With reference to Why did the Empire discontinue the clone trooper program?

Same question but strictly no Legends. I want to know the reason within the Disney canon's context, as a lot of things with respect to the clones are different.

Edit: I guess I should have made it clear. I know perfectly well existing clones age quickly. But why did they replace clones with birth born instead of new clones? Why is the clone trooper program discontinued?

5 Answers 5


Out-of-universe, Pablo Hidalgo explained that the production of clones was phased out at the end of the Clone Wars, and since the clones age at twice the rate of normal humans they are too old to serve as stormtroopers. They have been replaced with non-clone volunteers who are "fervently patriotic and loyal to the Empire". Video proof can be found on Youtube (starting at about 2:56 into the video).

In-universe, the canon novel Tarkin supports Hidalgo's claim that the clones are too old in this incident in which stormtroopers are loading Darth Vader's meditation chamber onto Tarkin's ship:

When the stormtrooper operating the equipment accidentally allowed the flattened sphere to bang against the edge of the cargo hold’s retracted hatch, Vader stamped forward with his gloved hands clenched.

“I warned you to be careful!” he shouted up at the trooper.

“My apologies, Lord Vader. Wind shear from—”

“Excuses won’t suffice, Sergeant Crest,” Vader cut him off. “Perhaps you are aging too quickly to remain on active duty.”

Tarkin couldn’t make sense of the remark until he realized that Crest’s was a face he had seen countless times during the war—the face of an original Kamino clone trooper. The bare-headed others comprising Vader’s squad were human regulars who had enlisted after the war.

Tarkin, p. 94

Tarkin occurs 5 years after the end of the Clone Wars so the clones evidently aged too quickly to be useful within just a few years after the Empire was created.

I am not aware of a canon source (either in or out of universe) which explicitly explains why the production of clones was phased out. Presumably, it's because the end of the Clone Wars meant war production -- including the expensive production of clones -- was no longer needed. Palpatine could not justify such war spending to a war-weary populace. The existing clones could serve as the Empire's military, at least until they became too old (which didn't take long, as Tarkin indicates). Thereafter, the Empire could recruit from volunteers with the additional benefit that they would be "fervently patriotic and loyal to the Empire" in contrast to the clones who were conscripted and thus not necessarily as enthusiastic about the Empire (in fact, some clones protested their conscription during the Clone Wars).

  • Is there any reason to believe clone production was prohibitively expensive? The Galactic Empire seems to have a war-oriented economy. We see there is production of fighters, capital ships, superweapons and general war machinery. Why would the populace be weary of clones in particular?
    – Andres F.
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 22:50
  • 2
    I think look at it this way: salaried recruits at least earn their keep which flow into the galactic economy. Clones are a purchase: The money goes to the coffers of Kamino. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 1:34
  • 1
    @AndresF. Clones have to be raised, fed, trained, etc. from birth. They have an accelerated growth rate, but that's still about 10 years. Able-bodied adult recruits just need some military training.
    – Null
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 2:22
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    A standing army of regular humans is expensive too. Stormtroopers are considered elite, in any case. I assume the reason to use clones would be that they are more effective than humans, which should be translated to savings of some kind (even if they are more expensive per unit). And why do savings suddenly matter, anyway, when you're building capital ships and superweapons left and right? I'd think the populace would tire sooner of yet another Star Destroyer than of clone troopers...
    – Andres F.
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 13:15

Wookieepedia says this (emphasis mine):

As stormtroopers, clones obeyed the new Emperor's will, enforced his laws, and destroyed the enemies of the Empire during the early years of the dark times. In time, however, the clones' fighting skills deteriorated as a result of their accelerated aging process. Ultimately, clones were gradually replaced by birth-born Human recruits who, like their predecessors, were trained for absolute loyalty and obedience. Four years before the Battle of Yavin, all clones had been decommissioned from the Imperial Army. Nonetheless, a few clones remained in Imperial service acting as training instructors for the next generation of stormtroopers.

The Wookieepedia article sites these Disney canon sources:


To answer your question about why clone production ceased, no Disney canon material that I know of answers this definitively. We are left to either assume that the Legends answer is true but not confirmed or speculate that the Kaminoans refused to continue clone production after the fall of the Republic.

  • Please see edit. Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 18:02
  • @thegreatjedi - noted. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 14:36

If we are going with Legends, they were ended because of the Battle of Kamino, where clones attempted an uprising on the planet, but were quickly finished by Darth Vader, and his men.

In terms of Disney canon, due to the costs of continuing maintaining search an army, they were also fazed out in favor of humans; additionally, clones did age quickly, something that is exemplified by the *Star Wars Rebels * when we see Captain Rex, and his two Clone buddies.

To put it simply, clones were just a short term solution, to a short term problem. They were intended, per Star Wars The Clones Wars, among other sources to be able to be the most powerful army due to them inheriting the skills of Jango Fett, the best bounty hunter in the galaxy; nevertheless, as time went on, they evidently began to be ineffective, and human recruits were added in.

  • I'm focusing on canon. Ageing is one thing - clones were replaced by clones during the war, so why not after too? What evidence do you have to substantiate on the costs? Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 1:36
  • If you look at Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Republic was nearly bankrupted due to the amount of funding they were doing for the clone army. IIrc, this (starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Republic_financial_reform_bill) was created to deregulate the banks in order to open more lines of credit since the Republic had exhausted its lines of credit; adiditionally, I believe it was also mentioned in the episodes that the Republic was bankrupt, nearly bankrupt, or was going through a major financial crisis. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 2:40

In one of the new canon books, Servants of the Empire, I believe, two reasons are given. The first is that the clones have a weakness towards biological warfare due to the fact that they have the same genes. Another reason, though, is that the Emperor thought them to be inferior beings.


I do not know why the First Order and/or the New Republic chose not to use clones in their armies, but I have a theory as to why Disney and the creative team did.

In reality, when it comes to any decision that Disney makes with respect to its film universes, be it animated, Marvel, or Star Wars, the simple answer is: money. Disney realized that it could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (not that you should try to catch flies with vinegar).

Kennedy, Abrams, Kasdan et. al. wanted to wash the bad taste of the prequels out of our mouths and have us remember the good feelings we had for the original trilogy. For that reason many things established in the prequels are simply ignored, removed or never mentioned - and we thank them for that (midichlorians, anyone?). And they went to the expanded universe for "inspiration" only. This approach kills two birds with one stone - it appeases the die-hard fans of the Prequels, an lures the disgruntled fans back to a galaxy far, far away. Maintaining and expanding the fan base is crucial to their financial success. I believe this is a key reason behind all the story decisions that were made in The Force Awakens.

In the star wars universe (Films Only), the new storm troopers are not only recruits, but it is also implied that they are better than clones. The clones from the original trilogy have a (unwarranted) reputation for being incompetent (OK, there was that incident where they lost the battle of Endor to some teddy bears...). Establishing the new storm troopers as "not-clones" they instantly become more of of a threat within the star wars universe - its no longer easy to defeat them. This improves the tone of the film. Every "disposal" trooper is now a valid adversary to the heroes.

  • 3
    The clones didn't fight at Endor.
    – user46509
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 14:13
  • Your focus on The Force Awakens seems to imply that you are saying the clones were still in use as Stormtroopers throughout episodes 4, 5, and 6. Is that correct?
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 18:17

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