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So in the Star Wars prequels the Kaminoans make a clone army using the DNA of only Jango Fett for the Republic rather than using a few different people as templates for different roles. I can see a lot of problems with this;

  • Lack of role specialisation: The heavy weapons expert, pilot and scout all have the exact same physiology.
  • No safeguards: If something had gone wrong with the Jango batch they would have had no army whatsoever.
  • Environmental considerations: Some environments will be unsuitable for specific physiologies (i.e. high gravity, non-oxygen atmospheres, etc).
  • Vulnerabilities: The C.I.S only need to figure out how to kill the one guy. If Jango was allergic to say mango all of a sudden the C.I.S. just start growing mangos everywhere (okay that example was pants).

Why didn't the Kaminoans use multiple templates for the Clone Army? Were there major problems with such an approach, or did they find ways around the problems I've mentioned? Legends or canon would be fine.

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    We don't know what a real clone army would look like, this could be a plot hole. But Its probably cheaper to use one clone than have to edit and train variations. Though the Kimonans seems like they are rich af, so it seems like the republic could afford it. – Mark Rogers May 6 '18 at 15:57
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    In Legends there was also a book where the Imperials (I think) bio-engineered a deadly toxin specific to Boba Fett's (so therefore also Jango Fett's) DNA and released it into the atmosphere across the entire planet of Mandalore, preventing him from ever returning to his homeworld. In a sense, that's one vulnerability like you mention with your mangoes example. – TylerH May 7 '18 at 3:54
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    LOL that mango thing is hilariously nonsensical and how is it pants WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY PANTS ANYWAYS :/ – Darth Vader May 7 '18 at 15:45
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    "Pants" does in fact mean "hilariously nonsensical", more or less. See def 3 at link. – Ross Presser May 7 '18 at 17:00
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    The Kaminoans are capable of manipulating a clone to grow from infant to adult in only a few years. One would think they are capable of manipulating the physical characteristics of their clones in other ways as well. – Arthur May 8 '18 at 12:01
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As far as specialization, there's a school of military thought that says role specialization is bad, or at least suboptimal, and that interchangeability is good. If your tank driver, your infantryman, and your pilot are all held to equal physical standards and given equal training, then you can have your pilots shoot people or your tank driver fly a gunship if the need arises. Normally that's not entirely feasible because of different body types, limits on how long you can spend training someone, etc. but those limitations don't apply here. (There's an example of this in action in Shatterpoint, where Mace Windu calls in a clone force of mobile infantry that also ends up operating a major spaceport and acting as pilots. Normally these would be three very different groups of soldiers.)

As far as safeguards, there's no reason to assume they would be in trouble if a particular clone didn't work out. They mention some modifications are made of the template (but not Boba in particular; they mention this specifically). Presumably the Kaminoans would follow normal industrial procedures such as making prototypes to ensure the viability of their final genome, and keeping adequate backups of all the work they were doing in case of any problems. (They also might not have, of course, but that would be a problem entirely separate from using just the one template.) This is also a reason to use just one template: more templates means more time and money spent on preproduction in the form of tinkering with genomes and trying out prototypes, and it means more complications with quality assurance later on.

Regarding environmental constraints, it's not likely that they're going to see a major improvement without finding templates of a totally different species. It comes down to whether the clones are going to be expected to fight in hostile environments often enough, and whether they're hampered enough by environment suits or other protective gear, that it's worth the inevitable cost of adding more templates.

Regarding vulnerabilities, I have to assume some of the modification done to the template was to remove any clear genetic defects that would hamper them. That doesn't mean they'll turn out perfect in every case, of course, but any non-genetic problems would presumably crop up at the same rate whether there was 1 or 10 or 1000 templates.

Finally, it might be worth pointing out that this was supposed to be a secret. Each person who gets made into a template is a person who now knows about (or can deduce) the existence of the Grand Army.

So in short: there are distinct advantages to using one template in terms of cost, production time, interchangeability of clone roles, and secrecy, and the disadvantages you gave could largely be worked around with some genetics and ordinary mass-production procedures.

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    "Each person who gets made into a template is a person who now knows about (or can deduce) the existence of the Grand Army" - oh, come now. Surely we can think of ways to prevent the sources for the clones from making any such deductions. :-) – Bob Jarvis May 7 '18 at 3:26
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    Re: specialization, see: "Every Marine is a rifleman." – tonysdg May 7 '18 at 3:48
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    I'd go even further and state that this is the reason why Jango Fett was chosen: his record as a bounty hunter shows an exceedingly high level of aptitude for all of the things all these types of soldiers would be required to do. All the Kaminoans had to do was give the clones the training to go with the aptitude. Boba's 'unmodified' status means that he is free from the modifications that were made to the clones to make them obey orders without question, which is where the original 'falls short' as a lone-wolf bounty hunter. – Cronax May 7 '18 at 8:51
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    And don't forget the one-size-fits-all gear are cheaper to produce – jean May 7 '18 at 12:08
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    Regarding Vulnerabilities: The Republic Commando book "Hard Contact" specifically dealt with a Genetic researcher trying to isolate something that would wipe out Clone Troopers by targeting their specific DNA make up. – Mark May 7 '18 at 13:12
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There are multiple references to Jango's clones being quite literally perfect. Fast, smart, capable and multi-talented beyond the capabilities of any other sample taken.

"Bred to be perfect soldiers"

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Clone Cadets / ARC Troopers

Jango himself is stated to possess "perfect" genetics.

'How to climb the career ladder' by Jango Fett:

Sell your perfect genetic code to the Kaminoans so it can be cloned into an almighty army of identical troopers.

Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded

When you've got perfect, why would you want anything else?


Within the Legends game Star Wars: Bounty Hunter we learn why Dooku is so damned impressed with Jango. He held a competition to find the most deadly bounty hunter, placing a bounty on a rogue Jedi named Komari Vosa. Jango was the only one able to defeat Vosa, indicating that an army of Jangos would have a chance (with difficulty, admittedly) of defeating a Jedi army, the ultimate purpose of the clone soldiers.

Dooku: I'm impressed. No ordinary man can defeat one trained in the Jedi arts, especially one trained by me. Komari Vosa was once an excellent pupil, if a bit....unstable.

...

Jango: You want to clone me?

Dooku: Imagine, An army of clones, the training of which you will oversee. They will be modified to grow at twice the rate of ordinary men, and be programmed for absolute loyalty. They will be magnificent, perfect warriors...like you.

Transcript: Star Wars - Bounty Hunter

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    Maybe they shoulda cloned Ewoks instead – Gaius May 6 '18 at 20:39
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    Well if the perfect soldiers are defeated by a horde of stone-age teddybears maybe they weren’t that good to start with, just saying what we’re all thinking... – Gaius May 6 '18 at 20:42
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    @Gaius - Those weren't clone troopers, those were conscripted stormtroopers. – Valorum May 6 '18 at 20:50
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    @Gaius - in any battle between technologically superior, battle-armor wearing, blaster carrying clones and cuddly stone-age teddybears with the power of narrative causality on their side, the teddybears win EVERY FREAKIN' TIME!!! :-) – Bob Jarvis May 7 '18 at 3:33
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    In any real combat situation, the Empire would have pulled back, dropped a tac-nuke or the equivalent, blasted the teddybears to a quark-fog, and sent in a clean-up crew to evaluate the damage. Picture... "Lord Vadar, the clean-up crew has reported back". "Yes...(inhale-exhale)...and..?" "Errrrm...they report that two types of butterfly, a freshwater darter, and a species of toad are now endangered...(gnnnnrkkk!!!)" "It seems you are as well, Commander". "(grrrrrtch!!! <thud>)" "I'm sorry, I couldn't make that out..? Well, no matter. Ready my personal fighter...I'm going down there". – Bob Jarvis May 7 '18 at 11:20
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I believe you are missing the point(lessness) of the Clone Wars. Spoilers obviously.

The bare minimum you need for a war is two sides who are trying to beat the other. The Clone Wars, therefore, are not a war. There is only one side.

The risks associated with an army of clones being susceptible to mangos (or biological warfare), or being less versatile, are not risks that would have concerned Palpatine as there is no-one likely to take advantage of such a weakness.

Palpatine's Separatist army is unlikely to think of a clever way to eliminate Palpatine's Clone army using some genetic weakness of the Clones.

Similarly, Palpatine's clone army is unlikely to invent a virus that deactivates all the droids.

The reason for this is that Palpatine didn't want either of his armies to beat the other. He needed there to be war, so that he could be given emergency powers by the Senate.

The plot of the first three movies is not about a war between clones and droids. It was a PR exercise orchestrated by Palpatine.

Palpatine didn't have any wars to fight, so he didn't really care if his troops had a weakness.

  • I'm confused as to how this in any way answers any part of the question. – Paul May 8 '18 at 12:24
  • @paul - the question is ‘why was only one person used as the template for the clones (considering the weaknesses this introduces)’? The answer is that palpatine didn’t care about weaknesses in the clone army because there was no one to exploit those weaknesses. The clone army didn’t have to be effective at fighting in order to achieve its purpose. – Scott May 8 '18 at 12:27
  • Ok,that wasn't clear to me from what you wrote. – Paul May 8 '18 at 12:29
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    Ok, thanks. I’ve made an edit that hopefully makes it more clear – Scott May 8 '18 at 12:31
  • Perfect answer. You might mention that in addition to emergency powers the other purpose of the clones was to eliminate the Jedi. – Steve V. May 8 '18 at 14:42
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If I was going to clone a secret army why would I chance using many different people and therefore risk exposing it by having to hope they keep quiet, easier to have just one person (living on the planet) also just one payment to make.

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