- "A new stormtrooper that can take out a Rebel base that quickly? I shoulda' kept working for the Empire."
- ―Kyle Katarn, to Mon Mothma
The dark troopers were advanced battle droids and infantry exoskeletons that featured heavy plating that resembled the armor of a stormtrooper, powerful weapons, and jump packs for increased flexibility and tactical advantage.
Besides the Phase Zero prototypes, they came in three versions: the Phase I dark trooper was a skeletal droid armed simply with a vibroblade and physical shield, primarily a testbed for the later stages; the Phase II dark trooper, which featured, in addition, the external elements; and the Phase III dark trooper, which was the main unit and was never fully developed. Only three Phase III prototypes were on board Arc Hammer. One of these was used by the originator of the project, General Rom Mohc. It was a more powerful variant of the Phase II model and was able to be worn as a battle exosuit.
- "What I unveil today will mark a new era for the Empire. We will be able to decimate the Rebels just as we did the Jedi Knights. At last the Emperor's war will be filled only with the glory and beauty of decisive victory."
- ―Rom Mohc
The Dark Trooper Project, building on the previous L8-L9 and Z-X3 projects, was the brainchild of General Rom Mohc, who strongly advocated the martial virtues of close combat with one's enemy, and thus disagreed with the philosophy that created such superweapons as the Death Star. He operated the dark trooper project from his customized starship, Arc Hammer.
The first iteration of the project came years before the Battle of Yavin. Stationed aboard the Empirical research station and using most of the same technology that had been used to transform Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, the Empire started building clone trooper veterans into gruesome cyborgs, the so-called Phase Zero dark troopers. As the Empire started to become less dependent on its clone troopers, the Phase Zero project declined and was eventually shut down, but the efficiency of the cybernetic soldiers had become apparent to most, including the man overseeing the space station: a young Imperial officer called Rom Mohc. The Phase Zero troopers were deployed on battlefields shortly before the Battle of Yavin.
Years later, the Dark Trooper Project was finally green lit. The main goal for the dark trooper project was to create the next evolution of the stormtrooper. It consisted of the armor and the application of weaponry so it was intended for use with the basic stormtrooper (clone and the like) but looking forward to whatever internal system that might be developed. The dark troopers were first used against the Rebel Tak Base in the attack on Tak Base, in retaliation for the destruction of the first Death Star. They slaughtered all the Rebels in the base. Concerned about the potential threat of the dark troopers, Mon Mothma tasked Kyle Katarn with the program's destruction.
Squads of the dark troopers were characteristically deployed alongside the standard Imperial stormtroopers and the Imperial Army regulars in battles to add their distinctive advantage. They used their advanced combat techniques and jetpacks to drop behind enemy lines or outflank enemy positions, contributing to the overall effectiveness of battle maneuvers by creating havoc amongst their foes.
They were equipped with specialized assault cannons, which were modifications on the Imperial repeaters, rather than the standard E-11 blaster rifle; they were also issued additional fragmentation grenades, thermal detonators, and concussion grenades. Dark troopers wore dark gray armor made of the nearly indestructible metal phrik, mined on the moon Gromas 16. In addition to providing superior protection against enemy fire including energy weapons such as lightsabers, the armor was equipped with acceleration compensators to allow a soldier inside to endure the extreme maneuvers the unit was designed to perform.
Katarn succeeded in destroying Arc Hammer after killing Mohc. With the death of Mohc and the destruction of Arc Hammer, all official research into the dark trooper project, and all research into other battle droid programs, ended.
- "In light of the Arc Hammer fiasco, Emperor Palpatine is withdrawing all funding for the development of Imperial battle droids. I told you it would never work."
- ―Sate Pestage
Though the dark troopers were deactivated during the mission to the Arc Hammer, it should be noted that at the Battle of Ord Sedra, a number of Imperial Remnant stormtroopers wore armor that was vaguely similar to the dark trooper designs. These stormtroopers would engage the Yuuzhan Vong during the Yuuzhan Vong War.
Production of dark troopers began in Gromas 16 where phrikite was extracted. Phrik alloys were tested on a laboratory on Fest and they were refined in Ice Station Beta on Anteevy, where, presumably, the Phase II was produced. The weapons of the dark troopers were manufactured and supplied by Moff Rebus.
Dark troopers stayed on Arc Hammer, whose location was always secret, and were jettisoned to their planetary targets in hyperspace pods.
There were several different phases of these troopers:
The original dark troopers were not combat droids but cyborg clone troopers with over 70% body parts replaced by mechanical components. They were armed with standard blaster rifles and modified stormtrooper armor, which featured jump packs. Their cybernetic modifications included prosthetic limbs and organs and a life support system.
The Phase I dark trooper was the earliest dark trooper and was little more than a lightsaber-resistant phrik skeletal frame equipped with a vibrosword attached to its right arm, and a blast shield on its left. It served primarily as installation sentries. The Phase I dark trooper had visible power "cords" and couplinks, which made it a prime weak point. The prototype of this "super trooper" had a small jump pack for short bursts of speed to increase the velocity of its vibro blades.
The Phase II dark trooper was equipped with the external elements—the suit, a jump pack, and an assault cannon capable of firing 400 plasma shells and 20 missiles without reloading. They were also armed with the deadly ARC Caster, which shoots out powerful bolts of electricity. Because of these advantages, Phase II dark troopers were the most common combat units.
The last and most powerful dark trooper was the Phase III dark trooper, which dwarfed even the Phase II model, and was intended to be the armor of the next generation of stormtroopers.
Other dark troopersEdit
In addition to major models produced in the three phases of the Dark Trooper project, a small number of other variants were created to test specialized applications for the droids. One variant was the Triumphant-class dark trooper, some of which escorted Darth Vader during several operations in 1.5 ABY. The Inquisitorius also had their own dark trooper variant, the Inquisitorium dark trooper. The purge trooper was an earlier dark trooper model, specifically designed for combat against Jedi and other Force-wielders. Other variants include the Elite dark trooper and the Dark novatrooper, used to board Rebel ships.
Behind the scenesEdit
Dark troopers were first introduced in Star Wars: Dark Forces, serving as the game's most powerful enemies. The overall objective of the game was for the player, as Kyle Katarn, to destroy the project before it was fully implemented.
According to Leland Chee, keeper of the Holocron continuity database, the dark troopers appearing in computer games such as , Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption are non-canon. Appearances in such games should be mainly considered for gameplay purposes only. The dark troopers of Battlefront games, however, were retconned to be the part of Dark Trooper Phase Zero project, in which the Empire transformed clone veterans into cyborgs, by the The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide.
While it is implied that the dark troopers in Dark Forces are droids, this is never actually stated in the game. The game Star Wars: Rebellion and Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide describe the dark troopers as Force-wielders wearing exosuits; however, this is probably non-canon, especially since The Essential Guide to Droids was later the first source to explicitly establish that the dark troopers are droids.
Several other "variants" of dark troopers appeared in the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies. Most of the dark troopers in the game are white, as opposed to the dark gray of Dark Forces, although a variation of the droids (known as the dark novatroopers) found during the Rebel corvette missions are colored black. Due to the nature of combat in the game, the dark troopers do not use their jetpacks or their assault cannons.
Some non-canon appearances of dark troopers differ from the canon version. In Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, the Phase II variant seems to use a large chaingun and the Phase III variant has two shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. However, in the Star Wars Miniatures game, Phase III dark troopers have small missile launchers. In Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, they were about as powerful as an AT-PT, although this is probably game mechanics. They were produced at Imperial Fortresses at a cost of 50 units of food and 85 units of carbon, and were upgradeable.
Dark troopers have also been produced as toys. The Phase III dark trooper appeared as an action figure in the Kenner Expanded Universe series of the Star Wars: The Power of the Force line, and all three phases are represented in Star Wars Miniatures.
The New Essential Guide to Droids established, through retconning, the evolutionary link of the dark trooper to the L8-L9 droid via the Z-X3 droid, drawing on the resemblance all three droids have to stormtroopers and, consequently, to each other.
There has been some debate about the number of Phase III Dark Troopers produced, some sources say three, while the "New Essential Guide to Droids" states that there was only one prototype ever built, implying the one worn by Mohc in the final battle of Dark Forces.
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars: Dark Forces (First appearance)
- "Sand Blasted"—Star Wars Tales 4
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Star Wars: Rebellion
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ The Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Star Wars: Dark Forces
- ↑ The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- ↑ Star Wars: Battlefront
- ↑ Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- ↑ Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Squadrons Over Corellia (Card: Exogen-Class Dark Trooper)
- ↑ Star Wars Galaxies
- ↑ Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (video game)
- ↑ Dark Empire II
- ↑ Chee's post at StarWars.com forums