history had come to an end. But, while this is a solid argument, it is unlikely to be the whole story; Palpatine simply didn’t care enough about his subjects to be driven by that kind of logic.

Clone Force 99 May Have Caused Too Many Problems

The issues may arise directly from the activities of Clone Force 99. The trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch suggests Clone Force 99 disobeyed Order 66, refusing to obey the command to kill the Jedi generals they had formerly served. This act of disobedience appears to have been noticed at the highest level, with Palpatine’s trusted servant Tarkin directly overseeing an assessment to decide whether the Bad Batch should be kept on in-service to the Empire. While he was no doubt impressed at their skills and capabilities, Tarkin was a military man through-and-through, and he tended to do things by-the-books. He would have considered the unorthodox methods of the Bad Batch to be quite troubling, especially given the control chips may not have been able to rein them in. This would explain why Tarkin chose to decommission the Bad Batch, especially if they had already failed to demonstrate loyalty to the new regime by participating in the execution of the Jedi.

This may also have affected his assessment of the reliability of the Clone Army itself. Mutations happen spontaneously during cloning, and the precise reason for each mutation is difficult to determine. The Kaminoans may well have been unable to explain how Clone Force 99 became resistant to the control chips, meaning they could not guarantee other mutations would not arise that gave other Clone Troopers independence of thought. The disobedience of the Bad Batch would demonstrate a significant risk to the safety and security of the Empire should the Clone Army remain in place. Instead, therefore, Tarkin would have preferred a simple mass recruitment drive to build a new army, coupled with a carefully constructed propaganda program.

The Bad Batch’s Ongoing Activities Could Have Made Things Worse

The trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch confirms Clone Force 99 will be targeted for execution, and they won’t go down quietly. Essentially, then, in the early days of the Empire the first effective rebels were drawn from the ranks of the Clone Army, mutations from Kamino who had been granted tremendous gifts and who were as capable as an entire army. Little wonder Tarkin prioritized killing them, especially if they wound up operating in the same circles as fanatics like Saw Gerrera. Making matters worse, the more difficulty Tarkin experienced in taking down the Bad Batch, the more risky he would consider creating further clones to be. Thus the Bad Batch could, by virtue of their very survival instincts, explain exactly why the Empire decided to pivot away from Clone Troopers to Stormtroopers. One of the greatest mysteries of Star Wars history could finally be explained.

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