Do you have any thoughts about the clones situation? I only mostly hear about it from anti-Jedi people and how "being nice slavers doesn't change the fact that they are slavers", so I was wondering if you have anything to say or any post to recommend?
There's a perfect post by @trickytricky1 but I want to say a few more things. This thread right here is also pretty good.
The issue with the Clones is that it's pretty much impossible to examine their in-universe treatment without taking the irl writing decisions into account: namely, that most of what we know to be very, very wrong with the Clones' situation is barely acknowledged by the creative team, to the point we can pretty much assume they just don't care beyond what's convenient for a plotline. I mean, beside a few select characters Filoni is particularly fond of, the majority of the Clones are narrative props: they're here to be killed off to heighten the tension, to be comic relief, or to highlight a particular trait of the Jedi they're serving under - and of course, they're here to execute Order 66. I love them to bits and it often annoys me, but it's true. Just look at how little anybody irl seems to care about Cody, arguably the second most important clone in the franchise and the most important clone within the army: he barely got any screentime in TCW and was instantly sidelined out of the one arc where he had a chance to be the lead, he didn't appear in Rebels, and he wasn't even mentioned in TBB despite his role in the squad's creation. Or consider how the Clones being overgrown children who should look only 20-ish and behave very differently from normal adults is never properly brought up - not even in Rebels where Rex is treated like a old geezer instead of the 30 year old he is, or in TBB, or with Cut whose adopted children are maybe five years younger than he is. We have to face it: the story never was and never will be about the Clones, and so the writers don't seem to think much about their condition a lot of the time.
Hence why I feel like when characters don't behave like they ought to regarding the Clones, it's often not so much that the narrative is telling us there's an issue, and more like the writers couldn't be bothered to explore that particular theme. I'm not just saying that in relation to the Jedi: Suu Lawquane marrying a 12 year old (who is supposed to look 24 but really look 50 because of the animation) is not framed as insanely wrong on all levels, for example. Also, we don't ever see Bail and Padmé speaking up for Clone rights. Realistically, given what we know of their personalities, would they have? Probably, yes! Their silence very likely has nothing to do with a moral failure that the audience is supposed to recognize, and everything to do with nobody irl thinking that would be a good storyline.
As for the Jedi's relationship with the Clones, what I always got from it is this: the Jedi were drafted along with the Clones, couldn't do a lot about the whole situation, befriended them just so Order 66 could be extra heartbreaking, and we weren't meant to dig too deep and find loopholes or what-could-have-beens or alternate ways it could have gone down, because Order 66 was pretty much written in stone. The Jedi were always going to die, as far back as ANH, before there were even Clones in the Clone Wars - and they were going to be friends with the Clones before the Clones were even fully people (think about all the nice interactions between Obi-Wan and Oddball or Obi-Wan and Cody in RotS, back when the Clones obeying Order 66 was that they really had very little will of their own). The more and more messed-up implications of the slave army came along the more the Clones got humanized for the sake of angst, but the beats of the store were already there.
I already went a bit into this tension between what we see onscreen and the issues the writers didn't feel like exploring here (on a post about Obi-Wan's behavior on the Citadel).
Now, forgetting all the irl stuff, are the Jedi actually slavers? I'd argue that they aren't. The Senate voted to have an army - it's a big plot point in AotC. The Sith paid the Kaminoans and fabricated the war. Jango sold his DNA. The Senate drafted the Jedi. ("A lot of people say, “What good is a lightsaber against a tank?” The Jedi weren’t meant to fight wars. That’s the big issue in the prequels. They got drafted into service, which is exactly what Palpatine wanted." - George Lucas)
That particular dead horse has already been beaten, but what were the Jedi supposed to do beside fight side by side with the Clones? Not fight? So Sidious could declare them traitors to the Republic ahead of schedule? Fight and petition for Clone rights (which, again, is an issue never touched upon in canon one way or another after Slick - whom I'll get to later - so we simply can't say that they never tried)? Like Sidious was ever going to let legislation hindering his plans pass? They were caught between a rock and a hard place, which was always the point of the war. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
What's more, the majority of the Clones don't think the Jedi are slavers (see first posts linked and posts linked below), with the notable exception of Slick. The majority of the Clones we see love the Jedi, and we know it's not a case of blind hero-worship, because they are very quickly suspicious of Krell and don't hesitate to take him down.
I feel like Slick was a bit of a red herring, because he came along very, very early (s1ep16) - way before we had any indication of that the chips would be a thing. He feels a lot like a reminder that 'hey, this story is going to end badly' because the Clones will turn on the Jedi and kill them all rather than an actual exploration of the messed up slave army deal - because Slick is unequivocally characterized as a villain. He killed a lot of his own brothers, didn't deny that Ventress had offered him money, tried to frame a member of his own squad for his actions, and was perfectly ready to kill Rex and Cody for all his talk of loving his brothers. The post I linked goes into a bit more, but he's not a desperate innocent.
Finally, there's the problem that the majority of the Clones we see want to fight for the Republic. The cadets from Boba's Death Trap episode (s2ep20) are excited to meet Jedi and get to fight. 99 wants nothing more than to be a good soldier. The Domino Squad want to pass, and their episodes present them going off to the front like a victory - even when we already know they're marching to their death. Choosing to fight is Rex's whole arc in the Deserter episode (s2ep10):
CUT: Come on, Rex, admit it. You've thought about what your life could look like if you were to also leave the army, choose the life you want.
REX: What if I am choosing the life I want? What if I'm staying in the army because it's meaningful to me?
CUT: And how is it meaningful?
REX: Because I'm part of the most pivotal moment in the history of the Republic. If we fail, then our children and their children could be forced to live under an evil I can't well imagine.
CUT: If you were to have children, of course. But that would be against the rules, wouldn't it? Isn't that what somebody programmed you to believe, Captain?
REX: No, Cut, it's simply what I believe. It doesn't matter if it's my children or other people's children. Does that meet with your approval?
Yes, it's incredibly karked from our perspective - you have millions of boys who were spoon fed propaganda about a Republic that doesn't care about them and that they barely know, and in the end their sacrifices amounted to very little... But - and I'm genuinely asking here - wouldn't denying them the right to find their identity in their role as protectors be demeaning too? Obviously they deserve so, so much better, but TCW still treats their choice to fight proudly as meaningful. And in the end, it wasn't entirely for nothing either: the Jedi and the Clones did save billions of people according to Hera.
What we were supposed to take away from the Jedi-Clones interactions in the Prequels imo isn't 'the Jedi were nice slavers' but really that they were the Clones' best and only friends.
Mace spends a lot of his screentime protecting them. We see most of the Council protecting or saving Clones at least once each. Really, the Jedi are constantly shown saving the Clones or caring about them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Again, @trickytricky1 has some of the best content: this compilation vid is particularly great. I'm pretty sure Sidious gave the Jedi the Clone army (and not the droid army) because he counted on the Jedi's compassion towards the Clones and their eventual trust in them to work in his advantage (see this thread) - and heartbreakingly enough, he was right.
Imo, TCW and later Rebels - and even, to a lesser extent, RotS - always portrayed the Jedi and the Clones as close friends and the karked up circumstances don't change that. They don't have a 'nice slavers & their slaves' dynamic, they are friends.
There's a reason why the first TCW episode was about Yoda telling three Clones how unique and important they all are (see here or here). There's a reason why we see the Clones being so protective of their Generals (see Boil and Obi-Wan here). There's a reason why Obi-Wan so passionately condemned Grievous for having an army with no loyalty and no spirit (here). There's a reason we got this:
They were best friends. The entirety of Star Wars failing to address enough just how terribly the Republic treated the Clones doesn't take away from that.
That makes the whole Jedi-Clone story a whole other level of tragic, where the Jedi genuinely tried to know and care for their men because there really wasn't anything else to do, and the Clones were grateful for that, and in the end both the Order and the Clones were used and destroyed. No matter how badly some themes and plotlines might have been handled, I genuinely can't ever believe that we were meant to see the Jedi as slavers in this situation, as opposed to victims - albeit in a different way than the Clones - who were doing their best.