They’re known throughout the Star Wars™ galaxy by many different nicknames: bucket boys, plastic heads, snowmen… But behind that iconic and impenetrable white armour, who exactly are the stormtroopers? What does it take to become an elite soldier of the Galactic Empire? What motivates their fanatical loyalty to Emperor Palpatine? Let’s conduct a psychological study on the real people beneath the multitude of masks.
They are not all clones
The original stormtroopers were all clones created from the genetic code of one perfect warrior: Jango Fett (you might also have heard of his son, Boba). Later, due to the accelerated growth rate of clones (two times that of humans), humans were enlisted as stormtroopers and became the dominant species of the Stormtrooper Corps. The small number of remaining Fett-template clones had little respect for the “new guys”, considering them incompetent and idiotic.
Some are female
The stormtroopers’ identical white uniforms are designed to reveal none of the troopers’ individual characteristics, such as body shape, making it impossible to tell if a stormtrooper is male or female. There are, however, a small number of female troopers within the vast ranks of males. They undergo the same rigorous training as men, making selection for a female even more difficult than it is for a male. An entire legion of stormtroopers rarely contains more than three women.
Many are volunteers
Most humans who enlist in the Stormtrooper Corps are volunteers. Propaganda posters to recruit new stormtroopers are a common sight on many worlds. For potential recruits, the life of a stormtrooper is often preferable to life on their homeworld. Some stormtroopers enter into the profession through a family connection. All children born to stormtroopers are encouraged to follow in their parent’s footsteps. Some children of troopers even serve in the same unit as a parent.
They are unconditionally loyal
Clone stormtroopers were genetically engineered to have little sense of their individuality to ensure loyalty to Palpatine. Count Dooku – Palpatine’s Sith apprentice for a time – secretly ordered that computer chips were inserted into the brains of every clone trooper to make them obey his master without question. When human stormtroopers make up the majority of the ranks of the Stormtrooper Corps, they are trained and conditioned to forsake individualism and empathy – essentially functioning as human droids, blindly following the orders of their leader.
They are merciless
Stormtroopers are conditioned to embrace uniformity and forgo their more humane instincts. They are identifiable as individuals only through their unique alphanumeric designations. This, coupled with their identical armour, can lead stormtroopers to feel a lack of accountability for their actions. Their power is built on fear, and they create an atmosphere of abuse and corruption in the worlds they patrol. Some are willing to carry out atrocities in the name of their Emperor.
They are poor marksmen
Despite their elite and rigorous combat training, stormtroopers are strangely poor shots in battle against Rebel soldiers. Known as the “Principle of Evil Marksmanship”, or the “stormtrooper effect”, the evil empire’s troops often seem to miss their targets – especially when they’re aiming at a lead character!
What else do you think is behind a stormtrooper’s mask? Tell us using #RebelsRead.
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Written by Hannah Dolan