The clone troopers in the prequel trilogy were genetically engineered to fight the Clone Wars. This question establishes that each trooper was individual and some excelled at different things. The cloners boasted about how the troopers were immensely superior to droids due to their autonomy and individuality.

If a trooper decided that they didn't want to be a soldier any more and wanted to retire, could they? Were they slaves to the Republic or were they free to make their own choices?

  • 2
    Given the genetic manipulation used to modify their personalitys presumably they would never want to leave
    – user20310
    Jul 30, 2014 at 12:01
  • 3
    Very related: Are clones allowed to retire?
    – phantom42
    Jul 30, 2014 at 12:34
  • 1
    Helpful resource: the first arc of Season 6 deals heavily on the nature of the clones as property.
    – user1027
    Jul 30, 2014 at 15:17
  • They have the right to go where they're told and to die valiantly.
    – Valorum
    Jun 4, 2022 at 19:22

5 Answers 5


Not very many, unfortunately.

Freedom from Slavery / All are Born Free: False

The clones were "born" into a life where they were meant to serve whatever purpose they had been commissioned for - in this case, as soldiers. They were property of the Republic, bought for money from the Kaminoans. According to Star Wars: The Clone Wars: New Battlefront, they were considered the flesh and blood / mentally superior equivalent of battle droids, when it came to value of their lives. Of course, this is not how the Jedi who fought with the Clones thought of them, but the Senate's and the public's view of them was as living objects.

Freedom of Thought: False

Despite their greater individuality as compared to droids, the genetic tampering that had been part of their creation, did mean that most of them were born with severe limitations when it came to being able to exercise free will - even the more autonomous of the non-ARC troopers, such as Commander Cody, were unable to disobey Order 66, even when it meant trying to kill General Kenobi - someone he personally respected and was a friend of.

ETA: In addition to genetic tampering, the clones' lack of freedom to thought (especially as related to Order 66) was enhanced by Inhibitor Chips. Supposedly, meant to 'just' modify thought and behaviour by preventing clones from being overly independent and aggressive, the true purpose of these chips was to ensure unthinking obedience of Order 66.

As seen in the opening episodes Season 6 of The Clone Wars Tv-Series, a malfunctioning chip caused the clone 'Tup' to prematurely execute his Jedi General Tiplar; and he did not seem to remember his actions afterwards. This led the clone 'Fives' to discover the existence of the programmed order, but he was executed on framed charges before he could reveal his discovery to anyone else.

Freedom of Speech and Action: False

While we can't make any statements regarding the freedom of speech allowed to the Clones, we do know that at least during the course of the Clone Wars, retirement was not an 'official' option allowed to them, as mentioned in the question linked by Phantom42.

So, as per canon, they don't seem to have many choices, or rights.

  • 1
    Per the Order 66 comment - the order stated that the Jedi had done something that made them a threat to the Republic. It's not so hard to believe that they didn't question that, and not because of genetics
    – The Fallen
    Mar 2, 2015 at 0:25
  • 2
    @SSumner I beg to differ. A being with full mental freedom of thought would not fatally turn on a trusted commander in seconds due to a vague generic 'the organization your friend & commander belongs to is a threat to your country, execute immediately'. Adding more info regarding the series of orders that Order 66 was one of.
    – Shisa
    Mar 2, 2015 at 5:20
  • 2
    that edit makes it clearer & better. My point is the genetics alone would not make them that way. Outside Outside the chips, it was more a result of training than genetics - following orders being drilled into them
    – The Fallen
    Mar 2, 2015 at 10:16
  • I'd disagree with the first point as I just happened to watch the Umbara arc in Clone Wars recently (Season 4) and a major theme of that is the clone's assertions (and evidence in action) that they do have freedom of thought to make decisions based on what is best for them as living individuals as well as a larger group of compatriots. And - fwiw - Tups and Fives are major players in that arc.
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 3, 2016 at 22:52

To expand on the good answer given by @Shisa, the Clone Wars Season 2 episode 10 The Deserter shows that clones are not allowed to leave Republic service, although they do have the capability of choosing to do so.

Captain Rex: You're a deserter.
Cut Lawquane: Well, well... I like to think I'm merely exercising my freedom to choose: to choose not to kill for a living.
Captain Rex: That is not your choice to make. You swore an oath to the Republic. You have a duty.
Cut Lawquane: I have a duty. You're right. But to my family. Does that count, or do you still plan to turn me in?
Captain Rex: Do I have a choice?


their ability to choose is confirmed when Captain Rex ends up not reporting the deserter.
Suu: Captain Rex, are you going to turn in my husband?
Captain Rex: I'm sorry, Suu. It's my duty. But in my condition I probably won't remember any of this.

  • 1
    If Rex says "You swore an oath to the Republic", doesn't that suggest the oath was itself a choice, and that prior to swearing that oath a clone would have the freedom to reject joining the Army of the Republic (even if their genetics and their upbringing was such that everyone predictably chose to join)? If Lawquane was forced to swear the oath at gunpoint Rex's point wouldn't have much rhetorical force, and Lawquane probably would have responded by pointing out it wasn't really a choice.
    – Hypnosifl
    Mar 11, 2016 at 0:15
  • 1
    @Hypnosifl: There's a possibility of that in the technical sense. But in reality, there probably isn't much of a choice socially. We're talking about people who were grown and trained for their entire lives for a single purpose. When it comes time to take their oath to the Republic, they've literally spent their entire lives indoctrinated for this cause. Add to the fact that these oaths are likely taken within a large group of their peers, then social pressures factor into it as well. So, there's some mitigating circumstances that might impact how "free" they are to refuse taking the oath.
    – Ellesedil
    Mar 11, 2016 at 0:27

Legends answer: Clone troopers have no rights whatsoever, they are slaves.

"We have laws on how we treat sentient species. We have laws on how we treat animals and semi-sentient species. We even have laws protecting plants. But we have absolutely no laws whatsoever governing the welfare of clone troops-- human beings. They have no legal staus, no rights, no freedoms and no representation. Every one of you here who accepted this army without mumur should hang your head in shame. If that's the depths we as a Republic can sink to in name of democracy, it hardly surprises me that the CIS wants to break away. The end can never justify means like this."

--Senator Den Skeenah of Chandrila, addressing the Senate eighteen months after the Battle fo Geonosis, after setting up a charitable appeal to fund the only veterans' welfare facility in the Republic

Star Wars: Republic Commando: True Colors page 134, 20 BBY

The discovery of this army was very sudden, so it makes sense that they have not yet, at this time, created laws regarding the treatment of clones. This may have changed later in the clone wars, but at the time of the movie they had zero rights.


No, if a trooper did not want to serve then he had to keep serving. The only way that they had to get out of being a trooper was to sneak away or die.

  • 1
    Welcome to SFF:SE. Thanks for your input. Note that we appreciate answers backed up with examples. :-)
    – Praxis
    Mar 3, 2016 at 23:08

I think there will be factory settings to make clones live only for 10 years; after that they will be paralysed and their body will be recycled for a new "product". So their lifetime is limited, like your pets: not a human but a pet that can speak and work for you; not a slave, just a "hightech humanoid pet".

  • And your sources for this are...? Jun 4, 2022 at 22:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.