How Did Clones Become Stormtroopers?

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Many fans have been long wondering how did the transition from clone troopers to stormtroopers exactly happen. Ever since Attack of the Clones‘ premiere in 2002, little material was given to provide specific answers. The transition from the Republic to the Empire has finally become a theme in currently airing The Bad Batch series. Its third episode, “Replacements”, offered the behind-the-scenes peek of the burgeoning Imperial system that we haven’t had before.

If there is one thing to say about The Bad Batch, it manages to casually expose a lot of worldbuilding details alongside following the main story. You can, but do not have to pay attention to them; and at the same time, it does not require any special effort to do so. For instance, it repeatedly explains the concept of “chain codes” – new personal ID issued by the Empire to keep track of its citizens. It is one symbolic example that illustrates the transition from the free Republic into a more tightly controlled Imperial system.

The Man Behind the Campaign: Admiral Rampart

Incidentally, the chain codes and the transition from clones to stormtroopers are being credited to the same man – Vice Admiral Rampart. He is a character originally introduced in The Bad Batch but the way he was presented makes it seem like he could appear in some other projects as well.

Rampart is showed as an innovator and social engineer of sorts. His personality is presented somewhat in contrast to the “traditional” Imperial officers we know, who are the stiff, grim military types. Rampart is all about efficiency but wrapped in a jovial, enthusiastic package. He makes it easy to understand why people didn’t straightaway dismiss the Empire as evil. With people like Rampart being the public face of the change, many citizens could buy into the rhetoric of progress and a better future with a more efficiently-working Galaxy.

Admiral Rampart (left) and Moff Tarkin in The Bad Batch

Volunteers Make More Loyal Soldiers

So what about the stormtroopers? In “Replacements”, Rampart presented Moff Tarkin with his idea of better new soldiers. This initiative was dubbed “Project War-Mantle”. The idea was that the clones, manufactured quickly in great numbers for the war, were now obsolete. Rampart believed that recruiting troopers among the Imperial citizens would result in their greater loyalty to the Empire. The clones would serve as drill instructors for the new recruits, making them into a force comparable to the Clone Army in its combat proficiency.

Rampart was lucky as his suggestion came just in the aftermath of Clone Force 99 disobeying their orders. Tarkin was willing to test whether the new recruits would be more reliable than the old clones. He sent Rampart’s first test squad on the mission Clone Force 99 had failed: to destroy a cell of Saw Gerrera’s rebels, including the execution of civilians among the rebels. One squad member disobeyed and was executed for insubordination, but the rest complied. This opened the door to Project War-Mantle to be considered as a viable path for the future of the Imperial military.

The first elite non-clone squad as presented in The Bad Batch episode “Replacements”

Project War-Mantle Unfolded

We do not yet know the details of the exact transition from clone troopers to stormtroopers, but we can fill in the blanks. In “Replacements”, Tarkin told Rampart that the time had not come to transition into the new troopers yet, but that it was something to explore in the future. We also know that Rampart planned to have special, elite forces trained – he probably was not originally thinking much of the average, cannon-fodder stormtroopers we have seen in the later period. One could guess that Tarkin later used Rampart’s idea to produce an army that was supposedly more loyal and less costly than the clones by training the “common” stormtroopers, while the elite envisioned in Project War Mantle was represented by Death Troopers and other special forces.

Sidenote: if you were paying attention and/or watched Rogue One very many times, you may have heard the name “War-Mantle” before. It is one of the names of Imperial military projects that are contained in the citadel on Scarif (alongside Project Stardust). Based on this, one can assume that the idea to train more and better stormtroopers had survived long into the time of the Rebellion.

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Rostislav Kurka
Rostislav is a Protestant theologian and a self-trained Sith, counting Jan Hus, Dorothee Sölle, Darth Revan and Darth Traya among his main influences. He hails from the hundred-towered city of Prague, where he had spent a large part of his life creating worlds and inspiring young generations to roleplay. His involvement in organising children's camps led him to accidentally writing a Lord of the Rings musical, which made him temporarily famous, and a Three Musketeer-Jedi fanfilm, which didn't. He has recently moved to the frozen waste of Finland, because that's it, the Rebels are there.