Stormtroopers are some of the most iconic sights in the Star Wars universe, the white armour-clad soldiers striking fear into the hearts of all the characters on screen. The Rise of Skywalker, the final film in the Star Wars saga will feature new, red-armoured Sith Troopers and fan opinions are divided.
Before we see them in their full glory on the big screen, here’s a guide to some of the variations on trooper we’ve seen over the 42 years since they were first created by George Lucas as the ground force of the Galactic Empire.
The “basic” stormtrooper represents the Empire and First Order in the new Disney movie series. Dressed in white armour, they have been the faceless symbol of “the bad guys” since the original Star Wars (later subtitled Episode Four – A New Hope) was released in 1977 . While they may be mocked for having “stormtrooper aim” – allowing heroes to pass though volleys of blaster fire unscathed – in the Star Wars universe, they are well trained and feared.
In The Empire Strikes Back, we see the first noticeably different stormtrooper variation on the ice planet of Hoth, when the rebel alliance is escaping evil Empire forces under the command of Darth Vader.
With special hoods that cover their helmets and warm coats for fighting in cold places, they show the Empire’s relentlessness in chasing their enemies no matter where they hide.
In the third movie of the original franchise trilogy, Return of the Jedi, we see another unusual type of stormtrooper, the hoverbike-mounted Scout troopers, on the jungle planet of Endor. Like their name suggests, they are lightly armoured and mounted on bikes for extra speed in tough conditions. Their larger, boxier helmets contain extra visual enhancement gear for gathering information .
Imperial Death Troopers
In the first departure from the all-white armour of most stormtroopers, the black-clad death trooper first appeared on screen in Rogue One as bodyguards for senior officers of the Empire.
Even more elite than your average stormtroopers, they are capable of more subtlety than their white-clad brethren and are trained in stealth, espionage and advanced tactics.
First appearing in cartoons and games, the flying, jump-pack-equipped jumptroopers were first hinted at by the appearance of the bounty hunter Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones, who used a jump-pack in fights with the Jedi.
Jumptroopers will make an appearance in Rise of Skywalker, as seen in the teaser trailer for the new movie.
These close-combat specialists are the personal bodyguards of Supreme Leader Snoke, the mysterious leader of the First Order. They are successors to the Imperial Royal Guard who protected Emperor Palpatine, the villain of the original trilogy.
Following the colour-coded theme of “red for villains”, these imposing baddies use a variety of energy-based melee weapons that can fend off the blade of a lightsaber.
The newest type of red-armoured trooper. We won’t know much more about them until the film comes out.
However, given that they have “Sith” in their name, it’s safe to assume these elite soldiers are more attuned to the dark side of the Force, and may even have rudimentary Force powers. We can’t wait to find out.