Stormtrooper (Star Wars)

A stormtrooper is a fictional soldier in the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. Introduced in Star Wars (1977), the stormtroopers are the main ground force of the Galactic Empire, under the leadership of Emperor Palpatine and his commanders, most notably Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. In The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), the upgraded stormtroopers serve the First Order, under the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke and his commanders, most notably Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Captain Phasma.

Star Wars characters
Stormtrooper cosplay at Romics 2013, Italy
First appearanceStar Wars (1977)
Created byGeorge Lucas
GenderMale and female
AffiliationGalactic Empire
First Order

The order of battle of the Stormtrooper Corps is unspecified in the Star Wars universe. Accompanying the Imperial Navy, stormtroopers are able to be deployed swiftly and respond to states of civil unrest or insurrection, act as a planetary garrison, and police areas within the Galactic Empire. They are shown in collective groups of varying organizational sizes ranging from squads to legions and for some, their armor and training are modified for special operations and environments.


Storm Troopers designs were intended to look "terrifying, but also supercool, super clean", with the helmets being "very stylized skulls".[1] In early drafts of Star Wars and Ralph McQuarrie's concept designs, stormtroopers were to wield lightsabers and hand-held shields as common weapons not limited to the Jedi or Sith. George Lucas, when composing background information in 1977, stated that females did exist in the Stormtrooper Corps, although there were few stationed on the Death Star. He suggested that they were numerous in other units.[2][3]


While stormtrooper performers like Michael Leader (Episode IV),[4] Laurie Goode (Episode IV),[4] Peter Diamond (Episode IV-VI), Stephen Bayley (Episode IV), and Bill Weston (Episode IV) have generally been uncredited in the film series, there have been a few exceptions.

In Attack of the Clones (2002), Temuera Morrison plays bounty hunter Jango Fett and his multitude of clones, who are the first army of clone troopers.[5]

In The Force Awakens (2015), John Boyega stars as Finn, the former Stormtrooper FN-2187 who defects from the First Order and joins the Resistance,[6] and Gwendoline Christie portrays Captain Phasma, commander of the First Order's stormtroopers.[7] Daniel Craig has a small uncredited role as a stormtrooper whom Rey compels using the Jedi mind trick to let her escape from captivity,[8][9][10] and director J. J. Abrams also cast Alias and Lost composer Michael Giacchino as FN-3181, and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich as FN-9330.[8] A riot control stormtrooper who calls Finn a traitor during the battle on Takodana, portrayed by stunt performer Liang Yang and voiced by sound editor David Acord, is identified as FN-2199 in the anthology book Star Wars: Before the Awakening (2015) by Greg Rucka.[11][12] The trooper, armed with a "Z6 baton" and dubbed "TR-8R" by fans, quickly inspired multiple memes and fan art.[11][13][14] Actor/director Kevin Smith also voiced a stormtrooper in the Takodana sequence.[15]

In Star Wars Rebels, different voice actors have provided the voices of the stormtroopers, including David Acord, Dee Bradley Baker, Steven Blum, Clancy Brown, Robin Atkin Downes, Greg Ellis, Dave Fennoy, Dave Filoni, Tom Kane, Andrew Kishino, Phil LaMarr, Liam O'Brien, Freddie Prinze, Jr., André Sogliuzzo, Stephen Stanton, Greg Weisman, Gary Anthony Williams, and Matthew Wood.[16]

In Ralph Breaks the Internet, the Stormtroopers in the "Oh My Disney" website are voiced by Jesse Averna, Kevin Deters, Jeremy Milton, and Rich Moore.[17]


Skywalker saga

Introduced in Star Wars (1977), the Imperial stormtroopers serve as the army of the Galactic Empire, establishing Imperial authority and putting down any revolts.

In the prequel film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), the first clone troopers are cloned from bounty hunter Jango Fett, to be the Army of the Republic in the Clone Wars.[5] In Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Chancellor Palpatine orders them to slay their Jedi generals in the Great Jedi Purge, effectively making them stormtroopers.[18]

The Imperial Stormtrooper Corps swell in size after Palpatine completely replaced the clones with recruits and conscripts of the Empire, though the replacement of clones with natural beings lowered the effectiveness of the Empire's soldiers. With the Empire firmly stabilized and an Imperial Army and Navy established, the stormtroopers are integrated into Palpatine's personal army and stationed on Imperial bases and cruisers, as well as on the Death Star.

As established in The Force Awakens (2015), after Palpatine's death the stormtroopers continue to serve under the factions that broke apart from the Empire. With redesigned armor, they eventually serve under the leadership of the First Order.[19] In the First Order, an undisclosed number of stormtroopers are abducted as young children, given serial numbers for names and mentally conditioned for loyal service.[20] Stormtrooper FN-2187, later known as Finn, plans his escape when his resistance to this conditioning puts him in line to be reprogrammed.[20] Additionally, Rey's goggles were based on scavenged stormtrooper lenses.[21]

Other appearances

The upcoming streaming series The Mandalorian, which is set after the fall of the Empire, will portray stormtroopers as freelance mercenaries.[22]

Star Wars Legends media such as games and comics feature a number of specialized stormtrooper units. The Marvel-produced comics of the late 1970s and early 1980s featured Shadow Troopers. Other specialists have included commandos and troopers equipped to work in the vacuum of outer space, such as the zero gravity Spacetroopers depicted engaging in extra vehicular battle in the 1991 novel Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, and its 1995 Dark Horse Comics adaptation.

Others, such as the Beach Troopers, are for comical effect, being projected as Stormtroopers relaxing at the beach. Appearing only briefly in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, they are clad in a Speedo and stormtrooper helmet. In Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, they also wear life jackets. A distinct variant known as "Shadowtroopers" appear in Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, wearing black armour that incorporates a lightsaber-resistant mineral called cortosis. As a project of the Dark Jedi named Desann aligned with a Remnant of the Empire, the Shadowtroopers themselves had been immersed in a Force nexus on Ruusan, temporarily empowering them with Force sensitivity. This armour has a green synthetic gem set into the breastplate which sustained the otherwise temporary effect of their Force empowerment and combines with their abilities to render them near-invisible, with only a faint area of blue discoloration giving them away. In conjunction with their Force-granted telekinesis, reflexes, and agility, the Shadowtroopers are armed and trained in the use of mass-produced red lightsabers. Their combination of abilities allow them to lie in wait and ambush the enemy, representing formidable opponents even for trained Jedi, most often the game's Jedi protagonist, Kyle Katarn. Shadow stormtroopers appear in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and wear exactly the same type of Phase III armor as normal stormtroopers but not white in color, but rather a mixture of silver, grey and red detailing. These troopers also possess the invisible feature and use this tactic to ambush their enemies, but only if stormtrooper officers call out for support.


The military philosophy of the Galactic Empire was internally focused and heavily incorporated the "Tarkin-doctrine", which mandated "rule through fear of force", rather than "force itself", would ensure peace and stability across the galaxy. Unlike their Clone Wars predecessors, Imperial stormtroopers were primarily an internal security and peacekeeping force that had never faced large scale conflict until the latter years of the Galactic Civil War. Disloyalty or failures were heavily punished and individualism was discouraged; command structure was sacred and disobeying orders (no matter how irrational) was forbidden. This meant Imperial Stormtroopers lacked improvisation and were highly ineffective when cut off from command, but also allowed the best trained soldiers who prefer death over retreat.

Unable to conscript millions of soldiers to fill its stormtrooper ranks, yet unwilling to switch back to using a rapidly produced clone troopers, First Order stormtroopers are bred, trained and indoctrinated from birth, raised their entire lives for no other purpose. First Order soldiers and crews have constantly trained for combat in war games and simulations, making them much more effective one-on-one than the endless waves of stormtrooper conscripts fielded by the Galactic Empire. First Order stormtroopers are regularly put through mental indoctrination and propaganda programs, to make sure that they remain fanatically loyal and never hesitate or question orders. Being taken from their families at birth, these soldiers are not even given individual names for themselves but merely serial numbers, such as "FN-2187".[23]





As established in the original Star Wars trilogy of films, the troopers' most distinctive equipment is their white battle armor, which completely encases the body and typically has no individually distinguishing markings. Their helmets are thermoregulated for trooper comfort and may be fitted with transparent lenses or holographic image generators.[24]

Based on conceptual drawings by Ralph McQuarrie, Liz Moore and Nick Pemberton sculpted designs for the helmet, Brian Muir sculpted armor pieces for the stormtrooper costume. Muir, who was also responsible for sculpting the Darth Vader costume, worked out of the Art Department at Elstree Studios. The suit was molded and initially cast in plaster, with Muir sharpening the detail at the plaster stage. The plaster casts were then remolded and cast in fiberglass to use as the "tools" for the vacuum forming process. The suits were produced in house by Tashy Baines, the resident vacuum former, but then a problem developed with the machine. As Shepperton Design Studios had already been used to vacuum form the helmets, the fiberglass molds for the armor were then sent to them for vacuum forming the suits. By the end of production, two different helmets were produced; one for the common stunt trooper and a second design for close-ups. Fifty stunt helmets were produced in white-painted HDPE and six hero helmets were produced in white ABS plastic. Besides the material used, the two designs can be differentiated by differences in the eyes, the ears, and the mouth area.

The prequel films establish the clone troopers as predecessors to the stormtroopers, and they were also the first generation of stormtroopers after the fall of the Republic.[25] Clone trooper armor is typically shown to have various colorings to denote rank or unit.

The copyright status of the armor design has undergone legal challenges.[26] A 2004 lawsuit by Lucasfilm against one of the original prop designers, Andrew Ainsworth, who had been selling helmet replicas, confirmed the design to be under copyright in the US.[26] However, a 2011 UK court decision in Ainsworth's favor deemed the costume to be industrial design, which is protected there only for 15 years.[26] This puts the armor design in the public domain in the UK, and likely throughout the European Union.[26]

The helmet and armor were redesigned for the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens by costume designer Michael Kaplan with input from director J. J. Abrams.[27]

501st Legion

The 501st Legion Elite Stormtrooper Unit, or "Vader's Fist", is a stormtrooper unit from the Star Wars movies and Star Wars Legends continuity. Commanded by the ruthlessly cunning General Maximilian Veers and composed of the best trained soldiers in the Star Wars galaxy, the legion earned a fierce reputation for completing missions considered unwinnable or suicidal. The 501st serves as Darth Vader’s personal death squadron, whom he leads in the Jedi extermination. The 501st spearhead the assault upon the Tantive IV consular ship, and capture Princess Leia. During the Battle of Hoth, the 501st is instrumental in the destruction of the Rebel Alliance base, and nearly succeeds in capturing the Millennium Falcon. Most of the background story linked to the 501st comes from Star Wars novels and games Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars The Force Unleashed.[28]

The elite 501st designation is resurrected by Grand Admiral Thrawn, who in the Thrawn trilogy is charged with the defense of the "Hand of the Empire" imperial remnant forces. Thrawn's 501st is composed of aliens, humans and Jango Fett clones.

The First Order’s 501st units wear stark white armor derived from that worn by the Republic's clone troopers and the Empire’s stormtroopers. Members of this new generation of stormtroopers are trained from birth, growing up with unit designations instead of names and fed a steady diet of First Order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty. Where the Empire opted for numbing routine, the First Order’s training simulations and live-fire drills encourage improvisation on the battlefield, making these stormtroopers more dangerous than their Imperial predecessors. The Legion's name is based on a fan organization of the same name; their inclusion in the official continuity was based on the worldwide organization's dedication to Star Wars fandom.[29]


Within the Skywalker Saga trilogies, several types of "military occupation specialist" stormtrooper units are seen. These include:

Imperial variants

  • Sand Troopers seen on the desert world of Tatooine during Star Wars (1977). Sandtroopers can be distinguished by their large, black, white or orange shoulder pad, slightly different markings on the rear of their helmets, a diamond-shaped knee-plate, and stomach armor different from that of the regular stormtroopers.
  • Shock Troopers Are the red version of the Storm troopers. They sometimes carry long rifles or electrostaffs.
  • Snow Troopers seen in the assault on Echo Base in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) on Hoth and in the video games Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy and Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64 (as well as Lego Star Wars II and Star Wars Battlefront (2015) are regular stormtroopers clad in subzero armor. Their helmets and armor are different, with goggles and a breather hood.
  • Scout Troopers are first seen in Return of the Jedi (1983). They are trained in advanced reconnaissance and survival skills for all terrains, and are also seen in Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II as marksman and scout snipers.
  • Death Troopers are elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, encased in specialized armor with a dark, ominous gleam. These soldiers serve as bodyguards and enforcers for VIP imperial individuals, such as Director Krennic and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Their name is derived from the Legends novel Death Troopers, and, in canon, these troopers are named so because of rumors that they are zombie-like fighters. [30]
  • Dark Troopers have made various appearances in Star Wars Legends material, often with varying designs. They are commonly depicted as dark-armored cybernetically enhanced humans, or in some variations Droids used in small numbers by the Empire.
  • Shoretroopers, or Scarif Stormtroopers, are stormtrooper specialists stationed at the top secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, where the soldiers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.[31]
  • Combat assault tank pilots and commanders, or Tank Troopers, operate the Empire’s arsenal of armored repulsor vehicles, from troop transports to heavily armored hovertanks. Combat drivers are lightly armored, relying instead on the thick skin of their vehicles to protect them in battle. The commander stays in contact with his crew and with headquarters to keep updated on changing combat conditions.[32]
  • Imperial Patrol Troopers, are enforcement based stormtroopers, commonly found in cities. They have only been seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and have been seen driving Imperial speeders.
  • Mud Troopers, seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, are apart of the Empire. They wear gas masks and goggles, as well as camouflaged armour and cloaks. Han Solo serves as a Mud Trooper on Mimban for three years before abandoning his role there.
  • Shadow Troopers, or Black Hole Troopers, are an elite special-ops trooper type only seen in Star Wars Legends material. Assigned to the Empire's mysterious Shadow Guard, one of their most prominent appearances is in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, where they have shiny, reflective black armor that allows them to become invisible. Shadow Troopers reappeared in Star Wars Battlefront, which re-introduced them back into the Star Wars canon.
  • Purge Troopers, used by the Imperial Inquisitors, who are not featured in the Skywalker saga movies. They are black with red markings, and their helmets are a different style than that of normal Stormtroopers. They use weapons such as flamethrowers, rocket launchers, heavy blasters, electrostaffs, DC-15 blasters, and sniper rifles. Their purpose was security detail for the Inquisitors — enforcing their will and aiding the hunt for Jedi.[33]

First Order variants

  • Flame Troopers advance in conjunction with standard First Order infantry. These specialized units flush out entrenched enemies with roaring sheets of flame from their flamethrowers. They wear backpack-style propellant tanks, special helmets with slit-like lenses that reduce glare, and temperature-control body gloves beneath their armor.[34]
  • Riot Control Troopers in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), specialize in riot control and use non-lethal betaplast shields and Z6 batons.[11][12][35]
  • Snow Troopers are assigned to frigid planets. They wear specialized armor and gear that let them operate effectively in icy conditions. Snowtroopers carry a backpack-style personal environment unit and wear insulated helmets with glare-reducing slit lenses, gloves, a kama, and a heat-resistant body glove beneath an oversuit of wind-resistant fabric. Snowtrooper teams scouted the planet that once housed Starkiller Base, eliminating native life forms that posed a potential threat.[36]
  • Stormtrooper Executioners are a branch of military police specialists specifically founded to dispense final justice toward Stormtroopers who are found guilty of treason.[37]
  • Sith Troopers, the new uniform sports all-red armor plates with a matching red and black blaster. Also decorating the armor is a slightly more textured pattern, although the overall design is reminiscent of past clone troopers.[38] Named after the Sith, an ancient order of Force-users devoted to the dark side of the Force, these troopers drew power and inspiration from such order's dark legacy and were the next evolution of First Order stormtroopers.

Cultural impact

Stormtroopers have become cultural icons, and a widely recognized element of the Star Wars franchise.[39] In 2015, an Imperial stormtrooper helmet from The Empire Strikes Back that was expected to sell at auction for $92,000[40] sold for $120,000.[41] In 2019, a team of biologists named a new genus of Colombian spiders, Stormtropis, after the stormtroopers,[42] noting the spiders, like the fictional soldiers, are "very similar to each other, with some capacity for camouflage but with unskillful movements".[43]

See also


  1. Star Wars | The Evolution of the Stormtrooper
  2. Guenette, Robert, director. The Making of Star Wars: as Told by C-3PO and R2D2. Films Inc., 1977.
  3. Rinzler, J.W (2007). The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film. Del Rey. ISBN 0345477618.
  4. Fashingbauer Cooper, Gael (August 26, 2016). "Stormtrooper who bonked head in original Star Wars movie has died". CNET. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  5. Capps, Kriston (November 28, 2014). "Of Course There Are Black Stormtroopers in Star Wars". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  6. Freer, Ian (December 17, 2015). "FN-2187: why John Boyega's stormtrooper number holds the key to Star Wars". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  7. Robinson, Joanna (May 4, 2015). "First Official Look at Game of Thrones Star Gwendoline Christie in Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on December 28, 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  8. Robinson, Joanna (December 20, 2015). "24 Delightful Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cameos You Might Have Missed". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  9. Pehanick, Maggie (December 17, 2015). "Daniel Craig's Star Wars: The Force Awakens cameo revealed! Here's Who He Plays". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  10. "Confirmed: Daniel Craig's cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens". The Sun. January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  11. "Meet FN-2199, a.k.a. TR-8R: The Stormtrooper Behind the Meme". January 7, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  12. "First Order Riot Control Stormtroopers". Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  13. Franich, Darren (January 7, 2016). "The awesome stormtrooper from Force Awakens has a name". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  14. Calia, Michael (January 7, 2016). "Learn the Backstory of 'TR-8R', the Breakout Stormtrooper From The Force Awakens". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  15. Dornbush, Jonathon (January 28, 2016). "Kevin Smith voiced a stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  16. "Voice(s) of Stormtrooper". Behind The Voice Actors. December 15, 2017.
  17. "Ralph Breaks the Internet - Press Kit" (PDF). Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  18. Nicholas, Christopher (2017). Star Wars: I Am a Jedi. Little Golden Books. Illustrated by Chris Kennett. p. 4. ISBN 978-0736435765.
  19. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
  20. Asher-Perrin, Emily (March 30, 2016). "Cloned, Recruited, and Kidnapped: Military Evolution in the Star Wars Universe". Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  21. Szostak, Phil (2015). The Art of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'. Abrams Books. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-4197-1780-2.
  22. Hibberd, James (September 5, 2019). "'The Mandalorian' unmasked: 'We did things no "Star Wars" fan has ever seen'". Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  23. Hidalgo, Pablo (2015). Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary. New York, N.Y.: DK. ISBN 978-1-4654-3816-4.
  24. Reynolds, David West (1998). Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary. DK. p. 37. ISBN 9780789434814.
  25. "Stormtroopers". Lucasfilm Ltd. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  26. Jackson, Peter (July 27, 2011). "Lucas loses Star Wars copyright case at Supreme Court". BBC News. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  27. Castillo, Monica (May 21, 2015). "Star Wars 7 Spoilers: Costume Designer Reveals Inspiration Behind New Stormtrooper Design In The Force Awakens". International Business Times. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  28. Colayco, Bob (November 4, 2005). "Star Wars: Battlefront II Review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  29. "510st Legion". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm Ltd. Archived from the original on 2010-12-09. Retrieved 2010-12-09. In recognition of such fandom, the 501st and its fan-created backstory of being Darth Vader's personal legion of stormtroopers known as "Vader's Fist" have now actually been adopted into official Star Wars continuity.
  30. "Imperial Death Trooper". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  31. "Shoretroopers". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  32. "Imperial combat assault tank commanders". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  33. › wiki › Purge_Trooper_(Anoat_sector)
  34. "First Order Flametroopers". Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  35. Keyes, Rob (September 4, 2015). "Star Wars 7: The First Order's Superweapon Eclipses The Death Stars". Screen Rant. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  36. "First Order Snowtroopers". Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  37. "First Order Stormtrooper Executioner". Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  38. Star Wars | The Evolution of the Stormtrooper
  39. Phillips, Jevon (December 4, 2015). "How a faceless force of Stormtroopers and the 501st Legion do good". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  40. "Rare Trek, Star Wars and Who props up for auction (pictures)". CNET. August 27, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  41. Holmes, Mannie (October 8, 2015). "Empire Strikes Back Stormtrooper Helmet Fetches $120,000 at Auction". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  42. Stein, Vicky (15 March 2019). "This new 'army' of spiders is named after Star Wars stormtroopers". PBS NewsHour.
  43. Perafán, C.; Galvis, W.; Pérez-Miles, F. (2019). "The first Paratropididae (Araneae, Mygalomorphae) from Colombia: new genus, species and records". ZooKeys. 830: 1–31. doi:10.3897/zookeys.830.31433. PMC 6428803.
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