In the Star Wars universe, the concept of clones is not new. Obi-wan, when he learns of them, is somewhat versed in the basics of cloning and able to ask relevant, on-topic questions. This suggests that clones are not unheard of, and some of the techniques of cloning are taught - on a theoretical level - as part of the basic education of Jedi (and possibly regular Republic citizens as well).

During the war (according to the EU) Spaari cylinders were used to grow clones in around 1 year - these are highly illegal post-Clone War, and were apparently rare during it.

All of this speaks to cloning being relatively easy, yet the galaxy seems to lack some fairly clear off-shoots of this technology, such as replacement limbs/organs. In the real world, such things are potentially viable within the next several decades, despite the fact that our cloning technology is ages behind that which the Kaminoans demonstrate.

This makes me believe that cloning is more a specialist tool, an area which doesn't get much study or that wasn't seen as viable for whatever reason.

Is it that difficult for them to make clones? Or did the entire galaxy just turn a blind eye on the potential medical benefits?

  • 1
    Well, you see, when a mommy haploid and a daddy haploid love each other very very much...
    – Broklynite
    Sep 13, 2018 at 11:03
  • I recall a reference in one of the X-Wing books to cloning being used in growing animals for food but it's only a passing mention.
    – IG_42
    Oct 12, 2018 at 19:38

4 Answers 4


In Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, set after Episode 6, the Empire finds some Spaarti cylinders and makes some more clones. It seems the technology on how to construct the Spaarti cylinders has been "lost", as the destruction of the newly found cylinders stopped their cloning efforts.

Also, in Episode 2, Dexter Jettster (the fat alien guy at the diner) says that Kaminoans are "cloners, damn good ones". That implies that there are cloners who are not as good. Maybe other cloned humans/aliens are low quality, i.e. intelligence lower than droids. Also in Heir to the Empire, the cloned Dark Jedi Joruus C'baoth was insane, possibly as a result of the cloning process. Maybe this makes it not cost-effective to clone sentients compared with manufacturing droids.

  • In addition it's revealed in the same Zahn series that in order for the clones to be viable, they can't be allowed to touch the force in any way during the cloning and growing process. Dec 8, 2011 at 19:54

One could theorize that they were applying a "slippery slope" mentality. They may theorize that it is a very small leap from cloning a hand--such as might be needed by Anakin or Luke--to cloning an entire being. The technology would be the same. Only the scale would be different. Therefore, as bureaucrats the universe over think the same way, one might safely assume that in order to ensure that a full clone is never created that they would outlaw all technology related to clones and cloning, no matter the medical repercussions.

It can be closely analogized to stem-cell research in the US in recent years. Many argued about the slippery slope and where does one draw the line. Therefore most, if not all, stem-cell research was banned entirely.

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    If it were simply forbidden by most governments, one would expect places like Cloud City, Hutt or Black Sun controlled places, or Mos Eisley to host a (small) number of illegal cloners who would offer such services for exorbitant prices.
    – Jeff
    Dec 5, 2011 at 14:40
  • 2
    Also, everyone seemed to be OK with the clones in the Clone Army, or at least we never saw dissension. This might imply that prior to the clone wars the stigma against cloning did not exist, or wasn't very strong.
    – Xantec
    Dec 5, 2011 at 15:58
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    @Xantec - I don't know that people in general were OK with the clone army. They knew nothing about its existence until they were already at war and in desperate need of an army. They would make use of whatever army they had available in such need, even if they didn't approve of how it came into existence. And there were those such as Bail Organa and Amidala who were at least somewhat vocal against any army.
    – BBlake
    Dec 6, 2011 at 13:36
  • @Jeff - Good point. But if it were expensive, then the Rebel Alliance wouldn't have the means to spend the money for its usage, which would support Luke not getting one. But I can't really see any theory that really explains why Anakin didn't get an organic hand replacement. Unless perhaps, as a Jedi and a "representative" of law he would be forbidden to get one if it were illegal in the Old Republic.
    – BBlake
    Dec 6, 2011 at 13:38

It's never explained in-Universe explicitly why cloning was not more widespread; but it was used by a variety of species.

From: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cloning

Notable races that made use of cloning technology include:

Kaminoans, Polis Massans, Khommites, Ithorians, Lurrians, Verpine, Columi, Yuuzhan Vong, Arkanian Microtechnologies

Moreover, the technology was widely known, as evidenced by a Telos Holocron quote from one of its gartekeepers, Darth Sidious:

"As practically everyone knows, cloning is the science of taking a cell from a living organism, duplicating the genetic code, and growing the cell into an exact duplicate of the cell donor." (Source: Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force)

  • Why the downvote? This is the only answer that actually references canon material instead of being raw speculation (erdiede's answer has info but it's not relevant to Anakin's timeframe) Dec 7, 2011 at 4:13
  • Because it blatantly ignores canon explanations. In short, it's dead wrong.
    – aramis
    Dec 7, 2011 at 17:39

I get the impression from this wookieepedia entry on cloning madness that 1) cloning an entire body in less then a year can lead to madness in the clone and 2) possibility of physical deformities in the clone. While the cloning madness could be negated ysalamir, it is not stated if this resolves the issue with physical deformities.

My guess is that it is possible that cybernetic implants are an acceptable replacement that didn't require an extended wait for the new limb to be grown.

Further, the Wookieepedia link to Cybernetics yields this gem:

Cloning was expensive and, given the horrors of the Clone Wars, illegal on most planets after the era. Some limited regeneration of limbs was considered acceptable but there were medical dangers involved with a science that had, for obvious reasons, not seen much development in later decades after the Clone Wars. For the majority of galactic citizens, cybernetic replacements were the cheap, effective, legal, and safe solution to unfortunate and severe physical injuries.

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