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I, Rey Skywalker, am officially the greatest Jedi in existence.

I successfully took down the remnants of the empire single-handedly, defeated my arch-enemy Kylo Ren, and killed Sheev Palpatine, the one time ruler of the galaxy. With my work completed, I set about making money from my exploits by allowing a movie company to base a trilogy around my life.

The films were great, with the third movie being critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike and cementing it's place as the greatest trilogy in movie history. However, they revealed a number of strange things about me, one of which is that Palpatine was my father. Not only that, but he was also a failed, degenerating clone of himself. Now, the one bad things about clones is that they are imperfect copies of the original. Their cells break down more quickly, and their chromosomes have many flaws in their genetic makeup.

If this thing was my father, then it would make sense that these flaws would be passed on to me, yet I have not suffered from them. I attributed this to my force based abilities keeping the effects of this disease at bay, but that doesn't make much sense upon closer inspection. Force powers come from midoclorians, intelligent microscopic life forms that live symbiotically inside the cells of all living things. If cells are dying sooner, it would make sense that these life forms would also be breaking down. Yet I am far more powerful in the force than any who came before.

How can this be the case?

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe he used the services of a more upmarket cloning services company, one which uses better tools and techniques to avoid shoddy work? An imperfect copy can be worse than the original, as good or bad as the original, or better than the original; after all, that's why we photographers put such an emphasis on good post-production work. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 18 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ Palpatine is not your father, rather. he is an adoptive parent. $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Mar 18 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ Why would the flaws be passed on? They're a consequence of being a clone, and (presumably) didn't exist in the original. Half of your genes came from your mother. On the father's side, the one sperm cell (of many millions: livescience.com/… ) was presumably healthy. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 18 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ Is this question about the Star Wars universe or are you using it as an analogy? $\endgroup$ – Carl Kevinson Mar 18 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ The films were great, with the third movie being critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike and cementing it's place as the greatest trilogy in movie history” Wow, wish we had gotten those movies in our universe.. $\endgroup$ – RBarryYoung Mar 19 at 2:35
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Actually, this is a common failure mode of the real-world modern cloning techniques. The cells have limited number of divisions and you have to find a cell that is divided fewer times in order to make a sucessful clone.

The sexual reproduction resets the "division counter".

Search for "telomeres" for longer explanation.

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    $\begingroup$ The telomeres could and actually should be repaired by the cloning service provider. Who would want to pay good money for a short-lived clone? I can even see the ads: "Clones-R-Us will double your clone's telomeres, no extra charge". $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 18 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP ... except that the process may fail in a number of ways that are not immediately aparent, including intentionally. $\endgroup$ – fraxinus Mar 18 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ Any process may fail. That's why we have those nice people called engineers who design processes so that the failures are kept under an acceptable treshold. What is an acceptable threshold depends on the specific process; but by and large, we are quite good at devising complex processes which don't exhibit unacceptable failure rates. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 18 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ In engineering, we are quite good. In politics, we frequently fail spectacularily (that's why Palpatine got the office in the first place). In a complex process as cloning, it is not really possible to control everything first hand and it works only when everyone does his job right. Not the exact case when you mix politics. $\endgroup$ – fraxinus Mar 18 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP, unless the toner gets low in the cloning machine. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI -Monica come Home Mar 19 at 14:52
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Clone is a clone. His degeneration was a feature of being a clone, not of being Palpie.

In other words, Dolly cells behaved like cells of the source material. Regarding the age, its abilities, etc., it's not possible to pass those specifics to offsrping as it's not genetic characteristic.

Futhermore if any part of the source material is damaged or flawed we can fix it in pre-, during, and post-production. Your chromosomes are wibbly-wobbly? We can fix it in your sperm. Embryo have potential to have third arm? We can fix it by making that trait regresive.

Side-note: it seems that your whole problem derives from the fact that Palpie forgot that you SPEED UP the aging of the clone. We had this issue since Clone Wars. We speed up "Mystery donor" clone maturity for him to have them sooner in "adult" state. It seems the emperor not only stole our technology, didn't read the manual, sped up the process even further (he what? hit 60 in 20 years?) and complained that his knockoff machine doesn't work as ours. Even kids know that you need to bake the cake by the book.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... This raises the (unfortunately not addressed in canon) question of whether there were any late-batch clones in their prime at the same time Boba Fett was in his, and how they would compare: since clones took ~10 years to mature, and new Clones were started during the 'The Clone Wars' TV show, there might have been clones artificially aged to the same age Boba was naturally. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Mar 19 at 15:14
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I always took Emperor Palpatine's physical degeneration to be a side effect of using force lightning, not some clone side-effect thing. He looked fine in the first trilogy (I'm sorry for even bringing it up), until he started zapping the Jedi that came to arrest him. That may or may not have been his first body. I'd guess "not" simply because he was able to send Yoda packing, and that's not the kind of skill one can develop in a reasonable amount of time.

It's quite possible that other dark-side powers, when used at the levels the emperor did, could cause similar damage. Or maybe he just liked throwing around zaps a lot.

There's probably some Dark Side version of "7 Effective Habits" that recommends killing minions who fail to do your bidding in a timely fashion. Vader was all about force choke. Palpatine is clearly more of a "lightning" guy, and screw the consequences. That's what cloning vats are for. We're out of clones? Fuck it, old habits die hard... "Where'd that granddaughter of mine go anyway? I'll totally be more careful with my next body."

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe canon sources pretty much have his life mapped out. $\endgroup$ – Michael Richardson Mar 18 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ And they're still canon after the movies? I seem to recall that most/all the books were tossed out the window when they made the most recent trilogy. $\endgroup$ – Mark Storer Mar 18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ The canon books are built from the movies. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Mar 18 at 20:31
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Cloning shouldn't automatically mean that the resulting person is going to be less fit than the original. It's true that the telomeres on a cell's DNA get used up as the cell divides but animals also naturally generate a chemical called "Telomerase" that continually regenerates these telomeres.

You can get a healthier clone by selectively destroying cells that aren't copying properly even after those cells pass through the body's own validation. Normally after cells get too worn out or damaged, they're supposed to self destruct. If they don't, the body's immune system will try to destroy them. One of your biggest risks is old and worn out cells not properly being recollected. But there are already drugs that can adjust the collection threshold in an animal body. You should be able to ensure that your clone gets healthy by making heavy use of these drugs at the start of the process.. and insuring that your original sample is from a healthy cell and not one that's already been extensively damaged. But you should never even have this problem in practice because...

Even if there are no healthy cells at all, you could take 10 samples of DNA and then compare them to find the sections that are common to most of them. Damage will be random for each strand but the good sections will be identical across multiple DNA strands. After some analysis you will end up with a very good idea of what an ideal DNA sample of your subject will look like, even if you don't have any actual sample of this on hand. At that point you could pick the best one of the lot (and you have as many tries as you want) or if you have the technology, make a completely perfect sample from scratch.

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Kamino shows that the Star Wars galaxy has extremely good genetic engineering, as they are able to use growth acceleration and target behavioral traits(though this might also be the control ship from Clone Wars, it uncertain which effect is which). Assuming Rey were made using this technique, it would have been trivial to avoid genetic disorders

As a side note, while I generally disagree about Timothy Zahn's perspective on The Force, his idea that cloning Jedi drove the clone insane because of the effect on The Force was a good one that would have been interesting to explore. If only he didn't come up with actual Jedi kryptonite.

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You are, after all, your mother's daughter.

You see, only half your DNA is from sickly Sheev Jr, and not every chromosome he possessed will have been corrupt. The Force only needs to isolate an intact 50% of his DNA, and pass that on to you. The midoclorians can then patch up any remaining issues in the 1-cell gamete, ready for them to propagate as your embryo develops. (This would be far more difficult to do to a finished clone, because there would be far more cells to repair)

Plus, what constitutes a "failed clone"? Our Evil Ex-Emperor would have discarded a clone who lacked sufficient malice, a substandard connection to the Dark Side of the Force which would have weakened his powers. Everything else may have been in perfect working order - including his conscience (notably absent in the original product).

So the midoclorians identify a suitably un-corrupted clone (and perhaps patch up any major defects early in development), and then vacate premises until the "failure" is abandoned for apparent Force Insensitivity. At which point they direct their new herald to escape and locate a suitable female, so to prepare a flawless conduit for their gifted power.

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