Stormtroopers, nicknamed “bucketheads” and—after the Battle of Endor—Remnant Stormtroopers, were the elite shock troops of the Galactic Empire. As members of the Stormtrooper Corps, an independent branch that operated under the Imperial Army, they served as frontline assault forces and formed the backbone of the Imperial Military. Indoctrinated to support the ideology of the “New Order” that the galaxy was chaotic and needed a strong unflinching order to bring peace, justice and security. Stormtroopers were fanatically loyal to the Empire, making it unlikely for them to betray the Imperial cause. With their signature white armor and the E-11 blaster rifle, stormtroopers became the face of the Galactic Empire on the countless worlds they patrolled throughout the galaxy.
In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious declared himself Emperor of the First Galactic Empire, ending the thousand-year age of the Galactic Republic and inaugurating a new era in galactic history. As a result, the clone troopers that composed the Grand Army of the Republic became the first stormtroopers during the early years of the Empire. Over time the cloning operation on Kamino was shut down and defunded. Future troopers were no longer cloned but recruited from the Empire’s human population, yet were still trained for absolute loyalty and obedience, but not to the same extent of their clone trooper predecessors.
Stormtroopers fought against the forces of the Alliance to Restore the Republic throughout the Galactic Civil War. During the conflict, they often utilized their numerical superiority, employing swarm tactics to overwhelm the enemy. After the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, the Empire deployed an army of stormtroopers—led by the Sith Lord Darth Vader—in cold weather gear to conquer the Rebel base on Hoth three years after the destruction of the first Death Star. A year later, the Emperor perished aboard the second Death Star, which was also destroyed during the Battle of Endor. Combined with the defeat of a legion of the Empire’s best soldiers, the war turned in favor of the newly-formed New Republic.
As the Empire fractured into several remnant factions, a large number of stormtroopers were united under the command of Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax and made a desperate last stand against the armies of the Republic on the forlorn frontier world of Jakku. Despite their efforts to turn the tide, Rax’s forces were defeated and the Empire subsequently sued for peace in 5 ABY. The terms of the Galactic Concordance treaty forbade the mobilization and training of stormtroopers; Imperial academies throughout the galaxy were consequently shut down during the new era of peace.
However, some stormtroopers retained their battleworn armor and became mercenaries shortly after the Empire fell into disarray. By then, all that remained of their once pristine and uniform ranks was a ragtag army of ex-soldiers led by warlords and lawless gangsters in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Despite the terms of the Galactic Concordance, a new generation of stormtroopers would rise decades after the Battle of Jakku. The First Order, a successor to the Empire in all but name, disregarded the treaty and conscripted human children into its growing army. Modeled on both Republic clone troopers and Imperial stormtroopers, First Order stormtroopers were trained from birth and conditioned by First Order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty. But whereas the Empire settled for numbing routine, the First Order’s training simulations and live-fire drills encouraged improvisation on the battlefield.