Star Wars’ Empire should’ve wanted the best soldiers – but it didn’t. The Bad Batch explains why Palpatine picked Stormtroopers over Clone Troopers.
The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2, Episode 3, “The Solitary Clone,” now streaming on Disney+.
Lightsabers might be the most recognizable visual in the Star Wars universe, but Stormtroopers aren’t far off. They were the face of the Imperial military, and Palpatine used them to terrible and terrifying effect while maintaining control of his Empire. However, Stormtroopers looked more effective than they actually were. While legions of armor-clad soldiers were formidable, they weren’t great soldiers. In fact, their lack of aim has been the butt of many jokes over the years.
When the prequel films rolled around, Star Wars introduced Clone Troopers as the predecessors of Stormtroopers. They were much more effective, leading fans to ask why the Empire abandoned Clone Troopers and started using Stormtroopers. There were many reasons why the Clones were phased out, but The Bad Batch Season 2 created a new one: Clones were too good for the Empire.
The Bad Batch Proves Star Wars’ Clone Troopers Were Better Than Stormtroopers
The Bad Batch Season 2, Episode 3, “The Solitary Clone” didn’t even show Clone Force 99. It focused on Crosshair and Commander Cody, as they went to the planet Desix. The local governor was refusing to acknowledge the Empire’s authority and had taken an Imperial emissary hostage. Admiral Rampart sent Crosshair and Cody to rescue the Imperial and quell thoughts of a rebellion by any means necessary. In doing so, Crosshair murdered the local governor and left no doubt that even one Clone Trooper was more effective than any squad of Stormtroopers.
The plot thickened after the murder, however. While Admiral Rampart assigned Crosshair to a new mission, he revealed that Cody had gone AWOL after the mission to Desix. Rampart’s reaction to Cody’s betrayal was to simply say, “Clone loyalty does not seem to be as advertised anymore.” That scene helped to explain why Star Wars‘ Empire transitioned away from Clone Troopers.
The Bad Batch’s Admiral Rampart Hated Clones Because They Were Too Good
Season 2’s first three episodes included several instances where Clones didn’t live up to Rampart’s standards. He found out that Crosshair had lied about the Bad Batch’s fate in the Season 1 finale. Commander Wilco refused to falsify a report and then Cody disappeared. All of those instances clearly soured Rampart on the idea of using Clone Troopers as the Empire’s foot soldiers.
Rampart’s behavior showed that the Empire didn’t want good soldiers; it wanted loyal soldiers. The Clones had fought for years and were good at what they did. That experience meant when a superior officer told them to do something incorrect or morally wrong, they would balk at the idea — as Cody and Wilco did. The Empire responded by opting for conscripted soldiers. They would never be as effective as the Clones, but if someone signed up to be a Stormtrooper, then they could expect that person to follow orders without question.
Clone Troopers were too good at being soldiers, too good at reading a situation and too good at making their own decisions. All of those factors were detrimental to absolute loyalty. As The Bad Batch Season 2 continues, it’s likely that more and more clones will show their free will — giving the Empire more of a reason to phase them out.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch streams Wednesdays on Disney+.