An Abridged Retelling of Captain Rex

The man, the myth, the legend, he is Captain Rex. Introduced in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars pilot film, Rex was a milestone character for the franchise. Until then, the Clone Troopers were more or less identical, carbon copy characters. After Rex came along, though, Star Wars started to add more depth to the Clones of the Grand Army of the Republic. They went from being just the guys who enacted Order 66 to people with actual personalities, thoughts, feelings, and more. It made them people, and Rex became one of the most popular of them all.

I’m RJ Writing Ink, and today, we’ll be recapping the life of Captain Rex, soldier, survivor, and rebel. With rumors of him returning in the upcoming Ashoka series going around, nows the perfect time to look back on one of the most badass Clones to come out of Kamino.

Bred for Battle

Like the rest of the Clone Troopers, Rex was created by the cloners of Kamino around 32 BBY. Initially designated CT-6567, it wouldn’t be until later that he took his nickname of Rex. Rex proved to be a natural leader, though, and quickly began to assume greater roles in the Clone Army as their training progressed. Eventually, he was given the rank of Captain and placed in a high-ranking position in the 501st Clone Battalion, later the 501st Legion. With the rest of the 501st, Rex was among the Clones who fought in the opening salvoes of the war at Geonosis, giving them important battlefield experience.

Following the First Battle of Geonosis, Rex and the 501st came under the command of Anakin Skywalker, freshly promoted to Jedi Knight himself. With his free-thinking ways and talent for unconventional tactics, the 501st flourished under Skywalker. In addition, despite only being a Captain, Rex became the Jedi’s right-hand man, as well as a close friend. Rex eventually became one of the few who knew a little about his secret relationship with Padme, even covering for him at times. 

Rex also quickly formed a rapport with Ashoka Tano, Anakin’s new Padawan, serving as a mentor to the young Jedi as the war progressed.

Forming Doubts

As the war progressed, Rex continued serving on the front lines, facing death numerous times. In one such skirmish on Saleucami, the Captain got injured by a Droid Sniper. It wasn’t fatal, but it would require rest to heal. Fortunately, his comrades located a nearby farmstead run by a Twi’lek woman, her two kids, and her husband. However, Rex was shocked to discover that said husband, Cut Lawquane, was a Clone.

Furious, Rex accused Cut of being a coward and a deserter. However, Cut explained his reasons for leaving the war behind. After the Battle of Geonosis, his entire group was ambushed by Separatist gunships and shot down. The droids proceeded to kill any survivors they found, forcing Cut to flee for his life and abandon the war altogether. Despite this, Cut was no coward, as he soon proved when he and Rex worked together to defend the farm from a group of Commando Droids. 

In the end, Rex chose not to turn Cut in for desertion. As Cut pointed out, none of the Clones asked to be used as soldiers. They were created and expected to do so; they never had a choice. Rex didn’t say it, but that idea of choosing his path would stay with him. 

Nightmare on Umbara

Late in the war, Rex and the 501st would take part in the crucial Battle of Umbara, an invasion of a world shrouded in perpetual darkness. At first, the Clones had the advantage of having Skywalker leading them. However, shortly after the invasion started, he was recalled to Coruscant by the Chancellor, leaving another Jedi, Master Pong Krell, in temporary command. It proved an absolute disaster.

Firstly, Krell held barely-hidden contempt for the Clones, considering them inferior and “creatures bred in some laboratory.” Secondly, Krell proved a terrible leader. His straightforward tactics of throwing men into blaster fire were disastrous, leading the free-thinking men of the 501st dangerously close to mutiny. 

As it turns out, though, Krell wasn’t incompetent. He was an evil mastermind. Having fallen to the Dark Side over the war, Krell resolved to betray the Republic and the Jedi by sabotaging the Umbaran campaign from within, then defecting to Count Dooku. This culminated in tricking Rex and the 501st into attacking their fellow Clones from the 212th, telling both sides the other was the enemy in disguise. 

Not gonna lie: when I saw this in high school, I was shaking with rage.

This was the last straw. After a fierce skirmish, Rex and the Clones captured the traitorous Dark Jedi. Before Krell could escape, another Clone executed him in his cell. While the Republic took Umbara, the whole experience left Rex deeply shaken. What was the point to this war? Would it ever end? And more importantly, what would happen to them when it did.

Losing One Friend, Finding Another

Earlier in the war, Rex and Cody had met a rookie squad of Clones named Domino Squad. Sadly, most of the five-man squad perished protecting an outpost guarding the way to Kamino. The remaining members, Echo and Fives, would go on to become ARC troopers, but luck continued to be against them. Echo was presumed killed on a mission behind enemy lines, while Fives continued serving alongside Rex in the 501st.

Then, in the later stages of the Clone Wars, Fives stumbled upon something that could’ve cost the Sith everything. After a freak accident, Fives discovered every Clone had an inhibitor chip embedded in them. That chip would force the Clones to turn on the Jedi when Darth Sidious made his move. Despite Fives best efforts to warn Rex and the Jedi, he was tragically gunned down by the Coruscanti Guard before he could explain everything.

Thankfully, not all of Domino Squad was lost. Somehow, Echo survived and became a prisoner of the Separatists. They used him as a living supercomputer to counter all of the Republic’s strategies. Thanks to the efforts of Rex and the Bad Batch, though, they managed to rescue Echo, who went on to join the Bad Batch. 

Order 66

In the final hours of the Clone Wars, Rex reunited with his friend, Ashoka Tano, on a mission to capture the former Sith Lord Darth Maul. Leading part of the 501st alongside Bo-Katan’s Mandalorians, the resulting Siege of Mandalore succeeded in capturing Maul alive. 

Then, came Order 66. Against his own will, Rex attempted to kill Ashoka aboard their ship, but not before giving her the clue she needed to figure out what was going on. The former Jedi managed to capture Rex and remove the inhibitor chip, bringing him back to his senses. Tragically, the other Clones proved unable to defy the chips. While Rex and Ashoka managed to escape, they were forced to watch as their ship crash-landed, killing everyone aboard while Maul escaped. With the Jedi now branded traitors, the two faked their deaths before going into hiding.

Forming a Resistance

Despite being thought dead by the new Empire, Rex, like Ashoka, wasn’t willing to let the Empire run roughshod over the Galaxy. More importantly, he correctly predicted that with the rise of the Empire, his fellow Clones would eventually be pushed out of the military, or worse, killed en masse. Thus, Rex devoted much of the early days of the Empire to saving as many of his brothers as possible.

It was hard work. Rex had to operate covertly, setting up contacts and helping like-minded Clones desert the Empire to find new lives. Thankfully, Rex found allies in the form of the Bad Batch. Echo, in particular, agreed to work with Rex to help save as many Clones as possible.

It’s still unknown what happened to this resistance that Rex helped form. What is known, though, is that he eventually chose to retire from being a soldier altogether. Together he, a Clone Commander named Wolffe, and former Clone Commando Gregor settled in an AT-TE on the desert planet of Seelos, spending their days wandering the wastes and slinging for Joopa’s. 

Coming Out of Retirement

Retirement wouldn’t stick with Rex forever, though. Around 3-4 BBY, the crew of the Ghost, part of the nascent Rebellion, came knocking on behalf of Ashoka Tano. Rex’s old friend sought to recruit him into the Rebellion and gain his list of old bases throughout the Outer Rim. However, thanks to accelerated aging, Rex was pushing 60. His fight was over, as far as he was concerned.

The Empire decided otherwise. They came, tried to kill everyone, and then got driven off. So, while Wolffe and Gregor stayed behind, Rex decided to join the Rebels. The Captain was back!

Rex proved to be a major boon to the growing Rebellion. He brought with him years of training, experience, and leadership. It also led him to return to familiar places like Geonosis, now almost Geonosian-free thanks to the Empire. In addition, Rex and the Ghost crew ran across a Separatist holdout of Battle Droids that didn’t shut down after the Clone Wars. Forced to fight in a war game to decide who would’ve won, the thing became moot when the Empire showed up. Rex and the Separatist Droid General didn’t fully make peace, but they did realize they hated the Empire more than each other. 

Continued Service With the Rebellion

Rex continued to serve with the Rebellion as it became the Rebel Alliance, but he also saw even more comrades die before him. Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus gave his life to save the Ghost crew on Lothal. Shortly after, Gregor lost his life in the final battle for Lothal. In addition, Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger sent himself and Grand Admiral Thrawn into deep space to save Lothal from the Empire’s wrath. Their sacrifices were worth it, though. With their allies, the crew of the Ghost managed to liberate Lothal, providing a major early win for the Rebel Alliance.

It’s currently unknown what Rex did following the liberation of Lothal. What is known is that he would end up fighting in the Battle of Endor. And even though it’s not confirmed, a lot of fans’ headcanon is that Rex was the old man that was part of Han Solo’s strike force. 

Rex’s Last Story

So, there you have it. Rex’s story leading up to the Ashoka series. Earlier this year, rumors began to circulate that Temuera Morrison would be reprising his role as a Clone to bring Captain Rex onto the live-action stage. However, if that’s true, then this might end up being the final chapter in Rex’s storied life.

Remember the accelerated aging? The Kaminoans did that to most of the Clones to help get them to fighting age in the decade before the Clone Wars. It’s great for raising an army, but it means the Clones will only live half as long as normal humanoids. As a result, Rex will be pushing eighty by the time of the miniseries. Unless he found a means to halt the accelerated aging, this might be Rex’s big finale. 

While it may be sad to have to say goodbye to Captain Rex, fans won’t soon forget him. Much like Ashoka Tano, Rex rose to become a fan-favorite character in Star Wars. He’s become the poster boy for the Clones, and is easily one of the best non-Force using badasses in the whole franchise. Plus, if Rex dies, he’ll die knowing that the Empire that betrayed his brothers got its just desserts. And it’s successors will follow two decades later.