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Stormtrooper (Star Wars)

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"Imperial Stormtroopers" redirects here. For other uses, see Stormtrooper (disambiguation).
Star Wars characters
Romics 2013 135.JPG
Stormtrooper cosplay at Romics 2013
First appearance Star Wars (1977)
Last appearance Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Created by George Lucas
Portrayed by
Species Human
Gender Male and female
Occupation Soldiers
Affiliation Galactic Empire
First Order

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), the stormtroopers serve the First Order, under the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke and his commanders, most notably Kylo Ren and General Hux.

The order of battle of the Stormtrooper Corps, is unspecified in the Star Wars universe, but its numbers are far fewer than those of the Imperial Army's regular troopers. Despite this, the apparently high combat effectiveness of the stormtroopers as well as their harsh reputation serve as the main reasons for deploying them almost exclusively in most of the military engagements of 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.


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.[1] In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), Chancellor Palpatine orders them to slay their Jedi generals in the Great Jedi Purge. The 501st Legion of clones become the first stormtroopers, while most other clones are executed or disbanded. [2]

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 lowers the effectiveness of the Empire's famed soldiers. With the Empire firmly stabilized and an Imperial Army/Imperial 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 Star Wars: 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.[3]



Stormtrooper Ranking
The rank system for Galactic Empire's stormtroopers[citation needed]

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.

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.[citation needed]

The prequel films establish the clone troopers as predecessors to the stormtroopers, and clone trooper armor typically is shown to have various colorings to denote rank or unit.[citation needed]

The copyright status of the armor design has undergone legal challenges.[4] A 2004 lawsuit by Lucasfilm against one of the original prop designers, UK citizen Andrew Ainsworth, who had been selling helmet replicas made with original molds, confirmed the design to be under copyright in the US.[4] However, a 2011 UK court decision in Ainsworth's favor deemed the costume to be industrial design, which is only protected there for 15 years.[4] This puts the armor design in the public domain in the UK, and likely throughout the European Union.[4]

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.[5]

Specialized stormtroopers[edit]

Shadow Trooper at Dragon Con

Within the original Star Wars trilogy, a number of specialized stormtrooper units are seen. These include:

Star Wars Legends expanded universe 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. 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. 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 enemy, 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 [clarification needed] 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.

Most of the stormtroopers shown onscreen have worn armor. However, at least one member of their uniformed officer corps has been seen, in Star Wars: A New Hope. He wears a uniform identical to that used by the Imperial military, but black in color.


While stormtrooper performers 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.[1] 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;[9] Gwendoline Christie portrays Captain Phasma, commander of the First Order's stormtroopers;[10] Daniel Craig has a small uncredited role as a stormtrooper whom Rey compels using the Jedi mind trick to let her escape from captivity;[11][12][13] and director J. J. Abrams also cast Alias and Lost composer Michael Giacchino as FN-3181, and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich as FN-9330.[11] 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.[6][7] The trooper, armed with a "Z6 baton" and dubbed "TR-8R" by fans, quickly inspired multiple memes and fan art.[6][14][15] Actor/director Kevin Smith also voiced a stormtrooper in the Takodana sequence.[16]

Cultural impact[edit]

Stormtroopers have become cultural icons, and a widely recognized element of the Star Wars franchise.[17] In 2015, an Imperial stormtrooper helmet from The Empire Strikes Back that was expected to sell at auction for $92,000[18] actually sold for $120,000.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Capps, Kriston (November 28, 2014). "Of Course There Are Black Stormtroopers in Star Wars". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  3. ^ Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
  4. ^ a b c d Jackson, Peter (July 27, 2011). "Lucas loses Star Wars copyright case at Supreme Court". BBC News. Retrieved July 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b c "Meet FN-2199, a.k.a. TR-8R: The Stormtrooper Behind the Meme". January 7, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Databank: First Order Riot Control Stormtroopers". Retrieved January 20, 2016. 
  8. ^ Keyes, Rob (September 4, 2015). "Star Wars 7: The First Order’s Superweapon Eclipses The Death Stars". Screen Rant. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ a b Robinson, Joanna (December 20, 2015). "24 Delightful Star Wars: The Force Awakens Cameos You Might Have Missed". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Confirmed: Daniel Craig’s cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens". The Sun. January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  14. ^ Franich, Darren (January 7, 2016). "The awesome stormtrooper from Force Awakens has a name". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 20, 2016. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Dornbush, Jonathon (January 28, 2016). "Kevin Smith voiced a stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  17. ^ Phillips, Jevon (December 4, 2015). "How a faceless force of Stormtroopers and the 501st Legion do good". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Rare Trek, Star Wars and Who props up for auction (pictures)". CNET. August 27, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  19. ^ Holmes, Mannie (October 8, 2015). "Empire Strikes Back Stormtrooper Helmet Fetches $120,000 at Auction". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 

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