Ryan L. Fox
In all of the Star Wars Universe, there is no character (or rather characters) that are more loved as well as respected than the clone troopers. Making their big screen debut in Episode II: The Clone Wars in 2003, they were portrayed as battle-hardened soldiers created from the DNA template of bounty hunter Jango Fett with their sole purpose of fighting and completing their mission objective. This, unfortunately, included carrying out the infamous Order 66 which wiped out the Jedi.
Then in 2008, David Fiolini came out with the critically acclaimed 3D animated cartoon series, Star Wars: Clone Wars. Here, the clones were not just portrayed as militaristic soldiers following orders without order. Rather, they were shown to have their own individual personality as well as their own personal beliefs on fighting the Clone Wars, the treatment of themselves, standing up to a corrupt Jedi, and showing an unbreakable brotherhood bond within the Clone Army.
There have been many clones who fans have gotten to know over the years, some of which have left lasting impressions on the fanbase. With the release of the new Star Wars animated series The Bad Batch just a few days away (released on Disney+ on May 4th), it got me thinking which are the Top 5 Clone Troopers in Star Wars.
After careful deliberation (and going over two different Star Wars universes), yours truly was able to come up with an appropriate list. Mind you, this list is for clone troopers only so any other clone of Jango Fett (talking about you Bobba) will not be on the list. That being said, let's begin.
*Warning: Spoilers abound if you have not seen Clone Wars*
Honourable Mention: Waxer (Clone Trooper # Unkown), 2nd Lieutenant of the 212th Attack Battalion
Waxer, was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 212th Attack Legion. Although he had little screen time compared to his other brothers, he was known for looking after and caring for a displaced Twi'lek child name Numa during the Battle of Rhyloth along with fellow trooper Boil. After the Republic won the Battle of Rhyloth and Numa reunited with her parents, Waxer had a drawing of the Twi'lek on the right side of helmet going forward for the remainder of the war. Unfortunately, Waxer was tragically gunned down by friendly fire on Umbara by another clone trooper from the 501st Legion as both the 501st and 212th were tricked into fighting each other by Jedi Master Pong Krell, who fell to the dark side. Before he died, Waxer shed a tear as he was heartbroken that his own brothers were tricked into killing one another.
5. Hunter (Clone Commando # Uknown), Clone Commando Sergeant of Clone Force 99, aka 'The Bad Batch'
He may not look like your average clone trooper but Hunter, along with fellow Bad Batch mates, are well-respected Clone Commandos, aka elite 'super soldiers' in the Clone Army. But unlike other clone commandos (or your average clone in general), Hunter was given a special mutation that allows him to have enhanced senses that could also pick up electromagnetic signals (ala, track droids and other Separatists easily when conventional maps were useless). Gruff and straight-to-the-point, Hunter leads the Bad Batch through hell and back but makes sure that no man gets left behind as well as make sure to keep squad mates Crosshair and Wrecker from causing too much trouble.
Well in the process of cloning and using a limited amount of Jango Fett genetic material (no short thanks to Mace Wind), there are bound to be defects. Instead of seeing combat, many defective clones are relegated to mere janitorial duties and other menial tasks in the cloning facilities on Kimino. That was the case with 99. Because of his physical deformities, 99 was deemed ill-fit for combat and was forced to become a janitor.
Still, his loyalty to his fellow clones as well as the Republic never wavered. 99 spent most of his time with the clone cadets, forming bonds with them and viewing them as brothers. He was one of the few people who started to refer to the new clone cadets by names rather than just their clone trooper numbers. During the Battle of Kimino, 99 was relegated to defense preparations. He ultimately was gunned down by battle droids while trying to supply ARC Troopers Fives and Echo with more EMP grenades. 99's was viewed as a true soldier as later on he had a clone commando unit named in his honor, Clone Force 99, otherwise known as The Bad Batch.
3. Fordo (ARC-77), Captain of Clone Commando Unit 'The Muunilinst 10'
Before the Clone Wars got rebooted in 2008, Genndy Tartakovsky (creator of Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Lab) came out with Clone Wars cartoon shorts back in 2003 that bridged Episode II and Episode III in the old Star Wars Legends Universe. There, we saw the introduction of characters like General Grievous, Asaj Ventress, Durge (who all were ‘re-introduced’ into the new Clone Wars cartoon and Star Wars Canon Universe) as well as got to see the clones troopers in action. The one clone trooper who ended up sticking in the minds of those watching was none other than Captain Fordo.
Making his debut in Clone Wars: Chapter 2, Fordo led a clone commando unit )later known as The Muunilinst 10) onto a mission on Muunilinst to capture San Hill, the head of the Banking Clan and a prominent figure within the Separatists. Fordo also lead the rescue mission on Hypori in Chapter 10 that saved Jedi Masters (as well as Jedi Council Members) Kia-Mundi, Shaak-Ti, and Aayla Secura and then towards the end of the Clone Wars series, led the ground forces against the invading Separatist Army during the Battle of Coruscant.
But what made him stand out amongst his peers was his calm demeanor, his poise during high-pressure missions, and also that one moment where he was single-handedly annihilating hordes of B2 Super Battle Droids by himself. Although he, like so many Legends characters, ultimately got stored in the archives and made irrelevant by the new Star Wars Canon universe, Fordo still remains as one of the top clones in many Clone Wars fans' eyes.
2. Fives (CT-5555 & ARC-5555), ARC Trooper of the 501st Legion
"I am not just another number! None of us are!"
Now I know it's ironic for a clone trooper named after number to say something like that, but that one quote pretty much defines who Fives was as a character.
Introduced as a 'shiny' cadet in Season One, Fives was one of just a handful of clones who openly embraced being called by a nickname and resented being referred to as a number even by fellow clones. He was also genuinely cared about all of his brothers, showing remorse for those who fell in action.
One of his best moments came during the Umbara Arc in Season 4 where he openly voiced his displeasure to both his superiors, Captain Rex and General Jedi Pong Krell, about the tactics that were being used (i.e. just charging headlong into battle which resulted in a lot of clones being killed). He even went as far to defy orders under threat of treason and death just to make sure that no more clones were senselessly slaughtered during the Umbaran campaign. Plus, his speech right before his execution from a firing squad (starts at 2:12) pretty much catapulted Fives' popularity among the fans.
But what really cements Fives’ legacy is the fact that he was the one who stumbled upon the inhibitor chips that were placed in all clones at the time of their birth. These inhibitor chips were the reason why the clones betrayed their Jedi allies and carried out the infamous Order 66. Fives nearly averted that catastrophe and even came close to stopping Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) but the Sith lord was able to frame Fives to make him look like a defective clone gone rogue. Fives ultimately was gunned down by Commander Fox of the Coruscant Guard (another clone), his death being arguably the most tragic moment in the entire series. His death, though, was not in vain as his discovery of the inhibitor chips caused other clones such as Rex, Wolfe, and Gregor to get theirs removed later on.
1. Rex (CT-7567), Captain of the 501st Legion
Let's be honest folks, it would be a total Sith move of me to not have Rex as number one on the list.
As Captain of the 501st Legion, Rex made his Star Wars debut in the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars animated movie in 2008. He was Anakin Skywalker's go-to guy and confidant in discussing battle strategies, carrying out missions, and personal matters (Rex was one of just a handful of people to know that Anakin and Padame Amidala were really married). He was also one of Ashoka Tano's closest friend and ally, during her time with the Jedi Order and remained loyal to her even after she ended up leaving, almost acting like a surrogate brother to her at times.
Rex was one of the few well-known clones that fought throughout the entire Clone Wars, from the first Battle of Geonosis, which was described as pure chaos, all the way to the Siege of Mandalore, the last battle before Order 66 was carried out. He's participated in almost every major mission in the Clone Wars from planetary defenses to sieges to undercover guerilla missions deep in enemy territory. While he tends to follow protocol and orders, Rex has shown the ability to 'think outside the box' whenever the situation called for it.
But one aspect of Rex's character is the fact over the course of the Clone Wars, he went from being a clone captain that follows orders to someone who will put the safety and well-being of the troops that serve under him in the 501st as well as viewing them more like family. In fact in the old Legends Universe, Rex actually kept a journal log as a means to never forget those who fell in battle as well as say something meaningful to honor their memory. Not to mention that he didn't take to kindly to those who brushed off his fellow clones as mere canon fodder or insult his closest friends.
Then there was his role in Order 66. Unlike most of the other clones who carried out the order, Rex knew about it due to Fives. So right before he felt the inhibitor chip take over, Rex resisted long enough to warn Ashoka to find the files on Fives in order to discover the secrets of inhibitor chips and how to remove them before succumbing to it. Fortunately for Rex (and fans), he was able to get the chip removed.
So whenever you think about clone troopers, this guy immediately comes to mind because, as the man said, he's always first.
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