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What Happened to the Clones After Order 66?

What Happened to the Clones After Order 66?

Order 66 served as the turning point of the Prequel Trilogy. The order forced each clone trooper to kill their Jedi commander without hesitation. Since they served as Palpatine’s pawns to purge the Jedi Order, you may wonder if the Empire had any use for them after Order 66.  

The clones were used as the first stormtroopers after Order 66, but for a brief time. Since they were programmed to age faster, the Empire needed to replace them with younger individuals. This led to the clones becoming an eventual afterthought for the Empire. 

Where Did the Clones Come From?

Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker together with 501st clone troopers

During the waning days of the Galactic Republic, a Jedi Master named Sifo-Dyas foresaw conflict within the galaxy. To uphold the Republic and ensure its people remained safe, Sifo-Dyas lobbied to create an army loyal to the Jedi and its Council

The Jedi Council did not hold the same viewpoint and they banished him. Undeterred, Dyas went to Kamino and authorized its people to create a clone army that would turn into the Grand Army of the Republic. 

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The Sith Takes Over

Dyas’s authorization proved to be a fatal mistake, as he ordered the army to be created behind the Galactic Senate’s back. The Sith caught on and killed Dyas, while Count Dooku slid in and took control of the Grand Army’s creation without anyone on Kamino’s knowledge. 

With Dooku in charge, each clone trooper would get a biochip inserted into their brains that would force them to follow orders without question. This biochip also contained Order 66, which, when the time was right, would be used to purge the Jedi. 

How the Clones Were Manipulated into Executing Order 66

How Long Did the Clones Last After Order 66?

The clones were designed for one purpose: To fight a war that Chancellor Palpatine controlled and eliminate the Jedi. This would allow the Sith and the Galactic Empire to take over and exert their dominance over the galaxy. 

Once the clones carried out Order 66, they were not needed to the same extent. Palpatine used them as stormtroopers during the early days of his rule, but these cloned stormtroopers did not last

One reason stems from the fact that clone troopers were not just designed to carry out orders without question. They also held the same values as the Republic, like freedom and democracy. Since they were not programmed to embrace the Empire’s values, they were not as easy to control. 

This led to the Empire gradually replacing clone troopers with human stormtroopers. From 19 BBY to 0 BBY, these stormtroopers grew up within and embraced the Empire’s values, making them easier to control than the former Grand Army of the Republic. 

How Clones Reacted to being Replaced by Stormtroopers who were Non-clones - Star Wars Explained

Fate of the Clone Troopers

Another reason for the clone troopers having fallen out of favor with the Empire comes from their quick aging process. The Kaminoans programmed the clones to age quickly, and that aging process did not stop following the Clone Wars. 

Because they aged quickly, most of the original clone troopers were dead when the events of Episode IV: A New Hope arrived. Take Captain/Commander Rex, for example, who in Star Wars Rebels appeared to look as though he were at least in his 50s. 

Since Rebels took place between 5 BBY and 0 BBY, Rex, born in 32 BBY on Kamino, would be between 27 and 32 during the series. 

A few troopers still alive by 4 ABY, like Rex, fought in the Battle of Endor during Return of the Jedi. In May 2018, Star Wars Rebels confirmed Rex fought in the Battle of Endor.  

Captain Rex takes part in The Battle of Endor and attends Anakin Skywalker's Funeral with Ahsoka

Clone Troopers in Obi-Wan Kenobi

If you watched the 2022 mini-series Obi-Wan Kenobi, you will have seen another example of the clone troopers’ fates on-screen. 

Many of these clones had no way to support themselves and they ended up on the galaxy’s less desirable planets and virtually became homeless in the inner-cities. In Episode II of the series, Obi-Wan even came across one of these former troopers.

Screen Rant stated that, while it had long been known that the Empire discarded its clone troopers when they were no longer needed, the miniseries was the first instance in the franchise to show this. 

Are the Clone Troopers Extinct?

The clone troopers aged so quickly, that when the events in The Force Awakens arrived, none of them were left. And given Rex’s advanced age in Star Wars Rebels, it is highly likely that he too had already died by the time 34 ABY arrived. 

If you guessed that the clones lived a pitiful existence from birth to their unceremonial deaths, you guessed correctly. They were nothing but fodder to the Empire, despite the fact that they were programmed to serve the Republic. 

Given their genetic code and the biochip inserted in their brains that commanded them to carry out every order without a second thought, they were forced to betray the Jedi. This betrayal further showed they had no choice but to betray the Republic. 

And when they carried out their dark deed, the Empire used them as stormtroopers until they became too old to perform their jobs or too hard to control. The Empire then retired and discarded them. 

What Happened to the Clones After Order 66 - Star Wars Explained

Did the Clones Regret Order 66?

While the clones were programmed to never question an order, they also had independent minds to a certain degree. Since the clone troopers enjoyed a measure of independence, they could think for themselves. 

So as to whether the clones regretted Order 66, it is more of a subjective question to answer. As noted earlier, the Empire discarded clones in favor of stormtroopers because the former knew it was easier to control those who were growing up following the Republic’s collapse.


While the clones originated to battle the Separatists as the Grand Army of the Republic, the real intent for their use came in Revenge of the Sith, when Chancellor Palpatine unleashed Order 66, purging the Jedi Order. 

Following the event, the clone troopers briefly served as stormtroopers, but their rapid aging and embracing of the Republic’s values necessitated prompt replacement. 

This led to the clones becoming afterthoughts and many spent the rest of their lives living in abject poverty. Others, like Captain Rex, helped fight against and end the Empire.

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