In the Star Wars universe, the Empire’s supremacy is most visible in the rows upon rows of its white and black infantry, the Stormtrooper Corps. These soldiers are recruited, trained and dispatched to police the galaxy and enforce Emperor Palpatine’s iron will as the most visible symbol of Imperial martial law. The Empire created Stormtrooper variants to match the details of every mission, to operate in any environment and to succeed whatever the cost. Their elite training, advanced weaponry and violent dogmatism made them the most feared presence in the galaxy.
Stormtroopers have no names, only designations, comprised of letters and numbers. Their faces are never revealed to the public or their enemies, making them impersonal automatons with a merciless robot-like nature. They began as clones, created in the cloning facilities on Kamino from the genetic template of the bounty hunter Jango Fett, with the sole purpose of becoming a Grand Army of the Republic. When the Republic was eventually redesigned as the first Galactic Empire by Chancellor Palpatine, the Clone Troopers were conscripted into the Imperial Army and became the first Stormtroopers. It wouldn’t be until their accelerated-aging process made them too old to serve in the Stomrtrooper's ranks and forced the Empire to start using human-born recruits. Ironically, the identical resemblance of their armor and lack of individuality meant no one knew the difference.
One of the most well-known visual signifiers of the might of the Galactic Empire is its seemingly endless ranks of infantry soldiers, the Stormtroopers. As part of the Imperial Army’s Stormtrooper Corps, Stormtroopers graduated the Imperial Academy with a sworn devotion to the Empire and to Emperor Palpatine, ready to inflict Imperial doctrine on every galactic citizen. They wore white body armor and helmets made from plastoid over a black body glove, were equipped with a utility belt full of survival gear, and carried E-11 blaster rifles. Their concealed faces and identical uniform made them an intimidating, merciless presence.
The Stormtrooper ranks were once populated by clones. At the end of the Clone Wars, the Clone Troopers that had once fought alongside Jedi Knights as part of the Grand Army of the Republic became the first Stormtroopers and enforced their Emperor’s will on any world that resisted Imperial rule. The advanced aging process of the clones eventually meant that they would have to be retired. Since a single legion of Stormtroopers needed 12,800 recruits, human-born conscripts took their place in the Imperial Amry's the ranks. Unlike most militaries, the Imperial Military taught its Stormtrooper cadets to leave fallen comrades in battle and to press on towards their objective whatever the cost. This often made them appear to their enemies as both foolish and terrifying.
19 PATROL TROOPERS
During the first few years of the Galactic Empire, as more and more planets surrendered to Imperial rule, Patrol Troopers began popping up on worlds throughout dozens of systems. The local planetary defense forces in place were gradually replaced by these specialized Stormtroopers, who covered ground by cruising on their C-PH Patrol Speeder bikes, armed with EC-17 blasters. Their helmets are slightly larger than regular Stormtroopers to allow for enhanced imaging electronics that gave them the ability to scan an individual’s face and compare it to information stored in its internal database. They also receive data on things like traffic and construction common congestion problems in urban environments.
This info helped the Patrol Troopers avoid common congestion problems as they dished out Imperial justice.
Their first appearance is in Solo: A Star Wars Story, when Han Solo and his girlfriend Qi’ra try to escape off-world through one of Corellia’s ports. Patrol Troopers swarm the lines of intergalactic citizens trying to come and go through the planet’s biggest travel terminal. Han is successful in evading them, but Qi’ra is not so lucky, and they detain her while he narrowly escapes with a bribe to a port official. Ironically, he eventually applies to the Imperial Academy to become a pilot.
18 RIOT CONTROL TROOPERS
The First Order has a few variants on the standard Stormtrooper (to say nothing of Captain Phasma’s chrome armor), most notably in the form of the Riot Control Troopers that attack Finn in The Force Awakens. Riot Control Troopers serve one purpose and one purpose only: to keep order on First Order-controlled worlds. Unlike the Galactic Empire, the First Order has trained its troopers in riot control tactics and gave them equipment that is non-lethal, such as Betaplast ballistic riot shields, and Z6 riot control batons. However, should a situation arise when diplomatic methods are no longer appropriate, F-11D blaster rifles are also adequate to suppress a planet’s inhabitants.
Finn, formerly Stormtrooper FN-2187, encounters Riot Trooper FN-2199 during the Battle of Takodana. Not eager to fight his former brother-in-arms, he nevertheless is forced to engage FN-2199 with the lightsaber that belonged to Anakin Skywalker. His inexperience with the Jedi weapon leads FN-2199 to nearly deliver a lethal blow with his baton when Han Solo shoots him with Chewbacca’s bowcaster. Riot Control Troopers appear again in The Last Jedi, accompanying Captain Phasma to execute Finn for deserting the Empire and trying to steal intelligence along with members of the Resistance.
Stormtroopers that specialized in fully submerged aquatic assault were known as Seatroopers. In the age of the Galactic Empire, many worlds under its control were primarily aquatic, with natural ecosystems and urban environments underwater. From planets like Naboo, where a portion of the planet’s citizens, the Gungans, lived underwater to planets like Kamino and Mon Cala where the majority of the population dwelled under vast oceans, the Galactic Empire had to make its presence felt.
Seatroopers had lightweight armor that was designed to make them more agile underwater.
This was worn over a glove-like bodysuit that repelled toxins in water and acted as a sealant. They could stay fully submerged for over an hour at a time, with a back-mounted propulsion unit that let them glide through water with speed beyond their swimming skills. Their boots had flippers and came equipped with propulsion systems as well. Like the Scout Troopers and Snowtroopers, their utility belts contained extra rations, rebreather filters, grappling hooks and anything else that would assist them in an extreme environment (including a pop-up air bubble tent). Their SG-4 blaster rifles were capable of firing miniature harpoon darts underwater. They first appeared in 2018's Darth Vader #15 as part of the Sith Lord’s assault on Mon Cala.
Like their name suggests, Sandtroopers were Stormtroopers that were specifically designed to operate on desert worlds. Though it’s not visually apparent, their helmets and armor had fans in them to help regulate their body temperatures in harsh thermal environments, as well as filter sand. Sandtroopers, sometimes referred to as Desert Troopers, first appeared in Star Wars: A New Hope when they were dispatched to the desert world of Tatooine to recover an escape pod containing two droids, one of which housed the plans to the Death Star.
Sandtroopers were distinguished from regular Stormtroopers by the burnt orange pauldron on their right shoulder, and occasionally by the massive Dewbacks they rode. While the Stormtrooper Corps of the Empire was usually outfitted with methods of transportation that conveyed the latest technological advancements, the Empire would occasionally take a cue from the locals and adapt their mounts to fit their missions. That's why Sandtroopers took to riding Dewbacks, as they were able to handle the inhospitable dunes of Tatooine without malfunctioning from sand in inconvenient places. These troopers used electric rods applied to their hides to jolt them into submission. Flametroopers often accompanied Sandtroopers to desert planets to subjugate their citizens, as they did on Jakku in The Force Awakens.
Coastal Defender Troopers, or Shoretroopers, were the Empire’s answer for tropical climates. They protected the Imperial Security Complex on the planet Scarif, known for its sunny beaches and balmy weather. Because of their specific and centralized location, they weren’t seen much throughout the rest of the galaxy, especially since their service was rotational and subject to operational demands and skillsets.
Almost every known Shoretrooper perished when the Death Star blew up the Imperial Security Complex on Scarif.
Shoretroopers carried E-22 blaster rifles and acted as sergeants to regular Stormtroopers, which carried the E-11. The different ranks of Shoretrooper could be distinguished by their armor markings. Regular Shoretroopers had sand-colored armor, suede Shoretroopers had a pale blue band of color across their shoulder plates and Shoretrooper captains had nearly their entire chest plates colored blue. Shoretroopers have next to no plate armor on their legs to allow them to move as quickly as possible in sandy environments. Shoretroopers were known to modify their armor or utilize different weaponry based on what was on hand at the time.
Minetroopers, sometimes referred to as Tunnel Troopers, operated on planets with mining facilities, and specifically trained in environments where mining is the primary means of extracting natural resources. Minetroopers wore tan-colored armor, with a bodysuit that was thicker than the average Stormtrooper’s and designed to be sealed from air filled with spice that could alter a trooper’s cognitive abilities. They served a strict purpose while stationed at mining facilities: to protect the mining equipment at all costs. Whether the equipment was destroyed by disgruntled spice miners that had been incarcerated or stolen by raiding bans of mercenaries, their job was to inflict punishment on perpetrators and make an example of them so that there would be no repeat offenses.
On windy, ravaged planets located in the Outer Rim like Servarcos II and Kessel, spice was a commodity worth the danger to obtain. Usually, it was mined by slave labor, under the cruel jurisdiction of spice lords, and traded by crime syndicates in the age of the Galactic Empire. Soon the Empire came to control all the spice economy in the Outer Rim, strangling the supply line to crime syndicates that were operating illegally. Minetroopers kept planetary spice extraction running smoothly, with all shipments put to use by the Empire.
For amphibious warfare, look no further than the Stormtrooper Corps Swamptrooper, whose unique green camouflage armor made them well-suited for conflicts on planets which had surfaces covered with bogs, lakes and swamps. While not ideal for underwater missions or assignments that required extended periods of time submerged, they excelled where inhospitable, marshy terrain that held regular Stormtroopers back. Their armor also repelled gases and poisons and was completely sealed from toxic bacteria and swarms of insects. Their helmets resembled Scout Trooper helmets, but came equipped with rebreathers for better air circulation.
The Swamptroopers turned against their Jedi commanders in the Grand Army of the Republic.
Swamptroopers appeared as a variant of Clone Troopers in Revenge of the Sith in which they, like their fellow Clone Troopers, executed Order 66, a command prompt inserted into the inhibitor in their neocortex by Darth Sidious himself. Swamptroopers were deployed to round up all the dead Wookiees who fought valiantly on Kashyyyk, a planet known for its marshes, swamps and bogs as well as giant trees. They are mentioned in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, as part of garrisons leading a crackdown on uprisings on the planet Pipada, where Imperial rule was wildly protested. Swamptroopers executed hundreds of native Drabatans who resisted, and Imperial reinforcements finally imposed martial law.
12 MIMBAN STORMTROOPERS
Designed to slug through the swamp planet of Mimban, the Mimban Stormtrooper resembled a regular Stormtrooper in most respects, save for the black capes they wore. Prior to being conscripts in the Imperial Army, they were known as Mud Jumpers in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Where once they helped the Mimbanise Liberation Army repel the Separatist Droid Army, they returned to subjugate the very Mimbanese they once protected. Their presence ensured that Imperial energy mining operations of the Hyperbaride mineral deposits went smoothly.
Mimban Stormtroopers were first seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, when Han Solo was stationed as a serviceman on Mimban. It was there that he was framed by Tobias Beckett as a deserter and thrown into a pit with Chewbacca as punishment. The Mimban Stormtroopers revel in the fact that the “monster” hasn’t been fed in several days, and that that it would make a nice meal out of the mouthy Corellian. To their chagrin, Han makes a deal with Chewie so that they can both escape, and they end up getting wounded when the pair makes a break for Beckett’s ship. Their capes proved less than helpful on the bog planet.
Jumptroopers, the flyboys of the Imperial Army, were a specialized Stormtrooper variant that operated prior to the Galactic Civil War. Their jetpacks allowed them to hover off the ground up to 20 meters to help them jump into enemy fortifications and maneuver for brief periods of time in space environments to board enemy ships in close proximity) They carried burst shields, missile launchers and an RT-97C heavy blaster rifle. The environments of different planets called for different Jumptroopers; Arctic, Desert, and Forest. They originated as Clone Troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic before being integrated into the Stormtrooper Corps.
They were also called Rocket Troopers due to the jetpacks that gave them short bursts of flight.
Jumptroopers have appeared in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, the video games Star Wars Battlefront I and II (where they looked like normal Stormtroopers with jetpacks on their backs), and Star Wars: Commander. Before the Rebel Alliance was able to obtain the Death Star plans in Rogue One and destroy it in A New Hope, Jumptroopers were dispatched to often take on Saw Gerrera and his radical militia of Alliance fighters too extreme to be associated with their fellow Rebels.
Snowtroopers have the distinction of being the first different version of the traditional Stormtrooper armor that audiences saw on-screen in a Star Wars film. During the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, when the Empire launches a full-scale ground assault, Snowtroopers are brought to the surface of the icy planet in the bellies of AT-ATs and troop carriers. When Darth Vader makes his way into Echo Base to see the Millennium Falcon blasting off with Han Solo and Princess Leia, he is flanked by a detail of Snowtroopers.
With their long, all-white body gloves and helmets with snow goggles, Snowtroopers are some of the most distinct looking variants of the Stormtrooper Corps. An eighteen-piece outer shell managed their body temperature with personal environment units, and the breather hood that enveloped their faceplates allowed them to operate in the most severe of weather conditions. These cold assault troopers were also utilized some 30 years later, by the First Order, during the Battle of Starkiller base and then again when the First Order initiated its own ground assault of the Resistance Base on the planet of Crait. Though not an arctic planet, the environmental conditions (all-white terrain due to salt flats) necessitated their deployment in battle.
9 SCOUT TROOPERS
Continuing with George Lucas’s tradition of showcasing a different Stormtrooper variant in each of his original trilogy Star Wars films, Return of the Jedi introduced the Imperial Scout Trooper. Specializing in reconnaissance and infiltration missions, Scout Troopers were often called “Biker Scouts” after the speeder bikes they ride for transportation. Scout Troopers protected the SLD-26 Planetary Shield Generator operating on the forest moon of Endor, which shielded the second Death Star as it was being constructed in the space above it. Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie all had encounters with them.
Luke and Leia even stole a few of their speeder bikes and led the Scout Troopers on a chase through Endor's forests.
Scout Troopers have the lightest armor of the Stormtrooper Corps variants, which allows for greater flexibility and agility as they weave through the dense foliage of Endor on their 74-Z speeder bikes. Known for their excellent marksmanship, they carried E-11 long-range blaster pistols, and when the occasion called for it, shock grenades. Unlike other Stormtroopers, their helmets could be retracted up, allowing the trooper’s face to be visible. Scout Troopers were considered to be more independent and adaptable than their Stormtrooper counterparts, largely because of their remote missions in the field that required them to adapt to their terrain and think on their feet.
A searing image in The Force Awakens consists of several Flametroopers of the First Order setting the small village of Tuanul ablaze, with Stormtrooper FN-2187 looking on in horror. They set fire to huts occupied by members of the Church of the Force, while First Order infantry attacked those that fled with a barrage of laser blasts. In this way, Flametroopers could offer support to the infantry while providing virtually no cover to the enemy, since standard Stormtrooper armor being able to withstand the flames. They were seen again in The Last Jedi when Captain Phasma led a detachment of them into the hangar bay of the ship carrying Finn and Rose, intent on executing them for their hand in sabotaging the Star Destroyer’s navigational array.
Each Flametrooper came equipped with a D-93 Incinerator with a double-barreled flame projector gun attached to a backpack with two outer conflagrine-14 fuel tanks, as well as a central pressurized propellant tank. The narrow slit visor in their helmets helped minimize the bright glare from their weapon, while supplemental breathing tank linkages ensured they were receiving clean air. Resistance fighters referred to them as “Toasters” for their ability to flush them out of entrenchment and turn battlefields into fiery infernos.
7 ARF TROOPERS (ADVANCED RECON FORCE)
Advanced Recon Force troopers, otherwise known as ARF Troopers, were specialized Clone Troopers that aided their Jedi Commanders during the Clone Wars by carrying out reconnaissance range missions. Their armor was lighter and more maneuverable than standard-issue armor, which allowed them to undertake stealth assignments. They usually rode All Terrain Recon Transports into battle.
ARF Troopers were known for their superior survival skills, which they used when separated from their battalions or Jedi leaders.
Jedi Commanders such as Mace Windu and General Obi-Wan Kenobi were fond of ARF Troopers for their diligence, loyalty and quick thinking. They formed small detachments that personally accompanied their Jedi Commanders on away missions, often risking their lives in secret assignments few knew about, such as the mission General Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker went on to rescue the kidnapped son of the Tatooine crime lord Jabba the Hutt. ARF Troopers stood up to Separatist leaders Count Dooku and General Grievous prior to Order 66, a secret command prompt inserted by Darth Sidious that overload their programming and forced them to turn on their Jedi comrades. Though they first appeared in Revenge of the Sith, the missions of several ARF Troopers are chronicled in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
6 SHOCK TROOPERS
To many Star Wars fans, the Red Guard have always been the chief protectors of Emperor Palpatine. While they did travel with him and guard him in his throne room, Imperial Shock Troopers also had the distinction of being the Emperor’s personal bodyguards. They also were on the front lines of special missions and acted as security forces for the elite and influential Imperial officers. Selected from the Empire’s Stormtrooper Corps to be trained as high-class Stormtroopers, they were distinguishable from their monochromatic brothers in arms by red markings on their helmet, shin-guards, spaulders and utility belts.
While the armor of the elite Shock Trooper wasn’t much different from that of the common Stormtrooper (save for their red markings), the tradition of the Shock Trooper began during the Clone Wars, and some Shock Troopers still wore the armor of their clone counterparts even during the Galactic Civil War. Unlike other Stormtroopers, they were equipped with a DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle and a rocket launcher, as well as KE-6b landmines. They often did reconnaissance and drove tanks while ordinary Stormtroopers were on the front line. They made their first appearance in the game Star Wars: Commander but can also be seen in the popular shooting game Star Wars Battlefront.
5 CLONE TROOPERS
The Clone Troopers preceded the Stormtroopers by two decades. Their ranks were commissioned by Jedi Master Sifo Dyas, who had a vision of the rise of an Evil Empire and thought the Republic would need military protection. The Jedi Council (on which he had a prominent seat) didn’t believe him, and he was summarily removed from it, but not before going to the cloning facilities on Kamino to commission a Grand Army of the Republic. His activities eventually came under the notice of Darth Sidious and his apprentice, Darth Tyranus. They shot down Sifo Dyas and all aboard his ship while he was on a mission for Chancellor Valorum, and promptly took control of his cloning operations.
Lord Tyranus recruited bounty hunter Jango Fett to be the original template for all of the Clone Troopers.
Fett was paid a considerable sum and allowed to have one unaltered clone to be his son (which eerily looked exactly like he did as a child). All other of the clones’ growth was accelerated, so that hundreds of thousands of clones could be fully mature by the time they were needed. Their first taste of war was during the Battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones, the conflict that started the Clone Wars. They would serve the Republic valiantly until the inhibitor chips secretly placed in their neocortexes by Darth Sidious were engaged to execute Order 66, which resulted in the extermination of the Jedi Order in Revenge of the Sith.
4 INQUISITOR TROOPERS
As Emperor Palpatine decided that human-born conscripts were the best way to fill the ranks of his Stormtrooper division, the very last batch of Kamino clones produced from Jango Fett’s genetic template were assembled into an expandable death squad. Inquisitor Troopers, as they came to be called, served directly under Sith Lord Darth Vader and the Inquisitorius, a cadre of twelve Jedi hunters that were used to find and exterminate any Jedi that had evaded Order 66.
Emperor Palpatine had no further use for the troopers other than to clean up the remnants of the Jedi Purge. In Darth Vader #13, the young clones are dispatched with Vader to Mon Cala, where a bastion of Jedi survivors was known to be. It’s there that they are utilized for a cunning plan by Padawan Ferren Barr. Members of the Inquisitors Program corner Barr just after he has correctly identified the troopers as the last of their kind. Since the Inquisitors had themselves once been Jedi, Barr simply uses the Force on the Clone Troopers to execute Order 66, and the very inhibitor chip that Palpatine implanted in their neocortex is used to execute his Inquisitors. Once a Jedi, always a Jedi.
3 RANGE TROOPERS
The Range Troopers might have a good reason to view all other Stormtrooper variants as weak. With their huge magnetic boots designed for sure footing on fast-moving vehicles and heavy fur-lined armor, they make regular Stormtroopers look fragile by comparison. They are used only in the most hostile of environments, where only the most committed trooper can survive. Range Troopers guarded a 20-T Railcrawler conveyex transport for the Empire on Vandor-1, their gear allowing them to easily maneuver all over the fast-moving cars as they protected the valuable Coaxium cargo inside. Coaxium is used as fuel for ships to make the jump to hyperspace and is a precious commodity used among crime syndicates to gain leverage over one another.
Range Troopers debuted in Solo: A Star Wars Story, where Tobias Beckett and his crew of space pirates conducted a high-speed robbery.
Working under orders from Dryden Vos and crime syndicate Crimson Dawn, Beckett and a young Han Solo position their ship above the car holding the coaxium. Their plan is to secure it with cables while disengaging it from the rest of the train. The Range Troopers make their lives a little difficult, forcing Han and Beckett into perilous hand-to-hand combat.
2 SHADOW TROOPERS
Stormtroopers are notoriously known for their inability to hit the broadside of a Star Destroyer, yet George Lucas originally wanted them to wield lightsabers in A New Hope. Of course, Lightsabers have been called elegant weapons “for a more civilized age,” and in the hands of an Imperial Stormtrooper, they would've accidentally taken off a lot of limbs. The concept was quickly dropped when it was decided the only people getting laser swords would be the space wizards.
Shadow Troopers first appeared in the Star Wars: Jedi Knight video games. Another egomaniacal overlord was trying to recreate the Empire and entrusted the creation of his ranks to Dark Jedi Desann and Imperial Admiral Galak Fyyar. Their combined ingenuity gave the galaxy Stormtroopers in black armor, with training in the Jedi arts of lightsaber combat. Their “cortosis” armor was naturally made out of an alloy that was lightsaber-proof. A synthetic Force crystal was put into their armor chestplate to concentrate the Force power within the Valley of the Sith, where a number of Sith lay buried surrounded by ancient Sith artifacts. This granted them artificial Force powers, after a fashion, including Force Grip. They were difficult to kill, but when removed from the Valley of the Sith, not impossibly so. When they were sent to destroy the Jedi Praxeum of Luke Skywalker on Yavin 4, they were annihilated.
1 DEATH TROOPERS
Mandated to protect prominent Imperial officers in the Galactic Empire, Death Troopers, the onyx-clad Stormtrooper variants, did more than bodyguard detail. They also functioned as elite experts on top secret missions and protected members of the nebulous Tarkin Initiative. Those Stormtroopers that excelled in their training were sent to the advanced facility on Scarif, where they became well-versed in heavy weapons usage, sniping and subterfuge. They were outfitted with special helmets with verbal communication scrambling capabilities, as well as heads-up targeting displays. The “reflec” polymer on their black armor warped the electromagnetic signals of most scanning devices, making it ideally suited for stealth operations.
The Death Trooper is essentially the Empire's version of a highly-trained C.I.A. counter-intelligence agent.
As cool as it was to have “death” as your trooper prefix, the intimidating term carried some weight. When they were first introduced over a decade before the original Star Wars trilogy took place, Emperor Palpatine was only too happy when rumors spread across the galaxy that they were the direct result of human experimentation for an Advanced Weapons Research Project, and could very possibly be reanimated necrotic tissue. Their bodies were outfitted with surgical enhancements to make them faster and stronger. Their first appearance was flanking Commander Orson Krennic, who was assigned to oversee the construction of the Death Star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.