There's no "The Clone Wars" without the clone soldiers of the "Star Wars" franchise. In George Lucas's 2005 "Revenge of the Sith," the Republic clone soldiers play a major role in (mostly) eradicating the Jedi, their commanders, under the machinations of Darth Sidious. They once existed to answer the question, "Why are there barely any Jedi in Luke Skywalker's time?" Set before the events of "Revenge of the Sith," "The Clone Wars" cartoon series premiered in 2008 and set out to explore the clones' humanity.
Sharing the DNA template of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, the clones display identical profiles yet diverse personalities. From their artificial birth in the Kamino labs, the clones are engineered and trained to be efficient soldiers against the Republic's Separatist enemies. Naturally, this raises ethical and political problems. Note that clones are absent in the Republic's Coruscant chambers where politicians debate their fates. The political dialogue is less about their livelihoods and more about how the clones' continuous (forced-from-birth) conscription benefits the Republic. So this makes it all the more poignant when "The Clone Wars" and subsequent shows observe the clones' complex relationship with their conditioned loyalties — or lack thereof — to the Jedi and the Republic (and perhaps the Empir,e too). Played by Temuera Morrison in live-action or voiced by Dee Bradley Baker in animation (aside from a few noted exceptions), the clones remain valuable players in the "Star Wars" franchise. Across the movies, cartoons, and live-action shows, /Film ranks the best clones.
When writing "Revenge of the Sith," George Lucas probably never intended Commander Cody, the right-hand man of the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, to be so intriguing. Aside from Cody being the most prominent clone with dialogue in the live-action films, he has the unfortunate legacy of attempting to execute Kenobi. Among fans, Cody's actions inspire speculation about his motives. After such professional rapport with Kenobi, how could he execute Order 66 so easily?
When "The Clone Wars" Season 6 reveals that Darth Sidious arranged to brain-chip every hapless clone, it is easy to picture Cody resisting his programming. Did he intentionally miss Kenobi? How did Cody grapple with the guilt? Despite numerous opportunities to develop Cody in "The Clone Wars," he receives neither distinctive characterization nor development of his thought process. Although Cody lacks standout attributes or sprawling character arcs, he has a place on this list because he represents the rich possibilities of clone-centered storylines that existed before "The Clone Wars" cartoons. It's also telling that the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" show writers wrote Cody in earlier drafts to star alongside the titular Jedi. Exploring their post-Order 66 dynamic was just that irresistible. Alas, Cody didn't make it in the final product, but his appearance in "The Bad Batch" Season 2 trailer excited clone fans. Finally, the cartoon might provide Cody with much-deserved development because of his untapped story potential.
With a habit of snickering, Gregor lands on the lower part of this list because he possesses a jovial personality that's rarely seen in clones. It especially blossoms in Season 2 of "Rebels" in which he has aged into a jolly grandfather type who loves fishing for Joopa worms, using one of his friends as bait. Other than his mischievous sense of humor, Gregor proves capable of exploring his agency and morality within the military. In Season 1 of "The Bad Batch," Gregor holds importance as one of the few onscreen "reg" clones (next to Howzer), who proves that clones can break free from the Empire's influence.
Gregor also gets points for his hilarious contribution to "Star Wars" history. Why are stormtroopers generally terrible shots? Gregor delivers one of those implied answers to a long-running gag. When forced to train conscripted stormtroopers, Gregor avoided teaching them "everything" (his words), which implies that disgruntled clone instructors may have sabotaged the sharpshooting education of stormtroopers. Out of all the acts of clone resistance, Gregor commits the funniest one that makes the Empire look like a joke.
Jesse exists in "The Clone Wars" as more of a symbol than a person. Nevertheless, both his human and symbolic significance can't be understated. With the Republic cog symbols emblazoned on his head and helmet, Jesse represents an "everyman" clone. He's loyal to the Republic, his Jedi commanders, and his clone brothers. When Season 4 of "The Clone Wars" challenges his comfort zone, Jesse proves his capacity for independent thinking by disobeying a corrupt Jedi's orders to prevent the needless deaths of his brothers on Umbara.
This valor only underlines his horrific end in the "The Clone Wars" Season 7 series finale. The more "The Clone Wars" marches toward its ending, the more the war treats him like a disposable cog in a dying machine. He lived as a willful man, but he dies a complete war tool when his brain chip steals his free will. In the aftermath of his death, his cog-imprinted helmet rusts into an overarching symbol of the entire Clone Wars as a conflict fought by manipulated soldiers who never got a real shot at autonomy. While Jesse's subservience is not as complex as Dogma's or Crosshair's (see below), "The Clone Wars" draws a tragic symmetry between Jesse's willful loyalty and his eventual forced obedience. Neither of those saved Jesse's life or brought him lasting renown. "The Clone Wars" finale lingers on Jesse's faded helmet among other empty clone helmets to symbolize the incalculable loss of humanity and identity.
Wrecker operates as the muscle of Clone Force 99 (also known as the Bad Batch, referring to clones with mutations). "The Clone Wars" Season 7 introduced this explosive-loving brute as an amusing one-note guy with a mouth full of dim-witted comments. For that, Wrecker would have had a tough time making it to this top list. Luckily, his role in "The Bad Batch" is a saving grace that allows his inclusion in the low rankings. Here, he functions as less of a joke and more as a relatable guy trying to adapt to the times. He walks the fine line between being infantile and being capable of emotional maturity.
Although Wrecker is not the brightest of the Bad Batch, he displays emotional intelligence when he raises Omega, his younger clone sister. He's excited to have a playmate just as the responsibilities of being a caretaker mystify him. Despite initial fumbles with guardianship, Wrecker does his best to bring Omega emotional stability in a disintegrating galaxy. Perhaps because he has a childlike brain himself, Wrecker understands that kids deserve nice things like a nice room or popcorn, even during a time of galactic turmoil. If the other clones are cool drinking buddies, Wrecker is that mischievous uncle who sneaks you a snack or lets you stay up past bedtime.
Echo is an interesting soldier because he's searching for his voice. He undergoes a drastic physical transformation into a mechanical body, but that is less interesting than his inner battles. Echo begins "The Clone Wars" as a "reg" clone soldier with a habit of echoing orders, but the older he gets, the more he questions his place as a soldier. When the Separatists convert his body and brain into instruments of war, Echo is no longer the same when his brother Rex rescues him. Though he has difficulty expressing his identity crisis, Echo is more concerned with exploring new life options rather than returning to the "old times" with Rex.
Echo's role in "The Bad Batch" is limited but meaningful. As he explores a new community among the unorthodox Bad Batch, he does the most (next to Omega) in the group to question their survival and moral choices. For example, he openly protests the group's decision to stay out of the war. Whenever Echo has a chance to speak, he has the potential to ask difficult questions. Because of this, Echo deserves more development like the rest of the Bad Batch siblings. He's still fighting to have his voice heard.
Throughout "The Clone Wars," clone soldiers often formed a rapport with civilians lest their military presence provoked civilian grudges against them. The "Star Wars" television landscape barely explored the uncomfortable liminal space the clones occupy: being oppressed and marginalized while serving as enforcers of galactic oppression. Fortunately, "The Bad Batch" show addresses this with Howzer (and the more sinister Crosshair, his foil). Once a begrudging servant of the Empire, Howzer grows to understand what it means to be a good ally to oppressed civilians.
Howzer's two-episode arc in "The Bad Batch" is a fleeting yet meaningful one that bumps him up the list. At first, Howzer demonstrates a "good cop" attitude to his job. He spares a young local Twi'lek (Hera Syndulla) from the Empire's punishment, but after trying to work within the corrupt Empire system, he realizes that being a good cop type is not a positive thing. He understands that being a true ally to the oppressed means disrupting that system. So Howzer throws down his blaster and appeals to the conscience of his clone brothers to also throw down their weapons. Once and for all, he proves that clone soldiers are responsible for picking the right side.
From "The Star Wars Holiday Special" to "Return of the Jedi" and then onwards to various movies and media, Boba Fett exists as one thick history book in the galaxy. Indeed, the clone son of Jango Fett himself has made his name as a bounty hunter. Portrayed by Temuera Morrison (the original Jango Fett in "Attack of the Clones") in "The Mandalorian," Boba is a badass in battle, true to the character's inspired roots in Western films. His crushing of stormtrooper skulls in Season 2 of "The Mandalorian" has been a noted series highlight. Needless to say, Fett's legacy is complicated. The beskar-armored legend sits in the middle of this list because his own "The Book of Boba Fett" show blunts his edge by depicting him as a more ethical crime boss. It's an earnest attempt at complexity that comes off as inconsistency. At least, though, Morrison did his best to provide a gruff grace to Boba's decisions.
Also, don't write off the fascinating parts of his adolescence (portrayed by Daniel Logan), which depict his alienation in full force. During Boba's quest to avenge his slain father, he rejects any real brotherhood with fellow clone kids (even if he has enough of a conscience to avoid killing them). "The Clone Wars" does not condone young Boba's crimes but considers that Boba deserved better guidance.
Many clones on this list subvert their intended programming, but only a few are fascinating because of their conformity to Republic conditioning. As a tattletale, Dogma isn't likable, but he is worth understanding. Just as his name suggests, Dogma epitomizes the worst consequence of blind obedience in Season 4 of "The Clone Wars." All clones are instructed to be loyal to authority, but a mission on Umbara forces some clone soldiers to reckon with the concept of loyalty under the corrupt Jedi Pong Krell. However, Dogma is the sole clone who expresses full fidelity to Krell.
Dogma's crisis of loyalty — deciding whether he stands with his brothers or his superior's orders — represents the tenuous relationship between agency and conditioning. Dogma doesn't know how to unlearn his loyalty. When Krell tricks the clone soldiers into firing at each other, this crosses a line for Dogma. But when Dogma ends up executing Krell for the right reasons, he remains unsure of his actions. His ensuing anguish demonstrates that even the right decision for a clone soldier isn't always clear-cut. All Dogma could do was his best.
Premiering after "Rebels" and "The Mandalorian," "The Bad Batch" is not the first "Star Wars" series to feature a kid character adopted into a space family, so giving the Bad Batch a kid may seem repetitive. Still, the adolescent Omega turns out to be a fresh and welcome face. She ends up high on this list because her development contains multitudes. Omega's likability hinges on voice actress Michelle Ang, who performs Omega's profound reactions to galactic cruelty. In every hardship, whether she's confronting creatures or outwitting bounty hunters, you can feel Omega's world expanding as she acquires galactic wisdom at the price of her innocence. Her open heart and inquisitive nature are also counterpoints to the military hardiness of her Bad Batch brothers. Sometimes, she holds them accountable when they consider ignoring the distress calls of strangers.
While never explicitly stated, "The Bad Batch" doesn't ignore the implications of her status as one of the few known female clones. She plays with a clone doll that she describes as a "she." It's a nod to "Star Wars" marginalized fans adopting an often male-based character template and adapting it in their image to feel at home in the galaxy.
Always one step ahead of his estranged Bad Batch brothers, Crosshair proves to be one of the most formidable opponents in "Star Wars" television. Unlike Dogma, who repents for his extreme loyalty, Crosshair ignores every opportunity for redemption. Instead, Crosshair embraces his servitude wholeheartedly. Even when the Empire proves its evil, Crosshair clings tighter to the hierarchical powers that oppress his clone brothers and galactic civilians. Crosshair's pro-Empire allegiance has disturbing layers that include self-preservation, a repressed sense of inferiority, and a lust for superiority. Just when the Bad Batch and Omega hope they can blame his extremism solely on his brain chip, his willful pro-Empire declaration marks a devastating twist in "The Bad Batch."
That said, Crosshair can't step higher on the list because Season 1 of "The Bad Batch" prevents him from interacting with his heroic brothers for long periods. This leaves him underused, but any focus on Crosshair paints him as a tragic case study.
Cut Lawquane commits treason by choosing civilian life. Boba Fett inherited his surname, while Cut Lawquane married into his by choice. His Lawquane surname reflects his act of defiance: abandoning the Republic military to marry into a civilian family and live an ordinary life. As a result, Cut's rebellion signals a massive paradigm shift for the prominent clone character Rex in "The Clone Wars." When he encounters Cut, Rex is angered to discover a military deserter. However, when Rex gets to know Cut Lawquane, he finally perceives him as a loving stepfather and husband. By defying Republic law, Cut is a mirror for Rex and other clone soldiers to explore their autonomy. When Cut resurfaces in "The Bad Batch," he shelters outcast clones like Clone Force 99. For his defiance, Lawquane deserves a high place on this list.
Despite Cut's limited role in "The Clone Wars" and "The Bad Batch," his impact cannot be understated. Wherever he and his family are, he is a beacon of possibility for his clone siblings. Deep down, Cut knows that they deserve to find love and live their own lives.
Clones are allowed individuality, but they aren't allowed to question the leadership that controls their fates. An underdog, Fives deserves a big hug (and this second spot) for his restless efforts against this system. He achieves grand valor in "The Clone Wars" despite his mortal end. When his friend Tup mysteriously loses his mind and murders a Jedi, Fives discovers the horrific Order 66 secret that heralds the Jedi execution in "Revenge of the Sith."
Taking the initiative, Fives fights tooth and nail to figure out his friend's ailment. When clone scientists feed him obvious deceptions, it increases his determination to advocate for his friend's health, himself, and ultimately, all of his clone brothers. Fives's quest costs him his sanity and life, but it reflects his dedication to justice and autonomy. With his dying breath, his warnings start an effective ripple that saves some of his siblings, including Rex and The Bad Batch, from the worst-case scenario of brain chip control. Fives ensured that the stories of several of these clones will continue.
"Experience outranks everything," Rex tells Ahsoka Tano. Because of his experience, Rex outranks everyone. By virtue of his seniority, he earns the No. 1 position on this list. Through hard labor, traumatic battles, existential crises, and sheer fortune with the Force, Rex is the survivor and the forever fighter in his blue-tinted armor. Rex's journey began with the 2008 "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" movie and (so far) concludes with his (canonically confirmed in "Rebels") participation in the Rebellion's decisive win at the Battle of Endor. Having the privilege to age into an old friendly geezer by the events of "Rebels," Rex encompasses the struggles of a clone veteran reintegrating into yet another war.
From the Clone Wars and the rise of the Empire to the Rebellion's victory, Rex has lived through it all, survived it all, and seen it all. He has learned from the good, the bad, and the contradictions of his clone siblings. From Cut Lawquane, Rex learned to make decisions for himself. From Dogma, Rex realized that extreme obedience is a deadly game. From Echo, he learned to let go of the past. From Fives, Rex heeded warnings to preserve the clones' individuality. Rex's wisdom is made from the multiple perspectives of his clone brothers.
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