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Death Troopers mash

Stormtroopers infected with the Sickness

Project Blackwing, referred to the Galactic Empire's Advanced Weapons Research project[1] that oversaw development of the Blackwing virus, also known as the Sickness, an infectious viral agent which was accidentally created[2] while working on an experiment to revive necrotic tissue[1] in a secret research facility located on Dandoran.[2]


Created by Sith scientists using science and Sith alchemy from the Galactic Empire's Advanced Weapons Research devision, it was initially designed to achieve immortality. The virus, however, killed its hosts instead, attacking their biological tissue and turning their lifeless bodies into cannibalistic, brutal zombies. The virus altered the body's stamina and strength, making its host move slower than they did prior to exposure but increased their resilience to physical damage, allowing victims to take punishment which would be more critical or possibly even fatal to the being of origin without falling. They also seemed to experience a change in skin texture, with human hosts' skin being altered to a grayish-green color. The virus communicated with itself and allowed the zombies to act as a single entity and to learn things from the survivors, including how to utilize blasters, operate turrets, and pilot starships.[2]


By 13 BBY, Project Blackwing was active,[3] and to capitalize on rumors of the top secret project, Emperor Palpatine named the death troopers of Imperial Intelligence after the Undead Troopers of Project Blackwing,[1] which were also referred to as Death Troopers.[2]

At some point between the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Hoth, Imperial stormtroopers stationed at the secret research facility on Dandoran were infected by the virus, leading to their transformation into Undead Troopers. There was an outbreak at the facility, and the infected soldiers threatened to spread across the galaxy. The Undead Troopers would be supplemented by Heavy Undead Troopers and Scout Undead Troopers as the virus killed more and more Imperial troopers, eventually earning the name, "Army of the Dead."[2]

Operations were undertaken by the Empire and the Rebel Alliance to combat the threat, and was contained. Rumors began cropping up soon after that surviving samples had been retrieved by criminal organizations, gangs, cartels, extremist, and other nondescript factions for trade or possible weaponization. The Rebel Alliance continued operations against the virus when a second outbreak occurred, although the outbreak was again contained.[2]

Behind the scenesEdit

The Blackwing virus originated in Death Troopers, a 2009 novel written by Joe Schreiber. Death Troopers was part of Star Wars Legends, previously known as the Expanded Universe, and therefore is no longer official canon.[4] However, a canon adaption of Project Blackwing was included in Star Wars: Commander, a mobile strategy game released by Disney Interactive on August 21, 2014.[2]



Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Star Wars: Commander
  3. Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide establishes that death troopers were inspired by Project Blackwing. Since death troopers were first known to be used in 13 BBY, per the Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, then Project Blackwing must have at least been active by that time"
  4. SWCustom-2011 The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page on
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