Stormtrooper (Star Wars)
|Star Wars character|
Stormtrooper at the Elf Fantasy Fair
The Imperial Stormtroopers are fictional soldiers from George Lucas' Star Wars universe. Stormtroopers are foot-soldiers for the Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the evil Sith Lord and Emperor Palpatine and his commanders, most notably Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin.
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the first troopers were cloned from bounty hunter Jango Fett, to be the Army of the Republic in the Clone Wars. In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the Clone troopers executed the Order 66 under command of Chancellor Palpatine, slaying their Jedi generals.
Initially, the stormtroopers serve as the army of the Galactic Empire, putting down revolts and establishing Imperial authority. They are the back bone of the Empire. The Stormtrooper Corps swell in size after Palpatine allows the addition of recruits and conscripts alongside the clones, though the replacement of clones by natural beings lowered the effectiveness of the Empire's famed soldiers.
When the Empire is firmly stabilized and an Imperial Army/Imperial Navy established, the stormtroopers become Palpatine's personal army and are stationed on Imperial bases and cruisers, as well as on the Death Star. After Palpatine's initial defeat, the storm troopers continued to serve under the factions that broke apart from the Empire after Palpatine's death.
Stormtrooper armor 
The troopers' most distinctive equipment is their white battle armor, inherited from their time as clone troopers. The complete armor set completely encases the body and typically has no individually distinguishing marking (in contrast to the clone trooper armor, which typically had various colorings to denote rank or unit, Stormtrooper armor has no rank affiliation). Liz Moore and Nick Pemberton sculpted designs for the helmet. Their designs were based on conceptual drawings by Ralph McQuarrie. The armor pieces of the costume were also designed from conceptual drawings by Ralph McQuarrie. Brian Muir, who was also responsible for sculpting Darth Vader, sculpted armor pieces for the stormtrooper costume in the Art Department at Elstree Studios. The suit was moulded and initially cast in plaster. Then Brian sharpened the detail at the plaster stage. The plaster casts were then remolded and cast in fibreglass to use as the "tools" for vacuum forming process. 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 armor has also been the subject of light humor for years regarding its functionality. This is due to it making its wearer easy to see, restricting his movement and range of vision, and seeming to offer no real protection from blaster fire.
The copyright status of the armor has undergone legal challenges. In the US it has been ruled to be under copyright. However a 2011 UK court decisions considered it to be industrial design, which is only protected for 15 years, and thus the armor is now in the public domain, but only in the UK.
Specialized stormtroopers 
Within the original Star Wars trilogy, a number of specialized Stormtrooper units are seen. These include:
- Sandtroopers seen on the desert world of Tatooine during Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. 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 different stomach armor to that of the regular Stormtroopers.
- Snowtroopers seen in the assault on Echo Base in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 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 Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64, as well as Lego Star Wars II are regular stormtroopers clad in subzero armor. Their helmets and armor are different, with goggles and a breather hood.
- Imperial Scout troopers seen in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. They are trained in survival skills for all terrains, and are also seen in Star Wars: Battlefront, Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed as snipers.
Within the Expanded Universe media such as games and comics, a number of specialized stormtrooper units are seen. 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 outer space. Others, such as the Beach Troopers, are for comical effect. Appearing only briefly in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, they are clad in a Speedo and the trademark stormtrooper helmet. In Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, they are also wearing life jackets. Shadowtroopers appear in Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast wearing black armor made from a lightsaber-resistant metal called "Cortosis". This armor has a green synthetic gem set into the breastplate which gives the wearer Force powers. Their armor can also render them near invisible, with only a small area of blue discoloration giving them away, they use this ability to lie in wait and ambush the prey, most often the game's 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, it is 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. However, according to Star Wars: Battlefront, they are droids.
Use in popular culture 
- During the January 1, 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade, the largest conglomeration of Imperial Stormtroopers ever marched in step. George Lucas served as Grand Marshal. The Stormtroopers were all part of the 501st Legion international fan costuming group.
- The Stormtrooper effect, a common cliché in action movies, was named after these soldiers and their poor marksmanship when encountering major protagonists.
- Members of The 501st Legion parade in Stormtrooper costumes, along with numerous other Star Wars characters at Star Wars Weekends.
- In the TV show How I Met Your Mother, Lily Aldrin assumed that the Stormtroopers were robots. When she found out that they were actually humans, she was shocked how the Rebellion could destroy the Death Star with so many of them on it.
See also 
- Star WarsBattlefront II, LucasArts
- Jackson, Peter (27 July 2011). "Lucas loses Star Wars copyright case at Supreme Court". BBC News. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Imperial stormtroopers|
- Stormtroopers in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia
- Stormtrooper on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki