Reading this article about The Top 10 Reasons Proving Boba Fett Killed Luke Skywalker's Aunt and Uncle, my nerd-rage started flaring as they claimed that Stormtroopers were still Fett-Clones 20 years after the rise of the Empire.

As I started thinking about it, I realized that everything I had read saying that Modern-Day Stormtroopers not being clones was from the EU - C Level books or games.

One of the quotes often cited for backing the idea that the Stormtroopers are clones comes from Princess Leia:

Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?

But through the movie, paying close attention, Stormtroopers are often shown to be slightly different heights. One even hits his head in the doorway while others walk through uninjured.

Is there any G Canon fully canon (non-Legends/Infinities) evidence to support the idea that Stormtroopers are, or are not still clones at the time of Episode IV?

  • 18
    "One of the quotes often cited for backing the idea that the Stormtroopers are clones comes from Princess Leia" - this is completely bogus. It can just as easily be explained by minimal height requirements for STs Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 14:39
  • 9
    Doesn't this answer it's own question? "But through the movie, paying close attention, Stormtroopers are often shown to be slightly different heights." If there are Stormtroopers of different heights, aren't they not clones?
    – user1027
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 19:08
  • 3
    Clones wouldn't have to be the same height. Part of development is genetic, the other is environmental. Better nutrition, avoiding childhood diseases could lead to different results.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 21:39
  • 3
    By the time of A New Hope, their marksmanship has severely deteriorated... Clearly the sign of twenty years of clone degeneration. /s
    – user33616
    Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 15:02
  • 7
    The height difference could be age related. The clones are shown as kids as well.
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 15:51

6 Answers 6


Clones were phased out of the Stormtrooper Corps and replaced with non-clone volunteers.

Star Wars: Rebels (out-of-universe confirmation)

Pablo Hidalgo has confirmed that the stormtroopers are not clones but are instead volunteers, as of the events in Star Wars Rebels (which occur 5 years before the events of Episode IV). The explanation given is that the production of clones has been phased out, and since the clones age at twice the rate of normal humans1 they are too old to serve as stormtroopers. They have been replaced with non-clone volunteers who are patriotic and loyal to the Empire. Video evidence can be found on Youtube (starting at about 2:56 into the video).

1The clones' age acceleration is not new, but it was not known (outside of Legends) whether production continued after the Clone Wars or not.

Star Wars: Rebels (in-universe confirmation)

One year before The Force Awakens' first teaser trailer was released, the Star Wars: Rebels' sixth episode, Breaking Ranks, main plotline featured Ezra Bridger infiltrating an Imperial Training Academy on Lothal. The fact that Ezra is not a clone and the cadets depicted are all humans of varying skin color and phenotypes demonstrates that the Empire had transitioned to the training of regular citizenry by this point in history.

Ezra Bridger infiltrates a class of Imperial Stormtrooper cadets

Tarkin (in-universe confirmation)

The canon novel Tarkin includes an incident where a group of stormtroopers are seen by Moff Tarkin without their helmets. The stormtroopers are led by a Kamino clone sergeant but all the other troopers are non-clone recruits. Here is the relevant quote (the 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.

p. 94

The novel takes place about 5 years after the end of the Clone Wars, so clone production evidently stopped at the end of the Clone Wars and within 5 years the clones were becoming too old to be useful as soldiers. Hence, they were replaced by non-clone volunteers.

  • 6
    To add to this fine answer. The newest rebels episodes also comment a bit on this and show that the former clone troopers have quite some negative oppinion on these "so called storm troopers" and see themselves as WAY superior to them
    – Thomas
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 21:53
  • 1
    Additionally, the new canon book "Battlefront: Twilight Company" also shows us 'human' stormtroopers (as opposed to clones)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:19
  • Also, had the Stormtroopers all been clones, Luke being "a little short for a stormtrooper" would have been a dead giveaway.
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 0:34
  • A few years later: in Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which takes place between The Clone Wars and Rebels, it's explicitly shown over several episodes that clones are being replaced by recruits.
    – Stef
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 8:48

The accent is evidence against. In the prequel trilogy, all of the clones speak with the same accent - Jango Fett's. By Episode IV they're speaking with different accents, and Lucas apparently (and I'm being cautious about saying this in case he ever comes across this site and starts getting ideas...) never saw fit to re-overdub their voices (which I should note he did with Boba Fett's, so it's obviously something he does see as being significant).

For slightly more conclusive evidence, in Episode IV we actually see Stormtroopers with their faces exposed! Where? Watch the "technological terror" scene again, and look at the door guards closely - although blurred, you can see that their complexion is different to Jango Fett's. How can I say that they're Stormtroopers? Easily, I just read the script:

Eight Imperial senators and generals sit around a black conference table. Imperial stormtroopers stand guard around the room. Commander Tagge, a young, slimy-looking general, is speaking.

(My emphasis)

Of course, we're talking G-Canon here so we don't care if the EU has another name for them; G-Canon says that they're Stormtroopers and G-Canon shows their faces exposed.

  • 16
    Watching Big Bang Theory last week, they were waiting for Sheldon so they could watch Star Wars. Howard said 'if you don't hurry up George Lucas'll have changed it again' :-) Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 14:45

There are a number of sources for the Stormtroopers becoming primarily recruits:

  • Star Wars: Battlefront II (Video Game: C-canon) tells how after the Battle of Kamino, clones were no longer viewed favorably. But it is notable that it says "cloned from a variety of templates", implying that clones were still heavily in use

The bounty hunter left after the battle was over, he said something about tracking down a smuggler on Tatooine. After the Kamino uprising, the Emperor decided that an army of genetically identical soldiers was too susceptible to corruption. Future troopers would be cloned from a variety of templates. Though the 501st itself remained pure, the rest of the Imperial Army gradually became more and more diverse. We never really got used to the new guys.

  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Video Game: C-canon) has some mentions of the difference between clones and recruits, as noted here. Most notably, from a databank entry:

Commander Cody, a first generation clone of Jango Fett and a veteran of the Clone Wars, found stormtrooper recruits to be absolutely intolerable. Due to the significant decrease in the Imperial Military's operational effectiveness and his own feelings of nostalgia over the Republic's "army of one man," Cody viewed enlisted troopers as incompetent idiots, all of whom he would have gladly sacrificed for just one real clone trooper.

  • Star Wars Insider 96 (?-canon) says that "By 0 BBY, roughly one-third of the stormtroopers were clones based on the Fett template, while recruits steadily became the majority within the Stormtrooper Corps."

  • Two sources (The Essential Guide to Warfare, and Galaxy At War, page 95) (?-canon) note that "Service in the Stormtrooper Corps was open to both Human men and women, but female stormtroopers were an extremely rare sight under Palpatine's reign and on average there were never more than three female stormtroopers within a whole legion." (Obviously a female could not have been a clone of Jango Fett)

  • The Essential Atlas (?-canon) tells how "Due to the loss of Kamino and its cloning facilities, as well as many other cloning centers throughout the galaxy, clone stormtroopers became a rare commodity that the Empire could no longer afford to sustain."

So there don't appear to be any G-canon sources that I've been able to find, but there are a number of varying EU sources, primarily video games and guides that provide backing for recruit troopers.


Some may still be, in fact, clones. But not all are. Han Solo tried to join into the Imperial rank-and-file as a pilot, but washed out. Seems to me that the clones were a necessary evil at the time for the REpublic/Empire during Episodes 2 and 3, but by the time Episode 4 comes around, it has been 19+ years since the start of the Empire. Undoubtedly, it would be cheaper to accept volunteers and conscripts as oppose to cloning hundreds of thousands test-tube babies. It would explain the attrocious aim, the lack of effective battle tactics, and the fact that they can be beaten by Muppets (sorry, Ewoks). If there are clones left, and they are still producing them, it would seem to me that they would be used in a shock trooper scenario (suchs a invasions, martial law situations, and other high-stress combat events) while the piddly dum-dums are regaled to guarding a door (badly), admitting that these were not the droids they were looking for, and running away from a solo armed smuggler.

Ignore the obvious moon-sized plot hole, and it all makes perfect sense up until the next retcon for Episode 7.

  • "Han Solo tried to join into the Imperial rank-and-file as a pilot, but washed out." This is c-canon only, if I'm not mistaken? Or is there a g-canon source for this? Also, regarding your criticisms regarding the performance of Stormtroopers during Episodes IV - VI, Jeff's answer here is definitely worth a read!
    – Beofett
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 18:06
  • This is nice reasoning but unfortunately Han's past isn't G-canon, is it?
    – user8719
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 18:09
  • I've read the novelizations and scripts for eps 4-6 and can't recall Han's past in the Imperial academy ever being mentioned. It's in the C canon books that that's explored. I'm also asking more specifically about the Stormtroopers since we can clearly see that the officers are not clones.
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 18:32
  • Solo, from 2018, showed Han in a non-stormtrooper Imperial infantry unit. I don't remember if he was trying for a pilot spot and failed or just took any role to get off planet.
    – Shawn
    Commented Jul 12 at 20:55

According to historian Beaumont Kin (latterly of the Lerct Historical Institute on Hosnian Prime), the cloning facilities were destroyed shortly after the Clone War was declared to be over.

It would not take long for the symbols of the Clone Wars and the Republic to be actively dismantled by the Empire. Imperial forces soon destroyed Tipoca City—the center for the Republic’s cloning facilities—on Kamino. Imperial involvement in this act was only later exposed by a senator, with the blame being ascribed to a rogue vice admiral named Edmon Rampart, though it is hard to believe he had truly gone rogue and was not acting under the orders of senior officials. Regardless of his motivations, Rampart’s actions helped bring about dramatic changes in the Empire’s military. The end of the war had also brought about an effective end to the long-term viability of the clone army.

Star Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire

The clones were fairly rapidly retired from service as unreliable, having been influenced by the Jedi Order and thus, potentially, having mixed loyalties. By the time the 'Stormtrooper Program' was enacted, this new army was entirely based on human volunteers.

Growing and training them took time and resources that could potentially be put to better use elsewhere. Furthermore, there were lingering concerns regarding the true loyalties of the clones. While many continued to serve in the armed forces of the Empire much as they had with the Republic, there were others who appeared changed by their time spent with the Jedi. The Empire had no interest in maintaining an army that may have been corrupted by exposure to the Order. They would shortly be phased out in favor of the new Stormtrooper Program.


If you played "star wars republic commando" and "Battlefront 2" it showed in commando, that the original and grunt clones were wiped out and eliminated as shown in the battlefront 2 campaign where you lead a squad against the kamino clone facilities because there was "Intel" that they started to clone for the purpose of assisting the jedi after order 66. As of republic commando where you play as the elite clones "commandos" it is hinted that some commandos which are still clones, dissipear, or join the empire to assist and train volunteers and mercenaries for the emperors new army. Was there still clone commandos in the empires armies later on? We will never know. At the beginning there still was though. Who else was more qualified to fast train volunteers to become storm troopers and pilots? lol

  • 1
    Republic Commando and Battlefront 2 are both C-Canon. I'm specifically asking for G-Canon information only.
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 14:10
  • 1
    i don't know what C-canon and G-canon mean. i'll look into that. Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 15:29
  • scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/910/…
    – The Fallen
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 22:52

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