Disclaimer: I have never read much of the old EU having to do with the prequels, and nothing since that became Legends and they started over with a new EU. I consider the EU, past and present, to be a secondary canon, from which I can grab any neat and/or interesting things, but which I can also discard when I think it's stupid or doesn't make sense.
There is a question that has bothered me since I first watched Attack of the Clones in theaters over a decade ago. Well, no, it hasn't bothered me, but an assumption I
made about canon as perfectly obvious seems to never have occurred to either the Powers That Be at Lucasfilm, or to anyone in fandom, even those who (as I do) take a fluid approach to the EU. And the issue is this: how sure are
we that Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas was the one who actually
ordered those clones?
Here is what we know from the movies and the cartoons:
- The Kaminoans believe that a Jedi Master named Sifo-Dyas ordered the clones, complete with the "aggression inhibiting" chip that turned out to actually be ol' Palpy's mind control.
- The Kaminoans have pretty much no contact with the Jedi prior to Obi-Wan showing up. They keep to themselves, they aren't really involved in the Republic at all. Which is to say, if a Force-user showed up in Jedi robes and called themself Sifo-Dyas, how would the Kaminoans check the identity?
- Jango Fett, the guy the clones are cloned from, was not hired by Sifo-Dyas. He was hired by a guy named Tyranous, which just happens to be Count Dooku's Sith name.
- Sifo-Dyas died around the time that the clone army was ordered.
Now, there are three possibilities. Either Sifo-Dyas was an active participant in the conspiracy to start the Clone Wars, or he was a patsy manipulated by Palpatine and Dooku into ordering a clone army, or Sifo-Dyas wasn't the one who ordered the clones at all. Let's consider them one by one.
- Sifo-Dyas is also a fallen Jedi, he just didn't leave the Order. Or maybe he was still on the side of light but believed that the Republic was too corrupt and needed to be destroyed. Either way, he wants the Clone Wars to happen, and he is an active conspirator in getting the ball rolling by creating an army that will appear just at the right time to kick things off. If this is the case, why did he die? It seems to me that it would be a staggering coincidence if he just HAPPENED to die right then, right after ordering the clones. I suppose it's possible, but unlikely. It's also possible that there was a falling-out among thieves, but (witness Pong Krell) it would seem to be more like Palpatine and Dooku's modus operandi to leave him in the Jedi Order where he can be stirring the pot and causing bad things from inside, and then kill him or extract him later when his usefulness is actually at an end.
- Sifo-Dyas was a patsy manipulated by Palpatine and/or Dooku into doing their will and ordering the clones. This seems to be the tack that EVERYBODY AND THEIR BROTHER, from Lucasfilm on down, assumes. But it's never really made sense to me. I mean, wow, that is some serious manipulation. Okay, so I can totally see Palpatine getting some poor Jedi all in a twist with visions like Anakin's, but Anakin's were relatively straightforward and simple: person you love is in danger, Jedi can't save them, I can. The actions prompted by those visions are, at heart, very simple and straightforward. Worried about loved one? Turn to the dark side and save them! Problem solved! .... traveling outside the Republic to a secretive race of beings with specialized technology to create an army of clones, when the Republic hasn't even HAD an army for centuries, an army that's going to take ten years to create, that's ... that's so out of left field, I have no idea how you would manipulate someone into doing that. It's nowhere near the normal Jedi playbook, it's nowhere near the Republic playbook, it's taking what was (at the time) business as usual and catastrophizing it to the nth degree. Like, what kind of visions would do that? I don't even have a clue. This is a REALLY COMPLICATED plot, with lots of moving parts. Like money. All those clones, ten years of growth and training, it could not have been cheap. If Sifo-Dyas was manipulated into doing it, where did he think the money came from? Where DID the money come from? How was he convinced to use it in that way? I mean, if it were me, and I was a Jedi getting visions of some sort of future catastrophe involving the Jedi and a war or something, I wouldn't use a fortune to create a clone army. I would use that fortune to hire the best PR and lobbying firm in the Republic to try and sway public opinion to prevent it that way. I mean, I suppose it's possible, but it has never seemed especially LIKELY.
- It wasn't Sifo-Dyas at all. Palpatine and Dooku hatch the plot, and Palpatine as Chancellor is a little to recognizeable and in the spotlight to play the part of the Jedi to the Kaminoans. Dooku can't go as himself, because then when the Jedi find out about the clones (and they have to, to be able to use them), it will be obvious that it is a trap of some sort, because why would he create clones that he would then have to fight, and if he were going to create the clones and then decided to fight the Republic, why not either a) make the clones loyal to himself, and not the Jedi, or b) just stop the order entirely? So he picks the name of a Jedi recently dead or whom he kills himself. This way, it's a legitimate name the Kaminoans can check, but nobody will be able to ask the Jedi in question "hey, did you create that clone army?" and find out that somebody was impersonating him. This way, the Jedi are asking "why did Sifo-Dyas create a clone army?" and not "why does somebody want us to think Sifo-Dyas created a clone army?" Then he goes and hires Jango Fett to be the model, and uses his own (new Sith) name because while he wants a little anonymity, he also wants to be able to hire Jango for stuff on the side of the Separatists.
Option three, where it wasn't Sifo-Dyas it was Dooku all along, has always seemed to me to be the simplest and most direct answer. And I was pretty sure that's what they were hinting at by pointedly having Obi-Wan be surprised it was Sifo-Dyas because he died around then
, and also by having Jango Fett pointedly tell Obi-Wan that no, Sifo-Dyas didn't hire him, Tyranous (a Sith name if there ever was one) did. Like, I came out of the theater thinking that was A BLINKING RED NEON SIGN THAT THERE WERE NO JEDI INVOLVED IN THE CREATION OF THE CLONES, and expected that to be a plot point in the next movie. And I have spent the past fourteen years bemused that everybody seems to take the Kaminoans statement that Sifo-Dyas ordered the clones at face value.