Welcome to Character History. In this series, I will look at the whole story of a character or group of characters from the Star Wars canon and try to give the main events. As I do this, I will also be letting you know where you can find this story. There will be some occasions when the information is not 100% confirmed to be canon but is highly likely, especially if it was something that was due to happen in story arcs of The Clone Wars that were never finished before the show’s cancellation. Any paragraphs in yellow have information that has not been shown in canon so is subject to change, but has been described as an intended part of the initial story by people in the know (such as Dave Filoni) or is speculation by myself using the evidence available.
As well as expanding on the stories of a number of Jedi and other characters form the Prequel Trilogy, The Clone Wars also introduced us to a number of clones and showed us their individual personalities. While some clone only appeared in just one or two episodes, a number of soldiers, especially those in the 501st Legion, became recurring characters, featuring frequently in many of the clone-focused episodes.
Domino Squad was a group of 5 clone cadets trained during the Clone Wars: Hevy (CT-782), Fives (CT-27-5555, later ARC-5555), Echo (CT-21-0408, later CT-1409), Cutup (CT-4040) and Droidbait (CT-00-2010). In this article, I will be charting the history of the group as far as we know it so far. Unlike my history for Darth Maul, the full story of Domino Squad is currently able to be found in The Clone Wars. Obviously the show has been out for years but I will warn anyone reading who has not yet seen the show that there will be spoilers below.
Season 3 Episode 1 “Clone Cadets”
Though not the introduction to the characters due to the release order of the TV show’s episodes, “Clone Cadets” is chronologically the first time these characters appear in canon.
“Comlink just relayed orders from—”
“We all heard the orders, Echo!”
“Stop calling me that!”
“Stop repeating every order!“
Domino Squad are one of a number of squad of clone cadets going through training on Kamino under the bounty hunters Bric and El-Les, who are supervised by Shaak Ti. They are a dysfunctional group and do not work well as a team: CT-782 feels that he is held back by his team, especially Droidbait (I think you can guess from the nickname). CT-21-0408 annoys the team by repeating the orders that the team have heard, leading to the nickname he hates. Cutup does not take things serious enough while Fives is frustrated by his teammates. Following a failed test, they are due to be rejected and sent to work in maintenance. Fives and Echo request Shaak Ti transfer them to Bravo Squad – who are much more successful – but she tells them that they must learn to all work together as a team but will be allowed to re-take the test the next day. Bric tries to sabotage this by provoking CT-4040 into attacking him, but he resists and even gets his nickname of Cutup from the insults Bric was throwing at him. CT-782 went to go AWOL but was stopped by 99, a defective clone who was considered part of a bad batch and made to work in maintenance. 99 talks about brotherhood and teamwork and, calling him Hevy, explains that every clone was different in his eyes. The next morning Hevy (now going by his new nickname) led the group through the test. The team finally work together and pass the test, despite an attempt from Bric to sabotage them. By passing the test, Domino Squad are allowed to graduate and join the Grand Army of the Republic.
Season 1 Episode 5 “Rookies”
Though chronologically after “Clone Cadets”, this episode was the first released featuring the characters and therefore our introduction to them.
“Do we take prisoners?”
Domino Squad’s first posting was as part of a detail protecting the Rishi Station listening post on the Rishi moon under the command of Sergeant O’Niner. Separatist Commando droids infiltrate the base in an attempt to keep the all-clear signal going, allowing a Separatist fleet to attack Kamino unawares. Droidbait, O’Niner and all the other clones are killed in the initial assault, while the rest of Domino Squad are able to escape the base, however Cutup is soon killed by a Rishi eel. The remaining 3 clones see Captain Rex and Commander Cody arrive to inspect the station and manage to use a distress flare to warn them of the Separatists. The veterans meet up with the 3 “shinies” and the group work together to take back the station, but they are unable to stop the transmission of the all-clear signal. The Separatists send down reinforcements to regain control of the base, so the clones decide to destroy the station to stop the all-clear and warn the Republic of the danger. The clones prepare the explosives but there are issues setting the remote detonator, which Hevy tries to sort. When the droid forces begin to overwhelm them, the clones escape through the ventilation, but Hevy stays behind to sort the detonator. Following a courageous last stand, Hevy is hit, but manages to detonate the explosives manually, sacrificing himself but destroying the base. The sole survivors from the Rishi Station garrison and only remaining members of Domino Squad, Fives and Echo are inducted into the 501st.
Season 3 Episode 2 “ARC Troopers”
The 501st are stationed on Kamino in preparation for a Separatist attack. When Separatist forces make it down to the planet’s surface, ARC Trooper Havoc sends Fives and Echo to a sniping position on a platform bridge. From this position they take down a number of droids while being resupplied by 99. When they find a group of clone cadets who have been separated from their group, Fives and Echo escort 99 as he takes them back to the barracks. Arriving at the barracks, they run into Rex and Cody and prepare to take on a group of droids that have made it into the facility. With the help of 99 and the cadets, the clones defeat the droids, but 99 is killed trying to go for more detonators. Following the Republic victory, Rex promotes Fives and Echo to ARC Trooper.
The Citadel Arc: Season 3 Episodes 18 “The Citadel”, 19 “Counterattack” and 20 “Citadel Rescue”
Fives and Echo join other members of the 501st and the 212th Attack Battalion as part of a strike team infiltrating a prison called the Citadel on Lola Sayu in an attempt to rescue Jedi Master Even Piell, who has coordinates for a key hyperspace route. The strike team are carbon frozen and use repurposed battle droids to infiltrate the Citadel. They rescue Piell and his remaining crew and attempt to escape. During the escape, Echo notices a commando droid about to use a blaster turret to destroy the shuttle they need to escape. Using an energy shield, he attempts to protect the shuttle, but it is destroyed and he is killed in the explosion while Fives and the others watch on. Fives eventually escapes along with the other survivors when the Republic sends help.
The Umbara Arc: Season 4 Episodes 7 “Darkness on Umbara”, 8 “The General”, 9 “Plan of Dissent” and 10 “Carnage of Krell”
“I am not just another number! None of us are!”
Fives and the 501st are involved in the invasion of Umbara under the command of Anakin Skywalker, but he is replaced by General Pong Krell following the initial assault. Krell’s orders lead to heavy casualties in the 501st and Fives is frequently vocal against the General’s plans for this reason. After taking control of an Umbaran airbase, Fives forms a plan to use captured Starfighters to destroy an Umbaran supply ship from the inside (similar to what Anakin did in The Phantom Menace), a number of the clones are willing to go along with the plan, but Krell refuses to allow them the chance to try. Fives, Jesse and Hardcase go ahead regardless and are successful, though it requires Hardcase’s sacrifice. After returning to the airbase, Fives and Jesse are arrested. They are scheduled for execution but the firing squad deliberately miss and the pair are put back in the brig while Rex and the rest of the 501st are sent to deal with a group of Umbarans who have disguised themselves in the 212th’s armour. After Rex realises that Krell is a traitor, he releases Fives and Jesse from the brig and they join in the capture of Krell, who is killed by fellow clone, Dogma.
Order 66 Arc: Season 6 Episodes 1 “The Unknown”, 2 “Conspiracy”, 3 “Fugitive” and 4 “Orders”
Fives is involved in a mission to retake a space station in Ringo Vinda’s orbit, along with Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Masters Tiplee and Tiplar and their respective clone units. Duringt he fighting, clone trooper Tup goes into a trance and kills Tiplar before Fives can apprehend him. When Tup is taken to Kamino for medical investigations, Fives goes with him. Fives finds out form a medical droid AZ-3 that Tup will likely be killed in order for the scientists to fully investigate what is wrong with him, so decides to do his own tests. He and AZ-3 find a tumour blocking impulses to the brain, they remove the tumour but Tup soon passes away. Fives prepares to return to the front line, but AZ-3 reveals that he will actually have his mind wiped and be reassigned to sanitation detail on Kamino. Fives escapes, steals the tumour from scientist Nala Se (who is obstructing the investigation) and goes to the genetic records hall to analyse it. He finds that the tumour is a biochip implanted at embryonic stage and has AZ-3 remove his chip as proof – finding that his chip was healthy but Tup’s had decayed. Fives then discovers in the clone hatcheries that all of the clones have this chip. When Fives holds Nala Se at gunpoint in front of Shaak Ti, she says they are inhibitor chips to reduce aggressiveness. Shaak Ti orders Fives and Nala Se to come to Coruscant with her and the chips so that Fives can request to Palpatine that the chips be removed from all the clones. However, Nala Se drugs Fives on the transport and when he is left alone with Palpatine, he is framed for what looks to be an attack on the Chancellor. Escaping, Fives goes to a clone bar where he finds Kix. He explained to Kix that the clones and Jedi were all in danger and gave his friend co-ordinates for a meeting spot to give to Rex. Rex, accompanied by Anakin, meet Fives in a warehouse where he traps them in a ray shield. He tries to explain about the Chancellor’s conspiracy but the drugs have left him far from lucid and he gets angry when Anakin does not appear to believe him. Commander Fox and the Coruscant guard arrive to arrest Fives, who is shot through the chest by Fox as he reaches for one of Rex’s blasters. With the ray shield destroyed, Fives succumbed to his injuries in Rex’s arms, echoing Tup’s final words about the nightmares being over.
“This… it’s… bigger than any of us, than anything I could have imagined. I never meant to… I only wanted to do my duty…“
“Brother… Fives. Stay with me, Fives! Fives!“
“The mission… the nightmares… they’re… finally over.“
And so ended Domino Squad. Or did it…?
Warning: The following contains potential spoilers for The Clone Wars’ return for a 7th season. The following information is already available from the Bad Batch story reels – released as part of The Clone Wars Legacy project – which will potentially be adapted into some of the new episodes.
Bad Batch story reels
After a number of Separatist victories on Anaxes, Rex theorises that they have got hold of an algorithm he had made, which was known to just him, Fives and Echo. Worried that Echo may have had the algorithm with him on Lola Sayu, Rex, Cody, Jesse, Kix and Clone Force 99 infiltrate a cyber center on the planet to find and recover the algorithm. They found the algorithm being broadcast from Skako Minor and also find an audio signal that sounds human, repeating Echo’s code of CT-1409. This code leads Rex to believe Echo is still alive, so he, Anakin and Clone Force 99 infiltrate Skako Minor, finding Echo. A number of his limbs have been replaced with prosthetics and he has been drugged and kept unconscious by the Separatists, who have mined his mind for information. The group rescue Echo and they successfully escape back to Anaxes. Echo devises a plan to infiltrate Admiral Trench’s dreadnought and feed the Separatists false information. The infiltration is successful and the false information leads Trench to commit all of his forces to attack Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu at an assembly plant, at which point Echo creates feedback pulses to disable the droids. Echo receives a transmission that Trench will activate a bomb under the plant and manages to transmit the majority of the shutdown code to Windu before his signal is jammed, but Anakin is able to get the rest of the code from Trench – allowing the Republic to reclaim Anaxes. At a ceremony after the battle, Echo is promoted to Corporal.
And that is all that we know for certain, but something that is likely still canon was that Echo became a member of Clone Force 99, as he was due to appear with them in an arc on Kashyyyk, which could possibly feature in the new series on the show.
And that was the story of the rise and fall and rise again of the clones of Domino Squad. Despite 3 of the clones being dead by the end of their first assignment, the group had a big impact on the galaxy. Hevy’s sacrifice stopped the Separatists from having a clear run at attacking Kamino and stopping the production of new clones. Fives may not have been able to save the Jedi from Order 66, but his discovery led to both Rex and Kix finding out there was a conspiracy – Kix was captured by the Separatists and put into stasis, which he was stuck in until the time of the war between the First Order and Resistance – and Rex, along with Gregor and Wolffe removed their chips and eventually became members of the Rebel Alliance. And with Echo still alive as things stand in the canon, there is always the potential for more stories including him in the Clone Wars and post-Order 66 era. In case you didn’t realise from my Top 10 Stories from The Clone Wars article, I am a big fan of the clones, so I will keep my fingers crossed for a novel from a clone perspective!
Are you a fan of Domino Squad? Is there someone else you want to see me write about in a Character History? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…