The clone troopers from Star Wars debuted as CGI soldiers in Attack of the Clones. They were pretty cool and they got much cooler overtime. The animated Clone Wars show evolved them beyond the stern soldiers they were first introduced as. They seemed like the ultimate soldiers in the strongest army in the galaxy with unwavering loyalty to the Jedi. Then Revenge of the Sith happened and they betrayed the Jedi and nearly killed them all, which was pretty sad. However, if you’re a fan of Star Wars and comics, there is something you need to read.
Dark Horse Comics has published some pretty darn good Star Wars comics over the years, and not all of them focus on Jedi and the Sith. The five-issue miniseries, Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows, shows a powerful story from a unique perspective. The story does heavily involve Darth Vader, but he is not the main character. The main protagonist of this story is a clone trooper by the name of CT-5539, or just Hock Malsuum. Like most of his fellow clone troopers, he saw a lot of action, but unlike them, he wasn’t too fond of the Jedi. In the early years of the Clone Wars, he served under a Twi’lek Jedi General and because of her tactical mistakes, most of the clones in his squad were killed.
Hock himself was an effective leader and soldier, but this didn’t serve him well. Towards the end of the war, he was abandoned by his Jedi commanders and left for dead. As a result, he obtained a large scar over his right eye and developed a strong hatred for the Jedi. He served alongside them in battle and perceived them to be weak and ineffective as leaders. Hock decided his fate would be left in his own hands and abandoned the war. This led him to become a farmer and leave his military life behind him, until a walk in a bar changed all that.
While in the bar, he heard rumors of the newly formed Galactic Empire’s top enforcer. Hock became interested in the rumors and pursued the Empire. While attending an Imperial rally, he observed a captured Jedi being imprisoned in a wooden cage. This reenforced Hock’s beliefs that the Jedi were truly weak and never meant to be in power of anything. His curiosity eventually led him to Darth Vader, where he believed he finally found a leader worth following. Hock recommitted himself to the military and became strictly determined to impress Darth Vader.
Hock slowly managed to earn Darth Vader’s approval and even his trust. The most crucial moment that solidified this was during the Shrouded Offensive. Vader ordered a small army of stormtroopers to eliminate a Separatist holdout on the planet Ostor, but Hock sensed a trap. When Hock retreated and tried to warn General Rohn, he was brushed off. Hock even forced himself into the General’s AT-TE and snapped his neck. He then confirmed his suspicions to be correct when he discovered the severed heads of stormtroopers on pikes.
Hock returned to Vader and they were both forced to confront Emperor Sidious. Both Hock and Vader lied to the Emperor and convinced him that the massacre was Rohn’s fault. Sidious believed them, but warned them to not make the same mistake again. After that interaction, Vader showed a glimpse of his humanity and revealed his respect for Hock. He even put his hand on his shoulder as a sign of his newly found trust to the clone trooper. Seriously, this is Darth Vader we’re talking about here. Did anyone ever expect him to do something like this?!
Hock made a second attempt to invade Ostor, but this time, he had Vader by his side. The battle was going well for them, but Hock was eventually shot down in his V-wing. He later woke up in the enemy’s hospital and attempted to convince the Separatist leaders to surrender. When this failed, he sabotaged the deflector shield, allowing Vader and the Imperial army to attack. Shortly after this, Hock discovered the true leader of the rebels: a fellow former clone trooper. This former clone trooper told Hock that the Republic they both once served became an oppressive Empire and the clones were always expendable. Hock refused to believe this and the two clones duked it out.
Hock eventually emerged as the victor and the fighting resumed. It was during the final moments of the battle where Hock saw Vader for what he truly was. Vader not only struck down resistance fighters, but random civilians as well. Hock tried to stop any further bloodshed by running back to the hospital and convince the Separatist leaders to surrender, but Vader already killed them. They both made way to the room where the wounded were being kept and Hock once again tried to make them surrender. They all stood up in defiance and Vader responded by slaughtering them all, horrifying Hock.
The most powerful part from this scene is when Hock called out for Vader to stop. Vader did exactly that, and the two men just shared a tragic moment of silence. Hock held out his hand, hoping to change Vader’s ways, but the Sith lord refused. Hock just dropped his blaster and realized the clone he killed was actually right about the Empire. He once again abandoned a cause he became disillusioned with and even returned to the farmers life, finding a wife and having children.
The story of Hock is about as tragic as Vader’s. It’s about a man who once believed in something, then became disillusioned with it. He then took another chance at a cause he wanted so desperately to believe in, only to witness even greater horrors and become disillusioned once again. Out of all the characters in Star Wars, Hock chose to earn the favor of Darth Vader, and shockingly enough, he actually succeeded. It seems unbelievable that Vader could’ve ever found a true friend during the Empire’s reign, but he did. The biggest tragedy of this story was how someone like Vader could find a friend, only for him to lose that friend because of his darker instincts.
Hock is a Star War character that needs his own movie simply because it’s a different kind of story we haven’t seen from Star Wars before. Sure, we’ve seen tragedy, but not from a clone trooper’s perspective. If Disney green lighted a movie based on a clone, rather than a Jedi, it would be quite the courageous move. Hock is a unique kind of character the Star Wars lore needs to bring in a much more brighter light and it would serve for the most unique kind of movie fans could ever see. The Star Wars universe is indeed a universe, so expand on it.