The Separatists were under control of Count Dooku, who was under Sidious' control, who was essentially running the entire Clone War and using it as an excuse to take over the Republic and turn it into an empire. So when the Clone War is over and Sidious is in control of everything, he could easily obtain the battle droids the Separatists used without much trouble and a minimum of expense.

While I can understand why one would not want a 100% droid army, it would make sense to use droids when possible, since they don't need food (just plug 'em in), parts are interchangeable, and they're even more disposable than clonetroopers are.

So why doesn't the Empire use them whenever possible instead of stormtroopers? Is there an in-universe reason why the Deathstar isn't carrying clone troops or why a backwater world like Tatooine isn't left to mostly droid troopers instead of human stormtroopers?

Note that I'm talking in-universe, but since Lucas had supposedly mapped out the prequel trilogy before finishing writing Episode IV, he still could have used humans in droid costumes if he felt he could do so realistically (like with C-3P0) instead of using stormtrooper uniforms. In other words, if Lucas was already thinking of such widespread droid usage in the early stages, he could have used that in Episode IV.

  • I'm sure ILM said, no we cannot do that (lack of available technology is actually one of the reasons he skipped to IV).
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 1:26
  • Actually the Empire did experiment with various droid models, I recall them being quite a headache in 'StarWars: The Force Unleashed': starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Purge_trooper Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 14:34
  • 2
    Aside from the fact that the Empire experimented with a lot of combat droid models, it's all Public Relations. The great Empire has won! The evil Separatists are defeated! Watch how their armies are turned to scrap heap by our brave men and women of the Imperial Navy!
    – Petersaber
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 23:23

8 Answers 8


The Senate banned them.

According to the Rogue One Ultimate Guide,

the Senate rolled out a mandate prohibiting the creation of battle droids

This was done due to negative feeling towards battle droids following the Clone Wars. It goes on to say that a loophole was used to create the KX-series "Security" Droids, as seen in Rogue One. The same is probably true of the Imperial "sentry" droids seen in Rebels.

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According to Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, this didn't stop the Empire from occasionally utilizing battle droids.

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[Emphasis theirs']

Thrawn uses outlawed droid technology... a terrifying murder bot.

Various other Imperial battle droids also show up in Legends, such as the dark troopers, Carbonite and Incinerator war droids and Orbot Droids.

  • 1
    While this answers the immediate question, I find it unsatisfactory. For one, it does not explain why the Senate banned battle droids (was it to prevent rebels from building a force that could oppose the Empire?) only that they did. Furthermore, Palpatine controls the Senate so if Palpatine really wanted the Empire to be able to use battle droids no Senate mandate would stand in his way.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 16:54
  • @Null I've updated the answer with some additional information, but unfortunately, I don't believe any canon texts will 100% satisfy you.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 23:14
  • I appreciate the update but I'm surprised there is no indication in canon why the Imperial Senate (i.e. Palpatine) banned battle droids and why the Empire did not use battle droids. I do think one can extrapolate from known events in Star Wars to give some reasons why the Empire would prefer humans to droids as soldiers. If I get a chance I'll write up an answer.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 13:42
  • @null The visual dictionary says it was due to dislike of battle droids following the Clone Wars.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 15:30
  • I'm pretty sure most of the galaxy "disliked" the Death Star and a lot of other Imperial military but that didn't stop the Empire. For the record, I haven't downvoted this nor am I criticizing your effort. I'm simply unsatisfied with the canon information regarding this question.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 15:39

Droids lack certain qualities that most humans (even clones) possess: grasping the subtleties of situations, thinking on their feet and adapting. I believe the Kaminoans touted this to Obi-Wan when they gave him a tour of the cloning facility.

There are droids with advanced faculties, but they are likely to be expensive models -- not ones that you can mass produce in the millions and deploy into battle fields. The battle on Naboo was a good example of how poorly droid soldiers fare against human ones.

Although why nobody bothered to built a battle droid with an R2 unit's brain is beyond me. That's one droid I'd not want to meddle with. There is, however, an extended universe example of a protocol droid being converted to an assassin.

From Star Wars Wikia on Droids:

Despite these advantages, however, combat droids suffered from several drawbacks. Most importantly, in order to create total obedience and foil any chance of rebellion, droid units were often crippled with extremely sub-par artificial intelligence.

  • 12
    I don't know. Just collect a bunch of astromech droids that haven't had a memory wipe in a long time. Imagine having an army of R2-D2s coming at you? Alternatively, gather an army of protocol droids and bore the enemy to death.
    – Xantec
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 12:43
  • 3
    "The Clone Wars" animated show that is on TV has a ton of examples of clones doing exactly what this answer refers to nearly every time they encounter droids. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 18:04
  • 3
    Should that be 'humanoid' soldiers at the battle on Naboo, seeing as they were fighting against Gungans?
    – Anthony
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 2:31

I seem to recall (and admittedly, I read this in the 90's, so that makes it a dubious source) that the emperor was able to provide some cohesion to the storm-troupers by using the force — and this was so noticeable that there was commentary about sudden disorganization and chaos about the time of the Emperor's death. This would not have been possible with droids, but using regular humans would have been cost prohibitive. Clones seem like the obvious solution.

  • 7
    This may be a reference to part of the Thrawn series by Timothy Zahn that posits that having a single Force wielding leader in charge of people makes them all much more effective.
    – geoffc
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 14:02
  • Quite probably. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 15:33
  • @geoffc Possibly, but I also recall a reference to the Emperor (explicitly, not just any force-wielder) doing this.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 16:38
  • 2
    This was probably a form of Battle Meditation, however I'm not sure if it's ever stated in the EU whether Palpatine possesed that particular skill.
    – Monty129
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 20:22
  • 4
    @Monty129 It's implied in the Thrawn books that after the Emperor was killed by Vader, the local Imperial forces essentially went to pieces, thereby enabling them to be routed in space by a smaller fleet and on Endor by a gang of marauding teddy bears... Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 16:53

Well, the Empire wasn't really in any major wars. The Rebellion was mostly backwater, and small scale, until after the first Death Star. When you already have an army of mixed Clone and Storm Troopers why start a whole new infrastructure for droids? Most Stormtroopers functioned day to day as the international police force. You don't want a robot with the limited ability to reason or to consider the situation in that role (Also one that would require an expensive robo-brain)


The expanded universe has established that the Empire adhered to a policy called "Human High Culture" which believed that humans were superior, and the Empire actively discriminated on that policy. On assumes that as a reasonable extension of this speciesist discrimination that the Empire believed that human (by the time of A New Hope) troopers would be superior to droids.


Darth Vader and Lord Sidious were afraid of Count Dooku using the droids to continue his war against the Empire, therefore he had Anakin kill him off and then go on to kill off all of the Separatist leaders.

Also don't forget that the Empire still is operated by the Senate of Coruscant, which is made up of survivors of the clone wars. Therefore they probably would not want to use the same things they fought against as their allies.

As well as the people of the galaxy... Just because Emperor Palpatine became Lord Sidious doesn't mean he doesn't have to work for votes to stay in power.

  • Actually, shortly after Lord Sidious became Emperor Palpatine, he disolved the Galactic Senate during A New Hope. "The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away forever." - Grand Moff Tarkin So... yeah, he really doesn't have to work for votes to stay in power, and could pretty much do anything he wanted.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 16:05
  • @Ellesedil, but ANH is not exactly "shortly after" Palpatine turning the Republic into the first galactic empire - it's almost twenty years. (Not saying that he'd care too much about votes though.)
    – Ghanima
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 22:28
  • 2
    Wasn't Dooku killed by Anakin before Anakin became Darth Vader?
    – Dronz
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 16:08

I can't provide sources, but this is more of an opinion.

Firstly, if the Emperor were to maintain complete control after the crisis was averted, he would need a common enemy for all of the (Old) republic to get behind. This would be the Droids; even with his special powers and knowledge of the dark side the emperor couldn't force an entire galaxy to follow him despite the fact he's using the droids they elected him to destroy to control them.

Secondly is a complete theory, but given the humano-centric nature of the Empire, with a few very rare exceptions, notice that most of the droid-manufacturers are not human, the only exception (correct me if I'm wrong) being Dooku, who was the emperor's apprentice anyway; perhaps he favoured the clones as being a way of establishing human dominance unquestionably (despite the clones being made by non-humans, no one knew this), when the droids would've represented an alien power. You know, common enemy and suchlike. Having a vague knowledge of the species Sith, and the tension between the Sith and humans who learn the Dark Side, this would hold a personal goal for the emperor: proving that the humans are dominant, that he is not inferior to the "true Sith" in any way, for he created an empire of humans, made by humans.

Warning: this part of my argument is a stray... I'm just babbling now.

In a way, doesn't it seem peculiar that in the original three aliens are in the rebellion, whereas the empire is all human, yet in the second trilogy of prequels, both the senate has a high rate of alien life, and the separatists. It seems to me that I get a mixture of signals from this, firstly that the Emperor has tried to focus all the aliens of considerable power to the Separatist movement for extermination, so that when he takes utter control he can get rid of those less powerful but still with influence via the dissolution of the senate, and have an all-human regime without anybody catching on.

Secondly, it makes me think that the separatists were meant to be all-alien, and the desperate shots of aliens in the senate were trying to emphasize equality of an entire galaxy before the Empire was formed, while hoping not to take away from the idea that the separatists were "THE ALIENS!" XD, okay my brain hurts.


In episode three, all the separatists were killed, so that means all the factories probably shut down, since no more separatists were alive.

Technically, stormtroopers are not clones. The clone factory stopped producing since they ran out of DNA from Jango. So storm troopers are just volunteers who serve the Empire. And that is why they have horrible accuracy.

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