A close-up of one of Star Wars' Death Troopers

Star Wars: Death Troopers, Explained

The Death Troopers rank among the most memorable foot soldiers in the Star Wars universe – so, what’s their deal? And what Star Wars media do they appear in?

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Who Are Star Wars’ Death Troopers?

A squad of Death Troopers in the Star Wars universe

Death Troopers are (as their name and armor design suggests) elite Imperial Stormtroopers. Aside from their striking, all-black protective garb, what sets Death Troopers apart from regular Stormtroopers is their training. While the Stormtroopers are essentially grunts – or, let’s be honest, cannon fodder – the Death Troopers boast advanced armed and unarmed combat skills. They are also adept at covert ops, with a reputation for being so stealthy that they leave no evidence behind during espionage missions. The Death Troopers’ gear is likewise a cut above that of their Stormtrooper counterparts. In particular, their helmets feature more advanced sensors and targeting systems, as well as a more intimidating voice modulator.

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But what ultimately defines the Death Troopers is their above-average mental and physical attributes. The Galactic Empire (and later, the Imperial Remnant) only selects candidates who outperform during Stormtrooper training for the Death Trooper division. Recruits then undergo an intensive augmentation progress that elevates them to near-superhuman status. The rare qualities a Death Trooper requires likely explain why relatively few of them are kicking around a galaxy far, far away. Indeed, by the time of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the Empire’s successor, the First Order, has seemingly decommissioned the Death Trooper division entirely.

What Star Wars Media Do Death Troopers Appear In?

That’s the general gist of the Death Troopers explained – now, where can you see them in action? Everywhere, from live-action movies and TV shows to cartoons, comics, and video games. That said, arguably the Death Troopers’ most high-profile appearance is also their first: 2016 spinoff flick Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Their other live-action “credits” include The Mandalorian Season 1, Andor Season 1, and Ahsoka Season 1. Plus, one of the Knights of Ren, Trudgen, rocks a retrofitted Trooper helmet in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (which counts as a quasi-cameo).

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Turning to the wider Star Wars canon, the Death Troopers show up in several episodes of animated series Star Wars Rebels. They’re also a playable unit type in EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II video game. What’s more, these elite soldiers appear in multiple Star Wars comics published by Marvel, including the Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra, Hidden Empire, and War of the Bounty Hunters titles. Finally, the Death Troopers are present (or at least referenced) in a handful of books – most notably, in 2019 novel Thrawn: Treason.

All the Death Troopers’ screen appearances (including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) are currently streaming on Disney+ as part of the platform’s Star Wars collection.


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Author
Leon Miller
Leon is a freelance contributor at The Escapist, covering movies, TV, video games, and comics. Active in the industry since 2016, Leon's previous by-lines include articles for Polygon, Popverse, Screen Rant, CBR, Dexerto, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more.