The Empire has a legion of loyal soldiers that are in endless supply.—Darth Vader, Star Wars Empire: Betrayal
Stormtroopers were the elite shock troopers of the Galactic Empire. Like Imperial-class Star Destroyers and TIE Fighters, stormtroopers served as ever present reminders of the Emperor's power, extensions of his will, and a method of keeping the Empire's thousands of star systems in line through fear.
Members of the Rebel Alliance SpecForce had several terms for stormtroopers, including whitehats, plastic soldiers, and snowmen. Another slang term for stormtroopers was the "Boys in White". Also, another was "Stormies", and was used often by Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn.
The clone troopers, now proudly bearing the honorable rank of Imperial stormtroopers, have tackled the dangerous work of fighting our enemies on the front lines. Many have died in their devotion to the Empire. Imperial citizens would do well to remember their example.
The first stormtroopers were clone troopers that survived the Clone Wars. Renamed by Palpatine's Declaration of a New Order, these clones of Jango Fett were immediately supplemented by three new stormtrooper clone batches grown in the Outer Rim Territories after the Battle of Kamino in 10 BBY. Lacking the guidance of the Jedi Generals, stormtroopers were "cut loose" to brutally enforce the new Imperial doctrine, quickly building a reputation as merciless, destructive, and endless in number.
Even in the early years of the Galactic Empire, traces of the Fett-template stormtroopers remained in the armor of the Imperial soldiers. During Darth Vader's personal siege of Kashyyyk in his search of the fugitive Jedi, he led squads of clone stormtroopers, including one of Vader's favorite clones, Commander Appo, presumably those of 501st Legion, against the Wookiee warriors. These troops wore armor identical to those of the more recognizable stormtrooper armor made infamous throughout the Galactic Civil War, except for the vertical visor plate extending from under the main visors. This small detail was the Imperial stormtroopers' last link to the Phase II clone armor worn in the late years of the Clone Wars.
By the time the Galactic Civil War began in earnest, Fett's progeny were heavily supplemented with clones from new DNA sources and vast numbers of troopers recruited in the traditional manner; non-clone stormtrooper recruits had first been introduced in 9 BBY. Despite this influx of new trooper sources, the ranks remained exclusively Human, an obvious sign of the New Order's High Human Culture. By 0 BBY, about one-third of the stormtroopers originated from the Fett DNA, with recruits filling out the ranks. It is assumed that the Empire began to clone less as more and more recruits were added into the corps.
For twenty-three years, the stormtroopers suffered few known large scale defeats; that changed at the Battle of Endor. An entire legion of stormtroopers, supported by AT-STs suffered an unexpected and embarrassing defeat. Despite superior numbers, advanced weapons, and superb training, they were defeated by a small Rebel Alliance force and Ewoks, small and seemingly insignificant natives of Endor that Palpatine naturally overlooked as less than a minor threat. This was a devastating mistake for which the Empire, and the Emperor himself, would soon pay the ultimate price.
The stormtroopers were caught completely by surprise; in their arrogance, they began to break rank and divide into small groups to hunt down the Ewoks. This allowed the Ewoks to systematically wipe out each small group of stormtroopers one by one. When news spread of not only Palpatine's and Vader's deaths, but also the defeat of the mighty Imperial stormtroopers against a small band of Rebels and a relatively primitive race on a backwater forest moon, various worlds took advantage of the situation and rebelled against the Empire's military. With the death of their master and their reputation in shambles, the once feared stormtroopers fell into a long decline. They would not truly recover from their fall from grace for more than a hundred years to come.
The Imperial Remnant continued from then on to use stormtroopers in battle until the Bastion Accords was signed some years after. However, they suffered extremely high casualties. Following the treaty, stormtroopers became little more than guards and police officers on Remnant worlds, though they fought along with their New Republic and Galactic Federation of Free Alliances contemporaries against the Yuuzhan Vong.
Stormtroopers would also be used by other Imperial groups including the Second Imperium and the Empire of the Hand. Grand Admiral Thrawn used the Spaarti cloning cylinders hidden in the storehouse of Mount Tantiss to clone stormtroopers for his future armada of Dreadnaught-class cruisers. This was discovered after comparing genetic statistics of the bodies of Imperial troops found on Katana after the Battle for the Katana fleet.
While the Imperial Remnant slowly regained its former strength, Palpatine's ideals of Human male superiority began to die with him. Eventually, leadership of the Imperial Remnant began to become more open-minded, with little to no regard for Palpatine's prejudiced views, as it had been one of the primary causes of numerous rebellions that gradually brought the Galactic Empire to its knees by the New Republic and many internal struggles between Imperial warlords for the now empty throne.
With the ranks of the Stormtrooper Corps being gradually filled by birth-born recruits of human and non-human species alike, it is most likely that the once heavy reliance on clones diminished over time. Other reasons for the decline in the use of cloned soldiers may include the loss of Kamino and other various worlds where the Empire held countless cloning facilities.
Due to the facts that the best and most effective clones grown through Kaminoan technology took approximately one decade to reach fighting age and the clones grown through Spaarti technology were about as effective as mindless battle droids, the Empire was left with little to no choice but to now rely on the patriotism and training of recruits rather than the programmed loyalty and unparalleled fighting ability of clones.
As of 130 ABY, stormtroopers were serving in Emperor Roan Fel's new Galactic Empire, though by this time, the Stormtrooper Corps had been absorbed into the Imperial Army and had also become a mixed-species organization—due in part to the inclusion of non-Humans into the ranks of the 501st Legion, itself still in operation at this time. By this time, even females were officially allowed to serve as stormtroopers, though the old Empire had had them among the stormtrooper ranks at times. The Imperial stormtroopers returned to prominence when they fought against the Galactic Alliance forces in the Sith-Imperial War, and aided in the Massacre of Ossus.
Ironically, the re-conquest of the galaxy by the new Galactic Empire, thanks in part to the fighting prowess of the dedicated and loyal stormtroopers, was a short-lived return to glory. Seven years after Darth Krayt usurped the Imperial throne, Emperor Roan Fel re-surfaced and captured Bastion itself, relying solely on Imperial loyalists, such as the 501st Legion and the 908th Stormtrooper Division. As of 137 ABY, the galaxy was once again engulfed in turmoil as various stormtrooper units took sides between the usurper Darth Krayt and the true Emperor Roan Fel.
After the Emperor decided that an army of clone soldiers, based on one template was too susceptible to corruption, the stormtrooper ranks were opened to not only clones of various genomes other than Jango Fett's DNA, but also millions of recruits as well. For a time, the stormtroopers were evenly balanced between clones and recruits until cloning became a rare commodity that the Imperial Remnant could afford. If a man between the ages of 18 and 30 scored in the top fifth percentile, an Imperial recruiting agent would contact him and presumably arrange DNA sampling for cloning. Men who didn't score that high were still wanted as regular soldiers. Also, it was preferable if stormtrooper recruits met a certain standard in height and weight. Princess Leia Organa was seemingly familiar with these standards by 0 BBY, perhaps as a result of her work with the Imperial Senate.
By the time of the Second Imperial Civil War, long after the end of the original Empire, the vast majority of stormtroopers were composed primarily of enlisted soldiers recruited from both human and various non-human species alike. Whether or not clone stormtroopers were still created, or had been completely phased out by the use of enlisted personnel, is generally unknown.
- Main article: Stormtrooper Corps
The Stormtrooper Corps was not directly tied to the Imperial Army or Navy, and instead maintained its own command structure, ranking system, and support facilities. Stormtroopers were loyal only to the Emperor, and only followed orders from Army and Navy personnel at their discretion.
The basic unit of organization was the individual trooper. Each stormtrooper was assigned a number for tactical purposes and to reinforce the Imperial ethic of uniformity. Troopers were organized into squads, platoons, companies, battalions, regiments, and legions. A company commander could give command to any regular officer over any given squad or platoon. A single battalion consisted of 820 soldiers—whereas a battalion of Galactic Republic clone troopers comprised only 576 men.
As of 130 ABY, the stormtroopers were apparently part of the Imperial Army, although the individual stormtrooper units remained elite forces.
Stormtrooper officers were traditionally non-clone graduates from the Imperial Academy, but Imperial stormtroopers who proved leadership traits in combat could be ranked up to the officer mark. In battle, commissioned stormtrooper officers wore standard stormtrooper armor with rank insignia to indicate status. Non-commissioned officers were identified in the field with shoulder pauldrons instead of the standard rank squares worn over the armor. For non-combat situations, officers wore a black tunic and pants dress uniform, including a cap, boots, gloves, and standard rank squares. The Stormtrooper officer rank was a stepping stone to achieving Imperial officer rank, as Stormtrooper officers were still under Imperial officers. Imperial stormtroopers also could undertake the rank of Stormtrooper Commander through this system of rank.
By 137 ABY, it appears that the ranking system used by clone troopers at the beginning of the Clone Wars was in use again.
Now, that's a picture, isn't it? The Emperor's stormtroopers setting the example for good manners. Like arming protocol droids with blasters.—Han Solo, Before the Storm
In addition to their military role as elite soldiers, stormtroopers constituted an important part of Palpatine's New Order. Stormtrooper training was accompanied by thorough indoctrination to Imperial ideology, above and beyond what the normal military was exposed to, and stormtroopers were closely associated with the Emperor himself. This was particularly significant in light of the tensions between the Emperor and the Navy. For instance, the stormtroopers deployed to the Death Star were, arguably, largely there to ensure the immensely powerful battle station remained in the Emperor's control. Entirely immune from bribery or blackmail, the Stormtroopers ensured the Emperor's Will was carried out at all times, no matter the cost to themselves. Through the extremely militaristic, disciplined lifestyle they lead, the Stormtroopers understood their expendable nature to the Emperor, and respected it completely.
However, despite the death of both Palpatine and Darth Vader, the ideology of the stormtroopers proved to be one of the few enduring legacies left behind by the last Sith Lords of Darth Bane's order. Despite their substantial losses caused by the Battle of Endor and the fracturing of the Galactic Empire, the remaining Imperials well understood that in order for the Empire to continue in one form or another, the stormtroopers could not be allowed to follow Vader and Palpatine into oblivion.
With the practical fall of the Empire and the unrelenting rise of the New Republic, desperate times called for desperate measures. In order to replenish the depleted ranks of the Stormtrooper Corps, women and aliens were officially admitted to serve as stormtroopers, thus resulting in three significant outcomes: the virtual end of High Human Culture, the end of the Stormtrooper Corps as the nigh-exclusive province of male Humans (ironically just as it had happened to the once pure Jango Fett clone army), and the gradual decline in the use of clone stormtroopers as birth-born recruits (humans and non-humans alike) became the majority and new source of stormtroopers. This new policy, decidedly more open-minded than the one under Palpatine's oppressive reign, continued onward as of 137 ABY, where it is unknown if clones (especially those of the Jango Fett stock) were still created to serve as stormtroopers.
Throughout this entire time, even during the point when it seemed as though the Empire was on the verge of total destruction, the ideology of the stormtroopers as the greatest military force in galactic history was never forgotten. They were a testament to the might of the Galactic Empire, the legacy of Kamino's greatest creation: the Grand Army of the Republic, and a symbol of the Imperial way of bringing order and peace through force of arms.
Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.—Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
The BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle was the standard issue weapon of the Corps and one of the most commonly issued rifles in the Empire; although it proved more powerful compared to the DC-15 blaster rifles, it was also known to be less accurate. The blaster was largely based on the DC-15 blasters used by clone troopers during the Clone Wars, right down to the folding stock. All stormtroopers, excluding those assigned to heavy or special weapons, carried an E-11 along with a SE-14r sidearm. Some elite troopers wielded the deadly DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle, which was more powerful, and more accurate compared to the E-11 blaster rifle. During the Empire Reborn, Stormtrooper squad leaders were armed with Golan Arms FC-1 Flechettes. The DLT-20A blaster rifles were sometimes used by stormtroopers also.
All stormtroopers also had a cylindrical thermal detonator attached to the small of their back, on their torso armor. Like almost everything else on a typical Stormtrooper uniform, the detonator casing and buttons were not labeled, merely blank white in color. This was done deliberately in order to reduce the chance that an enemy would be able to arm the detonator if it were captured. Even a person who somehow knew the way to input the code would have to learn what it was. Each thermal detonator arming code was unique, known only to the soldier to whom the device was issued. The individual detonator code, along with designation codes and rank, were the only semblances of individuality that the troopers were allowed.
Around 130 ABY, stormtroopers were equipped with ARC-9965 blasters and are used alongside the E-11 blaster rifle.
- Main article: Stormtrooper armor
Before stormtrooper armor was developed, the first stormtroopers used Phase II clone trooper armor after the transition from the Republic to the Empire. It is unknown how long this was the case, but the Battle of Naboo in 18 BBY featured stormtroopers. If this is the case, they may have been in the Phase II armor for a few months before a transition to the later, distinct, and developed stormtrooper armor.
During the first years of the Empire, the Stormtrooper Corps, still composed of only Jango Fett clones, were forced to remove the color designs on their armor, used to designate legion or corps affiliation, to which the clones had worn with pride while serving under the old Jedi Order. This was due to the new Imperial protocol of uniformity. Thus, the first stormtroopers returned to their previous appearance of stark-white armored soldiers. This tradition would carry on into the new stormtrooper armor, and to the armor of the Legacy era as well.
I'm takin' you down, plastic boy!—Anonymous Rebel trooper, Star Wars: Battlefront II
This armor was 18 pieces of white plastoid-composite body armor over a sealed black body glove. In this respect it appeared similar to the armor worn by their predecessors of the Clone Wars. The complete ensemble encased the body, and typically had no individually distinguishing marking outside of rank—so much so that casual first-time observers would sometimes mistake the stormtroopers for some form of battle droids.
The armor also protected the troopers from very harsh environments as well as projectiles and impact weapons. The armor might be penetrated by a direct blaster bolt, but would significantly reduce damage from the absorbed bolt. Blast energy sinks were distributed around the armor to absorb energy from a blaster bolt. The insulated body glove allowed for comfortable operations in an very wide range of climates, including—for a very short time—even total vacuum conditions, or immense extremes of cold and heat. In this respect, it could be argued that the armor was much less suited to battle than its clone armor predecessor, and much more suitable as a high-tech survival suit.
In certain situations, stormtroopers or other specialized Imperial soldiers would sometimes wear camouflage armor to help them blend in with different environments, as the clone swamp troopers of the old clone army did. The Stormtrooper Corps instituted this reform after the embarrassing defeat at the Battle of Endor.
By 130 ABY, many variants of stormtrooper armor were made for non-Human and female recruits serving in the Imperial Army. The general appearance of the armor had only minor changes, however.
Some special features include a wrist comlink, a small battle holocam built into the helmet, a proper resonator (to open secure doors) built into their armor, and an external helmet light. For extended operations, stormtroopers carried field backpacks that included a personal tent, five concentrated rations, fifteen water packs, eight blaster power packs, and a glowrod.
There were several subgroups in the Stormtrooper Corps with training and equipment for particular mission profiles, generally sorted by the type of environment the trooper would encounter.
- Aquatic assault stormtrooper: sea troopers.
- Bombtroopers: explosive-specialist stormtroopers.
- Coruscant Guards: Coruscant Police stormtroopers.
- Crowd Control Stormtroopers
- Dark troopers: special droid stormtroopers.
- Exogen-class dark trooper: a dark trooper variant used by the Galactic Empire.
- Dark novatrooper: a dark trooper variant.
- Glory-class dark trooper: another dark trooper variant.
- Purge trooper: dark trooper variant specialized for anti-Jedi combat
- Triumphant-class dark trooper half droid half stormtrooper.
- EVO troopers: hazardous environment stormtroopers
- Force-sensitive stormtroopers: lightsaber-wielding stormtroopers cloned from a Force-sensitive template.
- Hazard troopers: corrosion-/temperature-armored stormtroopers.
- Heavy troopers: electrostaff-wielding close combat specialists
- Heavy weapon specialist: stormtroopers equipped with heavy weapons.
- Imperial Marines: specialize in boarding actions.
- Incinerator troopers: flamethrower-equipped stormtroopers
- Imperial Navy commandos: Light-armoured Stormtroopers also used by the Emperor's Elite Scout-force Bureau
- ISB Stormtroopers: intelligence gathering Stormtroopers used by the Imperial Security Bureau
- Jump troopers: aerial assault stormtroopers
- Magma troopers: volcanic environment stormtroopers.
- Minetroopers: Sevarcos II spice mine security troopers.
- NightWhispers: Elite units often sent on missions which required stealth actions in order to gain access to the enemy.
- Novatroopers: elite stormtroopers.
- Radtroopers: radioactive zone assault stormtroopers.
- Sandtroopers: desert stormtroopers.
- Scout troopers: biker/scout stormtroopers.
- Shadow stormtroopers: stealth stormtroopers (also called Blackhole stormtroopers because of use under Agent Blackhole).
- Shadowtroopers (Empire Reborn): Dark Jedi-stormtrooper hybrid.
- Shock troopers: specialist stormtroopers.
- Snowtroopers: cold assault stormtroopers.
- Storm commandos: special mission/stealth stormtroopers.
- Swamp troopers: swamp assault stormtroopers.
- T'Syriél stormtroopers: elite stormtroopers recruited from the T'Syriél
- Zero-G assault stormtrooper or spacetrooper
Occasionally, stormtroopers would pilot TIE/ln starfighters in atmospheric environments, as was the case of the unnamed Alderaanian stormtrooper serving under Moff Wessel on Yinchorr, who managed to shoot down Princess Leia. One can assume that stormtroopers assigned to TIE fighter duties must have received more or less specialized training, though there is no evidence of the existence of a special TIE Fighter-based stormtrooper unit.
Stormtroopers were one of the bases of the New Order during Palpatine's reign, so were exclusively Humans or clones of Humans. An exception to this were the T'Syriél stormtroopers recruited from among the alien T'Syriél by General Sk'ar.  Sk'ar himself was an alien Kaleesh, which explains why he was prepared to deviate from standard Imperial recruitment policy. Later, there was a small corps of alien stormtroopers serving under Admiral Daala in the Imperial Remnant, until her resignation. Alien stormtroopers were more common in the Empire of the Hand and also Emperor Fel's Empire some 130 years ABY.
The Imperial Security Bureau had its own stormtroopers, that operated outside the command structure of the Stormtrooper Corps. As they were identical to normal stormtroopers in appearance, they were sometimes used to infiltrate standard units of stormtroopers to ensure that assigned tasks were properly accomplished. A good example of this was an attack against Rebel sympathizers on Teardrop in 0 ABY. ISB Stormtroopers noticed that stormtrooper Daric LaRone was deliberately not shooting civilians. ISB troopers were more questioning of their orders than standard stormtroopers, as shown when two ISB Stormtroopers betrayed the Emperor's Hand Mara Jade, while she was infiltrating a pirate base on Gepparin. They were often attached to ISB tactical units.
Not that it matters how many stormtroopers die. There must be a factory that stamps them out.—Kirtan Loor, X-wing: Rogue Squadron
Behind the scenesEdit
Stormtroopers, as depicted in the early drafts of Star Wars and envisioned by Ralph McQuarrie, were to wield lightsabers and hand-held shields.
George Lucas, when composing background information for licensees 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. As a result, few female stormtroopers are depicted in Expanded Universe sources.
According to several Expanded Universe sources, it would appear that by the time of the Galactic Civil War, stormtroopers were no longer exclusively clones. In Star Wars Empire 36: The Wrong Side of the War, Part 1, following the Imperial assault on Jabiim, Janek Sunber checks his surviving troops. At this point he comments that none of the regular Human troops under his command survived the battle and we are given a look at a group of blue-eyed and blonde clones, obviously a newer template. Sunber also says that the clones in the army are tough and he heard that during the Clone Wars they were even tougher. So, it would seem that with the expansion of the military following the rise of the Galactic Empire, new clone templates were created and regular Humans recruited partly because the lifespan of a Jango clone was roughly half that of an ordinary Human. Thus, a steady stream of clone and non-clone replacements would be required to fill the ranks of the stormtroopers.
The first source to mention that there are clones in the stormtrooper ranks was Soldiers of the Empire!, an article that appeared in Star Wars Official Poster Monthly 4 (January 1978). Unfortunately, this article fell into deep obscurity (most fans still have not heard of it). As a result, most EU authors prior to the prequel trilogy believed that all stormtroopers were recruits. Many Expanded Universe sources mentioned Imperial academies (such as on Carida) and normal human stormtroopers such as Davin Felth and Kyle Katarn. After the prequel trilogy was released, a retcon was necessary to shoe clones into the stormtrooper ranks to mesh these EU sources with the movies and 1978 article.
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy introduced a new, non-canon stormtrooper type known as the "beach trooper". They wore a standard helmet and swimming shorts, and could be found resting in hot tubs throughout some levels.
Stormtroopers were named after Imperial German Stormtroopers, special troops who were tasked in the last year of World War I with mounting fierce infantry assaults on Allied trenches in an attempt to break the stalemate on the Western Front. However, many aspects of the branch of service, such as their unwavering obedience to the Emperor, their reputation for excessive force, and their status as an independent element separate from the overall army bears some similarity to the Sturmabteilung (Lit: Assault Section) of the 1930's NSDAP party in Germany, as well as the Waffen-SS or "Armed SS" units that served as independent military formations controlled directly by the Nazi heirarchy and not the German High Command during World War Two.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- The Flight of the Falcon
- Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
- Moment of Doubt (Ambiguously canonical source)
- Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Tag & Bink Are Dead
- Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi
- Return of the Ewok
- The Return of Tag & Bink: Special Edition
- LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick
- LEGO Star Wars: The Han Solo Affair
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- Star Wars: Visions of the Blade
Notes and referencesEdit
- Imperial Army
- Jango Fett
- Phase II clone trooper armor
- Sarne's Stormtroopers
- Scout trooper
- Stormtrooper armor
- Stormtrooper Corps
- Stormtrooper effect
- What Happened To Han And Leia? How About Jar Jar? 'Star Wars' Emperor Lucas Speaks - MTV.com article where George Lucas discusses the transition from Clone troopers to stormtroopers
- Workers' Party
- 501st.com (Star Wars costuming group)
- Soldiers of the Empire - 1981 magazine articlede:Sturmtruppen