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A stormtrooper, disparagingly referred to as a buckethead by dissenting citizens, was a member of the elite shock troops in the Imperial Army, placed under the Stormtrooper Corps, the land-based forces of the Galactic Empire. They were particularly distinguished by their loyalty to Emperor Sheev Palpatine, the founder of the Empire, and were reputedly incapable of betraying either him or the Imperial regime. Stormtroopers wore white armor over a black body glove which, in addition to creating an imposing image, was outfitted with a wide array of survival equipment and temperature controls that allowed its wearer to survive in most environments, but offered limited protection against blaster bolts. Along with standard stormtroopers, there were several specialized subgroups, including, but not limited to, the scout troopers, snowtroopers, and the spacetroopers.
- "Stormtroopers? Here? We're in danger. I must tell the others. Oh, no! I've been shot!"
The stormtroopers represented the ultimate evolution of the clone troopers, the soldiers who fought on the Galactic Republic's side against the Confederacy of Independent Systems in a prolonged and protracted conflict that came to be known as the Clone Wars. Following the execution of the Separatist Council, Sheev Palpatine, then Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, transformed the democratic government into an autocratic regime of his own, which he dubbed the First Galactic Empire
With the development of the new Imperial war machine, the clone trooper armor was upgraded. Additionally, the new Emperor ordered the extermination of the Jedi Order, the members of which had served as officers in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Within the new regime, the clone troopers—now known as stormtroopers—were placed under the guidance of Imperial officers and governors instead of Clone commanders or officers.
Following the transition, stormtroopers were used to bring any remaining Separatist worlds into line. As the clones' accelerated aging process began causing their physical skills and abilities to deteriorate, they were replaced by non-clone volunteers and conscripts. Nonetheless, several clone troopers would remain in service to the Galactic Empire, with some serving as training instructors in the Imperial Academy, while other members remained in active duty such as Sergeant Crest and TX-828, who was still active following the Battle of Yavin.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Emperor's enforcer Darth Vader commanded a battalion of stormtroopers who served him loyally. With those troops, Vader captured Princess Leia Organa's Alderaan cruiser Tantive IV over Tatooine shortly before the Battle of Yavin. Stormtroopers were also used to arrest dissidents on numerous worlds including Akiva and Zeitooine. Stormtroopers also saw action against Rebel Alliance forces during the Battle of Hoth, the Mid Rim Retreat, and the Battle of Endor.
After the events on Endor, stormtroopers saw action on many fronts against the armed forces of the New Republic, the successor government to the Rebel Alliance. Numerous stormtroopers were killed on worlds as far flung as Uyter, Naalol, and Akiva. New Republic forces also took many stormtroopers prisoner with many prisoners being sent to the New Republic capital of Chandrila. On one occasion, the New Republic public relations official Olia Choko personally stopped New Republic soldiers from parading stormtrooper prisoners through the streets of Hanna City. Later, stormtroopers saw action during the liberation of Kashyyyk and the Battle of Jakku.
Following the defeat of the Empire at Jakku, the remnants of the Empire signed the Galactic Concordance with the New Republic. The Galactic Concordance forbade the recruitment and mobilization of stormtrooper forces and forced the Empire to abandon its network of Imperial Academies. The Imperial remnants eventually retreated to the Unknown Regions where they reorganised themselves as the First Order. Defying the Galactic Concordance, the First Order recruited and mobilized new stormtroopers. The new stormtroopers were influenced by the ideas of Brendol Hux, a former commandant at the Arkanis Academy. The First Order's stormtroopers were equipped with sleeker armor and powerful weaponry.
- "Cadets, you entered this facility as children. And in a few short weeks, you will leave as soldiers. By the time you complete your training, you will be prepared to serve your Emperor."
- ―Cumberlayne Aresko
Unlike their predecessors, the majority of stormtroopers were non-clone recruits. Imperial cadets were shipped off to Imperial Academies, and subjected to rigorous training programs in order to produce highly trained shock troopers fiercely loyal to the Empire. Stormtroopers were trained to disregard fallen comrades in battle, and to press on, no matter the cost, even when the odds were stacked against them.
Although they were a rare sight, women were not prohibited from serving in the ranks of the stormtroopers. During training, female cadets were placed in all-female units. Unit Forn was an all-female unit at the Academy for Young Imperials on Lothal. who were selected for stormtrooper training had to undergo extra reconditioning. This has the effect of dehumanizing the cadets, who came to refer to themselves by their operating numbers rather than their names. One such cadet was Ames Bunkle, an acquaintance of Zare Leonis.
Among other things, cadets would train to fire blasters, learn to pilot Imperial walkers, and the ruthlessness it took to become a stormtrooper. Cadets who attended Imperial Academies also underwent simulated obstacle courses in the Well, which were designed to test their strength, agility, reflexes and intelligence. Such courses and tests of skill became increasingly difficult over time, and accountability for losses were harsh.
While cadets attended the academy, they wore white uniforms and specialized helmets, similar to the standard stormtrooper or pilot gear. Aside from their basic training, many cadets were also assigned other non-combat duties on base. Such duties offered cadets the opportunity to gain experience over their peers, and were often presented as rewards for excellent performance during training exercises.
As cadets were being evaluated, the officers in charge were often instructed to take note of performance that might denote an affinity for the Force, and report it to one of their superiors. Cadets who met this special criteria were taken by the Grand Inquisitor and forcibly inducted into Project Harvester, a top secret Imperial program based on Arkanis. Cadet Zare's older sister Dhara Leonis was one known subject of Project Harvester. Another prospective subject was Jai Kell, who managed to escape due to the help of Ezra Bridger.
Stormtrooper and other Imperial cadets also assisted in law enforcement operations. Following a spate of rebel activity on Lothal, Imperial cadets there were used to search homes and streets for illegal activities, detain the children of fugitives, and to raid smugglers. During these law enforcements operations, some cadets like Nazhros Oleg came to flout their new-found powers; a trait that was encouraged by some officers like Captain Piers Roddance. Some prospective officer cadets like Leonis and Oleg were also given the chance to lead adult stormtroopers in these raids. Cadets also had their backgrounds investigated for any sign of criminal connections and other subversive activities.
- "I can't see a thing in this helmet!"
- ―Luke Skywalker
Stormtroopers wore a distinctive set of white armor that was used to instill fear in the Empire's subjects, while also providing the soldiers with an extended range of survival equipment and temperature controls, thus allowing them to survive in almost any environment. The helmet provided skull protection, filtered air, and contained enhanced vision and communication systems. Rank was determined by a color coded pauldron worn over the left shoulder, with orange or red representing the rank of commander, black indicating an enlisted trooper, and white representing a sergeant. They also had a utility belt and a grappling hook attached to it, and primarily used the E-11 blaster rifle, however could also utilize the DLT-20A laser rifle or DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle when necessary. However, the stormtrooper armor was not without its faults. The plates made running hard and offered little protection against a direct blaster shot. The helmet also greatly obstructed a soldier's vision, which hindered their capacity to properly aim a blaster, regardless of prior training.
By 28 ABY, stormtrooper helmets and armor were collected by individuals like the New Republic senator Ransolm Casterfo, who had an interest in Imperial "artefacts." Several of Casterfo's Centrist senators including Apolin and Fatil also admired and collected Imperial uniforms and armor. In addition, Imperial armor and other artefacts also sold at markets on Chrome Citadel.
In addition to the "standard" troops, the Empire had created a number of specialized stormtrooper units assembled to operate on varied planets and climates within its territory. Scout troopers wore lighter armor and used speeder bikes to patrol the perimeter of the Imperial garrisons they were assigned to.
Sniper troopers were specialists pulled from Scout trooper ranks and wielded the deadly E-11s long-range blaster. Stormtrooper snipers were also pulled from standard stormtrooper ranks, and wore a blue pauldron over their shoulder and had a visor attached to their helmet, along with a black bandolier across their chest plate. There were also the Imperial combat drivers who piloted many of the Imperial Army's ground vehicles.
Sandtroopers wore modified armor that allowed them to survive on desert worlds such as Tatooine. To deal with problems on frozen environments, the Empire utilized their Cold weather assault stormtroopers, nicknamed Snowtroopers, who wore a special mask and a skirt-like piece of armor that both resembled the equipment worn by the Galactic Marines on Mygeeto during the Clone Wars.
Phase II dark troopers wore heavy armor and were used to attack enemy defenses with assault cannons. While Shadow Troopers were armed with T-21 light repeating blasters and cloaking technology along with intimidating black armor. Magma troopers were equipped to operate in extremely high temperatures, and were trained to fight on volcanic worlds. Seatroopers were trained to operate in aquatic environments. Spacetroopers wore armor designed to breathe in space.
Shock Troopers were armed with heavy weaponry and wore stormtrooper armor with distinctive red markings, similar to those of Republic clone troopers who served as Coruscant Guards during the Clone Wars. There also existed Imperial Heavy Troopers who were equipped with heavy combat armor and electrostaffs, similar to the Imperial riot troopers. Heavy Weapons Stormtroopers wielded large, rotary blaster cannons while the more agile Jumptroopers easily bounded over walls and other obstacles to assault targets directly. Stormtrooper grenadiers wielded grenade launchers, and wore a red pauldron along with a black bandolier across their chest, while Stormtrooper chargers took down their opponents with extreme ferocity.
Stormtroopers in mechanized battle armor armed with heavy handheld cannon were present at the battle of Sevarcos. Purge Troopers helped enforce Imperial law in the Anoat sector, being lead by the formidable Commander Bragh during the Iron Blockade. Flametroopers were stormtroopers equipped with incendiary weapons. Storm Commandos were the special forces of the Stormtrooper Corps and were trained to deal with extreme combat situations.
Thirty years after the Battle of Endor, variants of the former Galactic Empire's armed forces would exist under the auspices of a new organization known as the First Order. It would continue to utilize new stormtroopers, as well as megablaster heavy assault troopers, riot control stormtroopers, snowtroopers, and flametroopers.
Behind the scenesEdit
Early designs for stormtroopers by concept artist Ralph McQuarrie had them wielding lightsabers. In Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, an actor playing a stormtrooper accidently hit his head on the doorway, in the Star Wars Special Editions, a sound was added for the purpose of comedy. Over the years the accident turned into a tradition by making actors hit their heads on doors in the Star Wars films. 
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Notes and referencesEdit
- Stormtrooper on Wikipedia