Obi-Wan Kenobi’s clone trooper cameo had a lot more meaning than most viewers realized – and it concealed a hidden tragedy affecting the clones.
The Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ TV show’s clone cameo concealed a deeper tragedy. Set a decade after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ TV series forced the Jedi Master to leave his self-imposed exile on Tatooine when the Inquisitors kidnapped the young Princess Leia. Episode 2 saw Kenobi head to the planet Daiyu, where he was immediately faced with a reminder of his past – a veteran clone trooper from the 501st Legion, now reduced to begging on the streets.
The clone cameo had a deeper meaning than many viewers realized. Because Kenobi had hidden himself on a remote Outer Rim planet, this was probably the first time he’d encountered a clone trooper since Order 66. He’d have recognized the distinctive armor at a glance, and known the odds were high this particular clone trooper had served under Anakin Skywalker when his former apprentice led the attack on the Jedi Temple. Obi-Wan never knew about the inhibitor chips, meaning he had no way of knowing the trooper had no choice. And yet, for all that’s the case, he chose to give his fellow Clone Wars veteran some cash. He felt sympathy, recognizing they had been both brought low by the Empire.
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Even beyond Obi-Wan’s pathos in the face of trauma, however, the clone trooper cameo also concealed a deeper tragedy. As Lucasfilm note in an official trivia gallery: “Temeura Morrison’s cameo as a veteran of the 501st Clone Battalion shows not only a decade of neglect and despair, but also continued growth acceleration coded into the clone’s biology. This genetic manipulation makes him appear far [older] than his 20 or so chronological years would suggest.” The clone’s aging underscores the tragedy of the Clone Wars. Technically, the clones were the ones who won the war; the Separatist army was vanquished, and Order 66 meant they were the ones who took down the Jedi. And yet, for all that is the case, they were only ever pawns to the new Emperor.
Clone Troopers’ Aging Is A Secret Star Wars Tragedy
After the Clone Wars, the Empire swiftly stopped using clones, instead pivoting to a massive recruitment initiative across the galaxy, and it’s likely the artificially-enhanced ageing was one reason for the decision. Clones were expensive to produce, and they wouldn’t remain viable for long. Worse still (from Palpatine’s viewpoint), some clones rebelled against Order 66; Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 1 further suggested the inhibitor chips’ influence degraded with time, potentially making them all the more unreliable.
It’s always seemed odd that so few clone troopers were active in the Rebel Alliance. Obi-Wan Kenobi episode 2 serves to remind viewers why that is the case; because clones aged incredibly quickly, and few would have survived until the time of the Galactic Civil War. Tragically, that accelerated ageing may well explain why the Empire felt so comfortable tossing them aside; they knew the clones would soon be gone, removing a potential source of well-trained rebels. And so the greatest army in the history of Star Wars vanished within just decades, with only a few tragic tell-tale signs of the sort seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
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Tom Bacon is one of Screen Rant’s staff writers, as well as a Peer Mentor for new writers and a member of the Care Team, offering support and a listening ear to members of the Comics group. A lifelong fan of major franchises including Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Marvel, Tom is delighted his childhood is back – and this time it’s cool. You can find him on Twitter @TomABacon.
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