Watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars in chronological order, one thing is clear early on — the clones are nothing like stormtroopers.
Just four episodes into Star Wars: The Clone Wars watch and a revelation about hit the clones hit me.
The clones and stormtroopers are similar. The clones all have the same faces while the stormtroopers are faceless soldiers. They follow orders, fighting in a war they have no skin in. There isn’t much that separates clones from stormtroopers, but what does separate them is so important.
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In the chronological watch of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we’re up to Season 3, Episode 1 ‘Clone Cadets.’
The clones are going through training before they can graduate to be soldiers the Republic’s army. They call each other by alphanumerical designations, which is exactly like stormtroopers. As they were yelling each other’s names that’s when it hit me — they were like the bucket heads.
Some of the clones pushed back and had their own names made up for themselves. Could you imagine stormtroopers trying to do that? The clones were allowed to have their own names and let their personalities shine through. You don’t see that with stormtroopers.
Unfortunately, we know how it ends, but I think it’s an important distinction when looking at the clones. The clones they were allowed to be individuals and got close to the Jedi. It was the right thing to do, but also was exploited later as a weakness by Palpatine when he executed Order 66.
This episode focuses solely on the clones, learning more about what it takes to become part of the army. We also meet Domino Squad for the first time, which includes Heavy, Fives, Cutup, Droidbait and Echo, which brings the series full circle with the current Season 7.
The clones need to pass a series of tests in order to graduate. They run through simulated battles in a holographic version of Capture the Flag. Through the simulations, this episode goes to show just how much the clones are different from even each other.
Domino Squad may look the same, but their minds are not the same. They don’t follow orders, they don’t anticipate each other’s moves and wind up leaving men behind. They’re definitely not stormtroopers in all the worst ways in this case.
However, after a good chat from 99, one of the clones that didn’t pass they physical test, but is a helper around the complex on Kamino, Heavy realizes what the squad needs to finally pass the test.
In live-action, this would be considered a bottleneck episode. Few characters and we stick to the same scenery because it’s cheap. However, bottleneck episodes have a good advantage because it can allow for some serious character development.
Clone Cadets is a very good episode even though it focuses on characters we haven’t really gotten to know yet. It starts to really show insight into the clones and gets us to start caring about them.
Next up: Season 3, Episode 3 ‘Supply Lines’
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is currently streaming on Disney+.