When you think of a stormtrooper, more than likely, your brain immediately jumps to white armor and helmet-clad men following Darth Vader through the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Or, perhaps, you prefer to picture the jetpack-equipped stormtroopers chasing after Rey, Finn, Poe, and the gang in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The aforementioned iterations are the most iconic and more recent images of the galactic warrior, but they are merely the tip of the iceberg. In fact, are either of them even the coolest stormtroopers variations from the Star Wars movies?
The nine films of the Skywalker Saga and two prequels disguised as spin-offs have either introduced countless variations of stormtroopers to the Star Wars universe or gave them a new home on the big screen after years as a rarity in video games or comic books. Each variant is endowed with its own distinctive characteristics in appearance or skill that only makes the discussion of which position in the imperial army you may rather have all the more interesting.
We have taken a deeper look at every stormtrooper variation that has graced the big screen, narrowed them down to 10, and ranked them on one important criteria: coolness. So, just which is the coolest stormtrooper as seen in the Star Wars movies?
I think we all have a soft spot for the most classic iteration of the stormtrooper armor as first introduced in the film that started it all. Yet, I also think that most of us may be able to agree that Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope does not paint stormtroopers in the most impressive light.
It is a wonder that the Galactic Empire, and later the First Order, were able to thrive as long as they did with the Stormtrooper Corps as their military backbone since, as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker demonstrate, they are easily defeated and, as they demonstrate themselves, they have embarrassingly bad aim with their blasters. There is no denying their sleek appearance, there is more to a soldier than their uniform and I can’t say that the classic stormtrooper variation is the imperial army position I would want to be a part of… maybe a position in the Army of the Republic instead?
9. Clone Trooper
Before they were fighting battles for the bad guys, they were fighting against them. Indeed, stormtroopers are actually descendants of the military defense known as clone troopers, genetically engineered duplicates of bounty hunter Jango Fett created to defend the Republic against the Separatist rebellion, as first seen in 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones and from which the Clone Wars got their name.
In addition to being on the good side of galactic conflict, what makes the clone troopers cooler than their imperial counterparts is their incorruptible reliability (due to being literally “made” for battle), precise skill in combat (due to being modeled after an expert bounty hunter), and a uniform reminiscent of Boba Fett (which, you have to admit, is a look to aspire to). Clone troopers were also, chronologically, the beginning of a military presence in the Star Wars universe and that deserves to be recognized in a film franchise with the word “wars” in the title.
8. Swamp Trooper
Also unofficially referred to as “mudtroopers,” swamp troopers were a division of the imperial army that existed outside of the Stormtrooper Corps. Their primary location for battle was the swamp planet of Mimban, which is why they required armor equipped with special eye protection and oxygen masks to help filter out potentially hazardous substances.
A bit of trivia that makes the swamp troopers even more fascinating than their intimidating dark green color and cape is that future rebellion fighter Han Solo used to be one. This grimmer-looking stormtrooper variation made its first appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which sees young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) joining the imperial infantry as a swamp trooper before meeting Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and going off his first adventure as a galactic outlaw.
7. Shock Trooper
The legacy of the shock troopers is a lot like that of stormtroopers branching off from the clone troopers, but in reverse. These soldiers, who look like The White Stripes’ answer to galactic warfare in their red and white armor, started off in service of the imperial infantry and specialized in carrying heavier artillery than other divisions, until after the fall of the Empire, when the Rebellion began sending them to hunt and eliminate former imperial officials-turned warlords and, later, subjugated them to delegate protection and riot control.
The imperial classification of the shock troopers was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and the Republic division was first mentioned in the Disney+ exclusive series The Mandalorian, which features a central character who used to serve as one. Cara Dune (Gina Carano) took an “early retirement” from the infantry upon realizing her responsibility was not what she had signed up for and since became a mercenary.
6. Range Trooper
At first glance, these soldiers look like someone you may see gracing the cover of the winter issue of an alternative fashion magazine. However, range troopers were a specialized variant of stormtrooper that were considered the toughest in the imperial military.
Not only is their fur-clad armor conveniently warm, but their gription boots allow them to walk securely on top of fast moving vehicles. This was demonstrated when the range troopers made their first appearance in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story when Han Solo , Chewbacca, and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) stood off against them during a train heist.
5. Scout Trooper
The scout troopers were a special unit of the Galactic Empire’s Stormtrooper Corps who solved the problem that plagued many stormtroopers: desperately lacking skills in marksmanship. They received excellent training in long-range shooting (earning the name Imperial sharpshooters), which came in handy considering that their far lighter armor did not do much to protect them from enemy fire.
The scout troopers’ armor does have its benefits, however, especially an allowance of greater mobility and enhanced optical range in their helmets while piloting speeder bikes. Thus, one of the most exciting sequences in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (the speeder bike chase through Endor) was made possible.
4. Cold Weather Assault Stormtrooper
At the peak of the Galactic Empire’s rule, the cold weather assault stormtroopers were the creme de la creme its military backbone. This is was the elite variant of the Stormtrooper Corps specially trained and equipped for frigid environments, such as the ice planet of Hoth, which housed the Echo Base of the Rebel Alliance.
The cold weather assault stormtrooper (or simply “snowtrooper”) had everything they needed to take on the cold, such as insulated armor, a heated breather mask, polarized goggles, and grappling hooks. No wonder they were such a challenging threat on Hoth in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
I swear that I will make my final joke about stormtroopers’ poor aim when I say that at least this variation of the soldiers had a weapon that they could not possibly miss with. The flametroopers were a unit under First Order that Resistance fighters often called “hotheads” or “burnouts,” due to their specialization in using flamethrowers to burn enemies to a crisp.
The flametroopers made their first appearance at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, storming the land in their flame-retardant armor and setting fire to a small village on Jakku with their powerful incinerators. A fearsome force to be reckoned with they are, using their weapon of choice to bring onto their enemies a fate more painful than that of your standard blaster rifle.
While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the first live action film to depict stormtroopers with the ability to fly, stormtroopers with jetpacks have existed in the universe outside of the movies. In fact, the concept dates back to 1993, upon the release of the Super Nintendo adaptation of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
However, chronologically, the first flying soldiers were the clone jetpack troopers, a unit of the Grand Army of the Republic that specialized in aerial combat during the Clone Wars, which were replaced by jumptroopers under imperial rule. Jumptroopers even have their own variants within the variant itself utilized for different environments, such as Arctic Jumptroopers, Desert Jumptroopers, and Forest Jumptroopers.
1. Death Trooper
I think, in this case, the name really should say it all, yet it is merely the tip of the iceberg as to what makes this variation of stormtroopers probably the coolest of them all. You have to imagine that the traditional stormtroopers were wicked jealous of the death troopers, not just by their specialized training in covert operations and enhanced combat, but that striking jet black armor, equipped with an exclusive arsenal of tools, such as a voice changer, motion detector, and optical radar display.
Death troopers were also skilled in hand-to-hand combat and leaving no trace of evidence to their presence after missions, in addition to expert tactical abilities. They are the ultimate imperial warriors whose awe-inspiring abilities and appearance make you wonder why it took until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for them to make it into the movies.
Whether they are fighting for the good guys or the bad ones, when it comes to stormtroopers one thing is for sure: they never go out of style. Speaking of, was our number one pick of the coolest variation the one you were looking for? Let us know!
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Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.