“You fought in the Clone Wars?” When Luke Skywalker asked this question back in A New Hope, the imagination of the Star Wars fandom ran wild at its implication. This exact moment made the clones a part of the larger lore of the galaxy far, far away. The idea of clones would persist throughout the various media and iterations of the Star Wars galaxy from books, to comics, to eventually the prequel movies.
During the early drafts of The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas considered making Lando a clone. According to the lore at the time, the clones were considered the enemy of the Clone Wars, hence why Lando was not to be trusted by the main heroes. Of course this plot line was dropped, and there was only one charming man named Lando. In the original trilogy, the clones remained a part of the history of the universe, and nothing more. However, after Lucas decided to enter his first retirement phase, the creative minds behind the Expanded Universe decided to expand on the idea of clones.
Clones were a big part of Star Wars lore in the 1990s. In 1991, Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire featured a character by the name of Joruus C’baoth. This character was not just a Dark Jedi but also a mad clone. Grand Admiral Thrawn would make use of his battle meditation abilities, and put him in charge of the cloning facilities on a world called Wayland. The army of clones created here would supplement the dwindling Imperial forces. The last novel of Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy would showcase another clone named Luuke Skywalker. In the first Dark Horse comics, Palpatine made a return in a clone body, a plot point that would reappear later on. He had used the mysterious Force power of essence transfer to channel his soul and personality into a new body. Later Expanded Universe material would tell of Luke and his future wife Mara Jade's discovery of a clone of Thrawn in a secret fortress just waiting to be activated. There would be an increased interest in clones when the prequel trilogy started, and showcased the Clone Wars.
Attack of the Clones was the first actual appearance of the clones onscreen. The film showed the formation of the clone army, made from the template of the infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett. Dozens of books, videogames, and other Star Wars media would follow, depicting the Clone Wars, and the events surrounding it. The clones would be in the spotlight all the way to The Clone Wars television series in 2008. However, this was not the end of the clone madness in Star Wars.
When The Force Unleashed video game came out in 2008, it gained popularity among fans and critics alike. It was so successful that a sequel was released a few years later. The only problem was that the main character of the show Starkiller had died in the first game. So in the sequel, the player would be controlling his clone instead. Again we see Star Wars' fascination with clones, using them once again as a plot point in many stories. The 2009 handheld game Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron revolved around Force sensitive clone troopers X1 and X2. They were two brothers who went down separate paths. One would follow the Light Side, while the other would turn to the Dark Side.
So far, the Disney Era has focused on clones in only two instances. Obviously, we had the Bad Batch, which told the story of the defective clone troopers making up Clone Force 99. The Rise of Skywalker revisited the concept of a Palpatine clone when he made a return in a clone body on Exegol. There were mentions of cloning in The Mandalorian, although it was not clear as to what direction the series would go with the idea.
As one can see, cloning has always been part of the DNA of the galaxy far, far away, and will continue to be probably for many years to come.
Written By Joel Davis
Source: Digital Spy
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