From Chapter Twenty of the book Star Wars Republic Commando: True Colors:

In the event of Jedi officers acting against the interests of the Republic, and after receiving specific orders verified as coming directly from the Supreme Commander (Chancellor), GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] commanders will remove those officers by lethal force, and command of the GAR will revert to the Supreme Commander (Chancellor) until a new command structure is established.

After execution of Order 66, Palpatine might had explanations how Jedi were acting against the interests of the Republic. But, how did he explain the Empire which wasn't a new command structure but a fully different non-republican system? By announcing about his new Empire, he did act against the interests of the Republic himself. Why did GAR accept it?

Despite Palpatine was commander of GAR (which was also as per laws of The Galactic Republic), clones weren't logic-less robots just to follow orders. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, clone troopers once ignored laws just to capture a dark Jedi.

Why didn't GAR overthrow Palpatine after knowing the Republic was at risk?


10 Answers 10


Lama Su (in Attack of the Clones) makes it clear that the clones are designed and bred to act on their orders with little recourse to the morality of their actions and certainly without considering the wider geopolitical ramifications.

LAMA SU: You'll find they are totally obedient, taking any order without question. We modified their genetic structure to make them less independent than the original host.

Although The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels cartoons plays with this a little (in order to humanize the clones for shows that are largely aimed at a younger audience, even to the point of having some of the main hero clones disobey their brainwashing), within the films they never display anything other than utter blind obedience, even when that order involves killing Jedi children or even their own commanders, as per Order 66, the Jedi Purge.

Jedi Purge

Clone Troopers

  • 6
    There is no such thing as "Film Canon" anymore. There is one Canon, the Disney Canon, and includes the elements of the Clone Wars and the Rebels cartoon series (Season 2 Spoilers) which clearly shows that at least three Clones do in fact go against their 'programming' and start to help with overthrowing the empire.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 15:19
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    @Mark - Yeah, I kinda spotted that one coming. Along with Ahsoka Tano not dying.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 15:23
  • 2
    @Mark three out of how many millions? That surely doesn’t invalidate the answer.
    – Holger
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 8:26
  • @Holger Well I was really hoping the author might take note and go watch the episodes in question as they actually lay out how the Clones were manipulated into executing order 66.
    – Mark
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 13:44
  • In my opinion this is the canonicity (order descending in authority): Commented May 26, 2021 at 18:20
  1. The Republic was widely held in disdain. Many people weren't too sad when it went; Palpatine promised Law and Order after years of bloody war. People have agreed to dictatorships for lesser reasons than being tired of galaxy-wide civil war.

  2. Most people don't care much for distant central government. They get taxed either way. They have to deal with corrupt local government either way. They want to work, raise families, and watch their entertainment. Like, who cares if we have Chancellor Palpatine or Emperor Palpatine?

    Note that even many Senators didn't put up any fuss. Mon Mothma and Bail Organa had to dig deep to find anyone willing to oppose Palpatine.

  3. As noted in many comments, the GAR (clone troopers) was composed of clones very explicitly bred for obedience. They aren't programmed to question whether their chain of command is legitimate or not based on government reorganizations.

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    1. is very similar to what happened to Rome when it changed from a Republic into an Empire. The general public welcomed the change, as they've seen it as becoming stronger and more efficient.
    – vsz
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 22:31
  • @vsz true. Or Russia once Putin took over Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 23:04
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    Putin might not be a good example, as he is not elected for life, and the official form of the government did not change. Maybe he's more charismatic than his predecessors, but it's still not a transition from a republic to an empire. (but if you're just meaning why the people can accept a leader which has more power than the previous one, it might fit)
    – vsz
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 9:56
  • 8
    @vsz - it changed from weak presidential republic to extremely strong centralized one. Google "Vertical of power" - the actual effective form of government changed significantly. As far as "for life", he's doing a good enough imitation to fool me so far. Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 12:19
  • 2
    @vsz - 2020 called. About that "Putin not elected for life" thing... :P Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 11:47

tl;dr: The clone troopers did not overthrow Palpatine because they did not think he was acting against the interests of the Republic and they were not given orders to do so.

There are two meaning of the word "republic". For clarity, I'm going to use capital-R Republic to refer to the alliance of thousands of planets in the galaxy, and lower-case-r republic to refer to the system of government.

The clone troopers were loyal to the Republic, but not the republican form of government. When the name and form of government changed, it was still the same alliance of planets, and the clone troopers remained loyal to it. If the clone troopers did have an opinion on the change, I would guess that they would be in favor of it, as many others in the galaxy were (liberty dies with thunderous applause). The GAR system of operation was authoritarian, as all militaries are, and it would have seemed perfectly natural to them for civilian government to be the same, as that was all they had known.

Even if the clones did feel that Palpatine was acting against the interests of the Republic, they would probably not have removed him from office. They removed the Jedi only because they were ordered to by the Supreme Chancellor. If the Jedi had acted against the interests of the Republic, but Palpatine had not ordered their removal, they would not have been killed. Removal of the Chancellor would have required similar orders. Order 65, also given in True Colors, states:

In the event of either (i) a majority in the Senate declaring the Supreme Commander (Chancellor) to be unfit to issue orders, or (ii) the Security Council declaring him to be unfit to issue orders, and an authenticated order being received by the GAR, commanders shall be authorized to detain the Supreme Commander, with lethal force if necessary, and command of the GAR shall fall to the acting Chancellor until a successor is appointed or alternative authority identified as outlined in Section 6 (iv).

By this wording, the clones have no decision to make involving the Supreme Chancellor. He is to be removed if and only if the Senate or the Security Council gave the order. Obviously, no such order was given.

A final note on the phrase "new command structure". This is referring to the military chain of command, not the civilian government. Many of the Jedi served as generals or other commanders in the GAR, and they would need to be replaced. Whether the government is a republic or empire has nothing to do with it.

  • Nice one, but any citation for distinction between capital-R Republic and the system?
    – user931
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 7:57
  • @SachinShekhar No, just logical conjecture. I suppose it's possible "Republic" was intended to mean both the alliance and its form of government, but that seems doubtful to me. The clones were created to defend their nation from outside threats, not get involved with internal governmental affairs. Besides, Palpatine almost certainly had indirect influence on the writing of Order 66, and he would not have wanted the clones loyal the the republic form of government.
    – Tomari7
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 8:23
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    Another reason that I think Order 66 means Republic only is the utter lack of discussion of the republic system among the clone troopers. They speak quite frequently of defending the Republic, but I cannot think of a single instance where they discuss defending republicanism, or its associated ideals. My conclusion is that they have been taught what they are fighting for only on the most superficial of levels.
    – Tomari7
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 9:38
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    It's a common rhetorical move to distinguish between "big letter" and "little letter" as a way to distinguish between commitment to a specific state or party with a word in its name as a proper noun (big letter) and commitment to a political ideal (little letter). In any case, the clone troopers are soldiers, not constitutional lawyers. As far as they're concerned, the chain of command was never broken, and there was never any ambiguity about whose orders they were to obey.
    – bgvaughan
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 16:19

Palpatine's take-over is often referred to as a coup d'etat, but it actually wasn't an illegal act. Palpatine was the legally-constituted head-of-state of the Galactic Republic, and his self-coup - I forget the French term - was simply a consolidation of pre-existing powers under the Republican constitution. He also had the support of the majority of the Senate.

As you can see from this link, Palpatine actually possessed dictatorial powers prior to proclaiming himself Emperor; he was granted various emergency powers during the Clone Wars. There was no reason, from either a legal or a moral standpoint for the GAR to turn on Palpatine at this point. Ethically there may have been, but most high-ranking GAR officers were in favour of a more hierarchical structure of government, as illustrated by Captain Voss Parck in the short-story "Mist Encounter", where he expresses approval for Palpatine's coup. As such, Fleet officers like Parck, Commander Pellaeon or others are very unlikely to have possessed any qualms about working for the new Empire.

As for the stormtroopers, as others have already stated, they were bred for obedience. George Lucas has made no secret - nor done a very subtle job - of the allegories between Palpatine and Hitler. Much as the German Army was personally loyal to Hitler, actually swearing an oath to him, personally, rather than in his capacity as head-of-state, the GAR was personally loyal to Palpatine. The only difference was that where the Wehrmacht was loyal by choice and conditioning, the Stormtrooper corps was actually genetically programmed to be loyal to Palpatine.


According to recently launched Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Lost Missions (Unfinished Season 6), there was an inhibitor chip embedded inside clones' brains which was capable of making the clones follow orders of Palpatine & Count Dooku. The inhibitor chip belonged to Count Dooku and Lama Su agreed for this implant under a secret Protocol 66 which was a fail-safe against rogue Jedi.

This one kept GAR from overthrowing Palpatine.


Because they never had any reason or motivation to do so

Palpatine was the elected leader of the Republic and the senate showed full support for the change of republic to empire. In fact the galactic Senate was still an active part of the empire for almost two decades after Palpatine had become emperor. So Palpatine was emperor with wide support of the galactic senate, which were the chosen representatives of the galactic populace.

So Palpatine was acting in accord with the constitution and with indirect support of the whole Republic populace. Furthermore from an outside standpoint with the information at hand he was not even acting ethically wrong. Consolidating power to rescue a failed bureaucratic system was a right step to take.

If everyone in a democratic elects an emperor for lifetime and votes for dictatorial rights in his hands, do you want to rescue democracy against the will of the people? Even a regular army would not have had any reason to raise against Palpatine.

Of course Clone Troopers also head conditioning, genetic modification and an implanted inhibitor chip, which would make them more docile and prevent a rebellion against Palpatine, but that was only a fail-safe device and not necessary at first.


As we saw in the newest incarnation of the animated series: The Bad Batch, the reason is the inhibitor chip.

It made them into almost robots in regards to order 66. And it made it so, that the clones would look more kindly to ALL kinds of orders from above (as good soldiers follow orders) AND not only that. It also made them see the transition more faborably (although exactly why is not 100% explained only that it did). Even so much as almost throwing a party at the anouncement of the republic transiting into the empire (also look at the wordings: The republic isnt destroyed, it is TRANSFORMED into the empire, thus the imprinted commands for the clones are still active as the empire is essentially the republic thus...for their programming at least).


Also remember that it was said in Attack of the Clones that Sidious was in control of the Senate, and those Force users could manipulate weak minded peoples' feelings. It's clear the stronger willed people didn't support him (like Organa) but also knew they were outmaneuvered. All he needed was the majority not to stand up to him, and I am guessing they are also showing how people like to conform (see the Ash conformity experiments). If he was so powerful he would be able to manipulate the thoughts of many and not to be outcasts the others went along until he was powerful enough to dissolve the Senate as he did later.


Syfo Dias was an agent of Chancellor Palpatine (a Sith lord). Therefore, he would have made Order 66 a command to be totally obedient to Palpatine (regardless of what rank he held in the Republic). I suspect that somehow or other Syfo Dias got some kind of microchip embedded into each clone trooper (possibly with the assistance of Jango Fett) so that when the moment was right, every clone would respond unquestioningly to Palpatine's orders. Only a tiny number of clones were actually able to resist Order 66.

  • 2
    This doesn’t really answer the question.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 4:39
  • Have you seen The Clone Wars? It’s suggested there that they most certainly did have a micro chip, and Arc Trooper 5555 (Fives) found out and had his and a few others removed (allowing them to romp free in Rebels)
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 4:39
  • 1
    Syfo Dias wasn't involved in the creation of the clone army in any way. Only Palpatine and Dooku were involved. Watch The Clone Wars cartoons.
    – user931
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 5:40
  1. The clones were bred to follow any order given by superiors without question.
  2. They did not see any problem with this, as he promised peace after years of war.
  • 3
    Your point 1 is explicitly disproven by the question itself. Also as before, please edit in evidence to back this up.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 22:57

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