Are Storm/Clone Troopers Good or Evil?

I got an e-mail today from a boy named Josh, who asked me:

Karl, were storm or clone troopers ever good ? I think they were good in the second movie but my dad says they were always evil. From Josh

It’s a great question! Sorry, Josh, but your dad, (who will remain safely annonymous on Alderann), is wrong. In fact, it is such a good question, I decided to post my answer here:

Josh,

When I met George Lucas at the Star Wars Convention, a kid actually asked him whether the storm trooper are good guys or bad guys. His answer was, “They are good guys who follow orders from a really bad guy.” That is the shortest answer, but rather simplistic, but good enough for the little kid who asked. But there is more to that question, and unfortunately, George Lucas is still confused on what he believes about right and wrong. But there is more to the question that I’ll attempt to answer here. (non-Star Wars fans can stop reading here)

Here is my a-little-bit-longer answer:

It is important to know that there are two types of troopers. (very different and the difference is significant!)

The first is “Clone Troopers” which are not human, they are clones. They are like machines with flesh. They look human, but do not have what makes people human: a soul. They know nothing of good and evil, so are they are neither good nor evil by themselves, just as a pizza is neither good nor evil. (unless it has veggies on it, but I stray) They are like machines that simply do whatever those in charge say.

You are right, in Episode II they seem ‘good’ since they fight on the good side, but that is only because they are taking orders from the Jedi. (who are good) However, the clones were actually created by the Sith and given to the Jedi to encourage the war, so that makes them tools of evil in the hands of good men! Remember, the Jedi didn’t even know they had ordered a clone army, but were quick to use it once they had it. The Sith were creating the war and arming both sides in order to gain power – so in that sense the clones were bad too, the Jedi just didn’t know they were being used to spread the stakes and scope of the war.

In Episdoe III you see the clone troopers go from good to bad, but that is only because Palpatine gave them evil orders (to kill the Jedi). So you see, the Clone Troopers are neither good or bad, it is their ACTIONS that are good or bad depending on who is giving them the orders. The clone trooper, Cody, is given a name (rather than a number) because Obi-won has befriended him (spoiler coming!). One second he is being friendly and giving him his light saber back, and the next moment shooting at him. It is because he knows no better, he simply follows orders, and doesn’t feel anything – guilt, shame, or regret, over the orders. One minute they are friends, and the next not, which proves they never were friends to begin with, they are incapable of genuine friendship. Clones have no power to ‘CHOOSE’ which is the #1 thing that makes humans special and in the image of God. It is our freedom that makes us unique from all other creatures. Our freedom has made a mess of the world, but has made a real relationship with God possible. Had God made us clones, there would be no sin, but we could never really know him either. See why God made us free, even though evil results?


Me fighting a storm trooper at the EP2 Premeir.

The other type of trooper is “Storm Troopers” and they ARE human, they replace the Clone Troopers before Episode IV – unlike the clone troopers, they are morally responsible for their actions, and in that sense they are guilty of doing evil because even though they are following orders, they know what they are doing. That is why many of them flee the Empire and join the republic, because they can tell the Empire is evil and does evil with its power. The Rebellion wants to restore Good people to power. It is kinda funny that ‘rebellion’ is usually wrong, but when the authority is wrong, rebellion becomes right. Crazy world huh, where being a rebel can be good!?!? (KIDS: This doesn’t mean it is ok to rebel against your parents! They would have to be asking you to do something against God’s will for it to be ‘good’ for you to rebel!)

I hope I didn’t confuss you too much. That is the medium length answer, if you’d written to Star Wars Insider magazine, you’ve have probably gotten a whole artilce about it!!!! Pages and pages!!

So what is the lesson in all this?? There actually was a good line in the mostly boring movie “Kingdom of Heaven” – where the king says to a young up and coming knight something to this effect, “You will be judged for your own actions, not by whether you followed orders.” The point being, we are morally responsible, and so YOU MUST DECIDE whether an action is right or wrong NO MATTER WHAT the ‘authorities’ over you say. If they are wrong actions, just because you were told to, does not make it ‘right.’ Even if you get in trouble, or lose the ‘battle’, better to do what is right in God’s eyes. HE is the ultimate authority. Later in the movie, the same king, who is dying, offers the young knight the throne and offers to kill his rival, give him the rival’s wife, and kill any men who will not join him. The knight reminds the king of his own advice, and turns down the throne (!) because it would be wrong to kill the rival, even on the king’s orders! He shows he would rather not be king, than become king in the wrong way. Not many people could turn down wealth and power just because the way to get it was wrong.

BOTTOM LINE: Are you a clone trooper, storm trooper, or rebel? A clone, doing whatever you are told without thought, or a trooper, following orders even though they are wrong, or a rebel, saying, “I’ll fight for what is right, even if it costs me everything!”

May the Force be with you!

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Kidologist

Karl Bastian is the founder of Kidology.org, the creator of ToyboxTales.com, and the author of OrderoftheAncient.com. His personal website is Kidologist.com He is Big Kid with a passion for equipping and encouraging those who minister to children.

21 Comments:

  1. I had no idea star wars was so deep!

  2. That’s just stupid. People think with their brains, not their souls, irrelevant of how they were created. George Lucas knew exactly what he was talking about. Clone troopers weren’t built to be evil, but they ended up doing evil things because they were designed to follow orders. They still have a sense of right and wrong, but it doesn’t come into play when they’re told to do something wrong.
    Look at mentally retarded people. Their brains are damaged, which is why they don’t think quite as “well” as people without brain damage. Their SOULS didn’t get damaged. Their BRAINS got damaged.

  3. “that’s just stupid” is a pretty weak way to begin an argument… it usually is a sign that not much thought is being given to the argument. :)

    I agree, people think with their brains… but the soul is what makes us human, it is what makes us different from animals… we not only think with our brains, but we can think about what we think about, and no animal does that!

    I agree, clone troopers weren’t built to be evil, but they weren’t built to be good either, they were built to fight. Period. They are a fighting machine built to fight for whoever is giving the orders, so they are neither good nor bad, they are just tools in the hands of their commander, only the one giving the orders can be good or bad, that is why they are seen as good and bad in the film, it all depends on who is giving the orders, Jedi (good) or Sith (evil).

    I know Star Wars is fictional, but we are discussing it philosophically as though it is real, in that context, I don’t know what evidence you could point to that they have a sense of “right and wrong” – that simply “doesn’t come into play.” If it doesn’t come into play, I would argue that it simply doesn’t exist!

    Bringing retarded people into the argument is a easy cheap shot and insults them. People with brain damage are not clones, and I would agree, their souls are NOT damaged. Whether they are good or bad would again be based on actions, and those actions based on how much they KNEW what they were doing was wrong, and I think only God could be the judge of that, since each person’s damage is unique and different.

    Well, that’s probably about the most time I should give to this… the bottom line is still the same. You are responsible for your ACTIONS.

    So as the knight said in The Last Crusade, Choose Wisely!

  4. ummm…. your soul is your brain. I think Broadus is confusing soul for spirit….

  5. Jay, I’m afraid a purely physical view of yourself is quite limiting. If you hold to that position, you might as well not believe in the soul at all. The soul is not the brain – though many cognitive scientist to suggest that the soul is the MIND which is a different thing entirely, as the MIND resides IN the brain, but is not one and the same. The brain is an organ, whereas the Mind is self-aware! The one thing that Science has yet to be able to explain; “How can a brain ‘know’ that it is a brain?” Enter the Mind, i.e. the Soul. The Being that lives inside the body, and thus the Being that is released when the body can no longer sustain life.

    These are wonderful things to ponder – and important! Because if we are more than a body and our soul (our true person) is released upon death – we want to seek the Truth about what (or where) happens (or we go)!

    All that to say, your soul is not your brain… YOU are!

  6. The clones are good but in the series Starwars the clone wars the cline makers put something in them to change after Darth Sidious says “Excicute order 66.”

  7. Actually.

    The Clones were forced to dish out Order 66 because of an chip implanted in their heads when they were children. Although they were built to take orders without question, the chip was specifically made to MAKE them complete the order.

    Why?

    Because most if not all the clones grew attached to their Jedi General’s/ Commander’s, which would make the Order mostly ineffective if it were given without the clones having those implants.

  8. Um, Clones have souls and if they were real they’d be very insulted that you said they didn’t. Although Clones were made, they have shown individuality, self preservation, independence, consciousness, heck, one of them married a Twi’lek and had a family and in the story he LOVED his family…. so yeah, they have souls. Not to say that they didn’t have orders, but soldiers today have orders, and they are often ordered to kill, just like the clones, and most of them follow orders, just like the clones, so are they soulless just because they follow orders of someone in authority above them? No. So clones have souls. Watch ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ and you’ll see clones are NOTHING like machines, and they hate being equated to soulless numbers.

  9. Hey, Shlo – great points. Keep in mind, this was written in 2005, before the Clone Wars series existed, and the key word here is “if they were real” since they aren’t, it’s all fun guessing. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  10. Ah, cool, I didn’t know when The Clone Wars came out, but yeah, there was a lot of questions about clones and a lot of answers that changed since then. This post makes more sense now! If I had known that this was posted in 2005 I would have just let it be.

  11. No worries, comments are welcome! So cool that Star Wars is BACK!

  12. It is. But right now I’m so hyped about the MCU(Marvel Cinematic Universe) Maybe it’s cuz a group of my friends and I are planing a totally awesome party involving going to see Cap:Civil War….. Yeah, that’s going to be a lot of fun.
    We’re even planing to wear superhero T-shirts and sharpie-ing them with different stuff, like whatever we decide for our group name….. etc.

  13. I’m actually #TeamFedExMan
    Cuz I looked at the full cast and noticed that Stan Lee was cast as “FedEx Man”. And Stan Lee made it all happen, without him Marvel Comics wouldn’t exist, so yeah, #TeamFedExMan.

  14. Yup, Mr. Stan Lee makes an appearance in EVERY Marvel movie, it’s fun trying to spot him!

  15. So this is an old post an all but I do feel the need to respond to something. It’s stated above that “the clones don’t feel anything” when in fact that’s wrong. In the clone wars there were plenty of instances where the clones showed that they possessed the ability to feel sadness, happiness, anger, friendship, all that mushy crap.

    And there was something I read once, it was like the clone commanders recounts of order 66. And some of the clone commanders felt bad for gunning down their generals I recall Bly saying “it didn’t feel right” and “she saved me countless times. I hope it was over quickly for her” and Bakara said he was glad to end Kiada-Mundi. Although he was an outstanding general and he enjoyed serving under him once he “betrayed” the Republic he felt no remorse in gunning down a traitor.

    So they aren’t just machines wrapped in flesh. Yes they follow orders to the letter, that is and will always be what they were designed to do. But they are people in their own right, they just look the same :P

  16. Good points, keep in mind, this was written in 2005 and Clone Wars didn’t release until 2008, and as you know, the Star Wars realm is always growing and changing… in fact ALL the 40+ novels I read in years past now are declared “not true” and are being re-branded as “Legends of Star Wars” since they don’t match the new story line. But thanks for commenting.

    This remains my #1 blog post in Google results. LOL

  17. I realize that this post was written in 2005 – before the Clone Wars series came out, so I will make my rebuttal to the “clones don’t have souls” thing without any reference to the extra knowledge it would provide.

    First of all, the “#1 thing that makes humans special and in the image of God” is… well, kind of a weird statement to hear in relation to Star Wars. There are quite a few non-human species in the series. We see Twi’leks, Nautolans, Wookies, Mon Calamari, and more. I will choose, for the sake of making your argument work at all, that in reference to the Star Wars universe you mean *sentient beings* instead of *humans*, and make the (unproven) assumption that God exists in a universe where there is a mystical Force that can be connected to if someone has enough bugs in their blood (midi-chlorians).

    Cloning is the genetic duplication of an already existing life form (whether that is a plant, animal, or person). Clearly having identical DNA to another individual does not make someone soulless – identical twins exist in nature. Attack of the Clones clearly shows that the clone troopers are grown from the genome of Jango Fett, a human from Mandalore. Which, of course, makes the clones biologically human. They undergo the same biological processes (development from embryos, growth from childhood, puberty, etc) as a human being, so are indistinguishable in that sense from any other human. Using the bible, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen 2:7) We know that the clones are living, breathing people, and no other canonical evidence has been given to imply soullessness. In fact, Boba Fett is shown to be a complete individual, though he is as much a clone as the troopers themselves. He is shown during Attack of the Clones to be a child, able to think, feel, and even grieve. There are only three differences between him and the clone troopers: no accelerated aging, an actual parental figure, and no military indoctrination.

    Clone troopers are raised from infancy to believe that they *must* be soldiers, that the Jedi are their military commanders, and that the Jedi are the good guys – which they are. Both the Jedi and the clone troopers are trying to protect sentient lives from tyranny and death, which are good and noble causes. We have soldiers in our own society doing the exact same thing, and not one person implies that they are soulless because they follow orders. True, unlike soldiers in our world, the clone troopers have no choice but to be soldiers, but taking away a sentient being’s right to choice is not evidence of a lack of soul – it’s called *slavery*. So let’s put the “soulless” question to bed, and state that if Boba Fett and our own soldiers both have souls, then the clone troopers themselves must indeed have souls. The question then becomes, are they good or evil?

    The next part, of course, is the tricky part when we disregard the Clone Wars series. The chips are never referenced in the movies, nor is it ever stated what the wording of Order 66 is. The cover-up afterwards by Palpatine states that the Jedi attempted to seize control of the Republic via an assassination attempt and that the Jedi Order had to be destroyed to ensure the safety of the Republic. The assumption must be made that Order 66 is a contingency plan in case of the Jedi Order going rogue, because if the order had been something else that information would have quickly become apparent to the galaxy at large. The Galactic Senate (not knowing Palpatine was a Sith) outright *cheers at this action* – a clear indication that they do not want to be ruled by people who can literally change people’s minds if they so choose. Destroying thousands of Jedi to protect the freedom and liberty, the right to self-determination, of trillions of sentient beings is not inherently evil. We, the viewers, know that the clones’ actions are wrong… but from inside this universe, neither the clone troopers nor the average person would know the whole story. They would only know that a group of beings that can literally subvert free will have attempted to overthrow a democracy. Protecting the free will of people would seem to be the only good and moral thing to do. The actions of the clones, whether it was right or wrong from an *objective* standpoint, must be viewed through the lens of those living within that universe at that moment. They, along with the Senate, had no way of knowing that what they did was solely to increase the power base of one morally reprehensible man.

    You specifically call out CT-2224 (Cody) as not showing any evidence of guilt, shame, or regret. How do you know? Yes, he followed orders and did exactly as he was told, including searching for Obi-wan afterwards. But with his helmet on, how do you know that he did not? There is simply no evidence, for or against, Cody having an emotional reaction to following that order. we never see him with his helmet off afterwards – for all we know, he’s crying underneath it. Or perhaps, given that universe is led to believe that the Jedi were trying to take over the Republic and that Obi-wan is a member of the Jedi Council, Cody simply feels betrayal. Based on 2005 canon, we simply don’t know.

    In short, I believe that you are incredibly wrong, on so many levels, for implying that the clones are soulless constructs. I think the main error you made in your analysis is not realizing your bias on the topic. You have an objective, third party viewpoint of the events, something that the characters – clone or otherwise – would not have had. Twisting that view so that it fit a religious framework which does not exist within that universe only compounds the issue.

  18. Karl, I stumbled across your website and this blog post when I googled, “are storm troopers good or evil?” in trying to answer my five-year-old twin boy’s question as they were playing with their new storm trooper mask they got from their cousin. Now, though I love the Star Wars movies, I am not a Star Wars groupie and do not know everything about it, thus the Google search. But I love the way you explained the difference between clones, stromtroopers and rebels and the connection between our souls and God and our ability to choose right from wrong; very well said and explained. I also like the way you responded to some of your critics above. You obviously do your homework and take the time to think about what you’re saying and are good at articulating. Which cannot be said for a lot of people that like to comment online. I’m generally too busy to respond to posts at all but felt like I needed to today. Thank you for your explanation and for having the courage to acknowledge God. For those that don’t believe in God, that’s fine, it’s really all about being good and kind so Let’s KEEP IT POSITIVE people! There’s enough evil in the world, we don’t need more of it. Stick with the old adage,”If you don’t anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Yes, you have the freedom to speak and I firmly believe in that but just think about the motivation behind what you’re saying. What is it really accomplishing? Is it necessary and how will it make others feel? A few things for people to consider before they speak/comment. I’ve bookmarked your page as you have a lot of great posts and information on here for kids and will be visiting it again. Thank you!

  19. Angelica,

    Thanks for your long response. You are right, my Christian worldview does greatly influence how I respond to fictional things – remember, this IS fiction. :o) And I am making a comparison of fiction to what I see as truth. But, in the end, it is all only opinion. (and written before Clone Wars came out) Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond.

  20. Amy, Thank you so much for your encouraging words! You made my day!

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