- "For the Sith!"
- ―A Sith trooper
Sith troopers, also known as Sith stormtroopers, were elite soldiers in the Sith Eternal army that was created on the planet Exegol during the New Republic Era. The army comprised the children of the Sith Eternal, a Sith cult that revered the dark side of the Force. While Sith troopers were named after the Jedi Order's ancient rival, the Sith Order, they were not Force-sensitive like their namesake. Nevertheless, they shared the Sith cultists' devotion to the Sith religion. Taking inspiration from the Sith legacy that was built on fear and death, the armor worn by Sith troopers was red like Sith lightsaber blades and the Emperor's Royal Guard. They were the culmination of the Contingency created by Darth Sidious—Dark Lord of the Sith and Galactic Emperor—whose goal was to return the galaxy to a dark age of a thousand years past, under the eternal reign of a new Sith Empire.
Sith troopers followed in the tradition of armored infantry units, one of the most enduring symbols of military might in galactic history. This heritage began with the white-armored clone trooper legions that fought in the Clone Wars, representing hope to the citizens of the Galactic Republic. The Galactic Empire and the First Order appropriated the clone army's legacy, in turn, altering it into a symbol of fascist rule. Neither Imperial stormtroopers nor First Order stormtroopers were clones, but both armies were conditioned for absolute loyalty. Building on the success of methods used by Kaminoan scientists, the Sith Eternal succeeded in suppressing the individuality of the Sith troopers. As a result, Sith troopers were even more loyal and obedient than the Empire's recruits and the First Order's child conscripts. While all Sith troopers were dedicated to the Sith cause, only the best in their ranks served as Sovereign Protectors, a cohort of royal guards stationed in the Sith Citadel and the amphitheater housing the Throne of the Sith.
The Sith troopers were awaiting deployment during the final days of the First Order/Resistance War. Darth Sidious, having returned long after his demise at Endor, set out to reconquer the galaxy through the Final Order—a vast fleet of Xyston-class Star Destroyers. However, the Sith troopers were defeated in their first battle against the Resistance, leaving Allegiant General Enric Pryde's flagship, the Steadfast, vulnerable to sabotage by the former stormtroopers FN-2187 and TZ-1719. The Final Order was ultimately destroyed in the Unknown Regions along with the Sith troopers and their resurrected Emperor, and with their destruction the rest of the galaxy was inspired to rise up against the First Order's remaining forces.
- "Far too often, clones and stormtroopers exhibited unseemly moments of free will. To eliminate such flaws, these fiercely loyal fighters have undergone extreme levels of mental conditioning and flash-imprinting. These processes have rendered them completely susceptible to my commands and have eliminated any chance of rebellion."
- ―Darth Sidious describes the Sith troopers
Though named for the Sith, a sect devoted to the dark side of the Force, Sith troopers were heirs to a military heritage dating back to the final years of the Galactic Republic. When the Confederacy of Independent Systems signaled its intent to secede from the Republic, the clone troopers of Kamino were organized into the Grand Army of the Republic. At the time of their introduction, these armored infantry units represented the future of galactic warfare. They were modeled on the genetic template of Jango Fett, a human bounty hunter, and designed to be superior to battle droids. So symbolic were they of the times, the galaxy-wide conflict that marked their debut came to be known as the Clone Wars.
For three years, the Grand Army battled against the Separatist Droid Army across the galaxy. Under the leadership of the Jedi Knights, an order of peacekeepers united by their faith in the light side of the Force, clone troopers became a symbol of honor and defense, representing salvation to the citizens of a war-torn galaxy. The clones were, however, unwitting participants in a Sith conspiracy. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord who accumulated political power in his guise as Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, issued Order 66 in the waning hours of the Clone Wars—calling for the immediate liquidation of the Jedi Order. As a result, the clones turned against their Jedi General, executing them as enemies of the state across worlds and inside the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. With the clone troopers under his command and the Jedi all but extinct, Sidious assumed absolute power as Emperor of the First Galactic Empire.
The subsequent Imperial Era witnessed the termination of the Kaminoan cloning facilities overseen by Prime Minister Lama Su. Human volunteers and conscripts supplanted clones in all branches of the Imperial Military, including the elite ranks of the stormtroopers. The image of endless legions of white-armored soldiers that once represented galactic salvation had become a faceless icon of fascism. However, Commandant Brendol Hux was less than impressed by the clones' successors. As a veteran of the Clone Wars and an instructor at the Imperial Academy on Arkanis, Hux admired the discipline and fighting prowess of clone troopers as well as their Jedi officers, deeming both groups as a superior class of soldier than the Imperial stormtroopers. Dissatisfied with the caliber of troops in the Imperial Army, Hux conceived the idea of training stormtrooper cadets from birth, believing that a lifetime of military instruction and indoctrination produced the most excellent and loyal soldiers.
Within a generation of the Empire's downfall, the First Order evolved from a remnant of the old regime, creating a smaller yet disciplined and well armed military. Like the Empire, the First Order appropriated the clone troopers' legacy by creating their own version of white-armored soldiers. Utilizing mass conscription and the training regimen pioneered by Brendol Hux, human younglings were taken from their conquered homeworlds in the Unknown Regions and trained as members of the next generation of stormtroopers. Where the Empire opted from numbing routine, the First Order's training simulations and live-fire exercises encouraged improvisation on the battlefield, making their troopers more dangerous than their Imperial predecessors.
The First Order's stormtrooper program continued to develop after Hux's death, falling under the supervision of his son General Armitage Hux and Captain Phasma. The younger Hux had complete confidence in his father's legacy despite FN-2187's betrayal during the last remaining days of the Cold War. Kylo Ren, the apprentice of Supreme Leader Snoke, believed the deserter's treachery indicated a flaw that was systemic to the entire First Order army. Having spent his life refining the First Order's training methods, Hux believed the aberrant trooper was an isolated case and therefore rejected the Knight of Ren's suggestion that their master would be better served by an army of clones.
New Sith Empire
Out of the shadows
- "Though they have come to be known as Sith troopers, these soldiers bear no connection to the Force. They are Sith in name only. But the brutality of their wrath may soon suggest otherwise."
- ―Darth Sidious
Information within the First Order was extremely compartmentalized; even high-ranking First Order officers were unaware of the true scope of their forces. With Ren usurping his master's throne, the veils of secrecy that surrounded Snoke and his plan dissipated, revealing the existence of an invasion fleet developed on the hidden Sith world of Exegol, the Final Order. Having overthrown the New Republic, certain elements within the First Order prepared to deploy a fleet of Xyston-class Star Destroyers along with an army of elite soldiers. The thousands of Sith personnel were raised as the children of the Sith Eternal—cultists devoted to the preservation of the Sith religion—who taught them to revere the power of the dark side.
While thousands of children on Exegol, the offspring of members of the Sith Eternal cult, were conscripted into the ranks of the crimson armored soldiers who came to be known as "Sith troopers," many others had originally been conscripted by the First Order as children, but, due to their potential, spies culled and "disappeared" them, allowing them to become soldiers of the Sith Eternal. The Sith troopers served as the most elite members of the Sith Eternal army. Furthermore, the Sith Eternal learned from the supposed "flaws" of the clone troopers and stormtroopers that had come before; to ensure Sidious's new army was totally obedient, Sith troopers endured extreme amounts of flash-imprinting and mental conditioning, ensuring they would obey every order the Dark Lord of the Sith gave them.
In its ultimate push toward galactic conquest, the First Order readied the army of Sith troopers, whose existence was unknown even to most within the regime. The structure of the Sith Eternal force was analogous to that of the First Order, both having been patterned on an Imperial template. Sith troopers were therefore organized into legions of five-thousand soldiers; at their most basic level were trooper squads consisting of ten soldiers, divided into a trio or triad of three-trooper fire teams—two corporals and a lance corporal—led by a sergeant. Whereas the variant Sith Jetpack Troopers were organized into their own separate squads, such as the Lanvorak Squad, the Parang Squad and the Warblade Squad, the 105th Battalion was by comprised both Sith infantry units and their jet trooper counterparts. Though Sith troopers resembled the standard troopers of the First Order, their armor and weapons were finished in the striking red colors of the Sith Eternal forces, and were made of denser multi-layered composites providing additional protection from small-arms fire. The crucial difference came in the discipline, ferocity, and loyalty to a resilient cause, which instilled these crimson warriors and their variant counterparts with a fearless aggression.
While they were not imbued with powers derived from the Force, Sith troopers nonetheless derived their name from the dark and ancient legacy of the Sith. Most galactic citizens were unaware that two Sith Lords—Darth Sidious and Darth Vader—occupied positions of power and as such they believed that the Empire's extreme militarization and authoritarian rule stemmed from a desire for security. These measures were in fact fueled by a dark agenda over a thousand years old, culminating in an elaborate contingency designed to ensure the perpetual reign of a Sith Empire, returning the galaxy to a time unseen since the fall of the Old Republic.
The Sith Eternal, having secretly groomed Ren as heir apparent to the Sith legacy, prepared their forces for his ascension to ultimate power in 35 ABY, believing the grandson of Vader would fulfill the mandate of returning the galaxy to Sith rule. To ensure that there were no remaining Jedi to oppose Ren's claim as heir to the Force, the Supreme Leader was bidden to destroy the Padawan Rey by her grandfather Sidious. Despite his demise at Endor, the phantom Dark Lord of the Sith returned to oversee the final stage of his contingency plans, which would culminate in Ren's reign over the entire galaxy as the new Emperor. To that end, Sidious offered the young dark side warrior control of the Sith Star Destroyers and the fanatically loyal Sith troopers, both of which were crucial to the First Order's transformation into a true Empire.
The discovery of the Sith troopers along with the rest of Exegol's untapped military assets bolstered the Supreme Council's support for Ren's leadership. Allegiant General Enric Pryde was particularly supportive of the alliance between his former Emperor and the Supreme Leader, believing that these additional forces would greatly expand the First Order's range in power, thereby offsetting the disastrous destruction of Starkiller Base. While the Sith Eternal's military forces were created to fight for the First Order, they ultimately remained loyal to Sidious, who threatened to turn them against Ren if he did not succeed in his task to kill Rey.
After recruiting Ren to kill Rey, Sidious completed a history of himself by writing a book entitled The Secrets of the Sith, in which he described his new Sith trooper army. Covering how they were more obedient than his previous armies, Sidious marveled at the rage present in each of the soldiers, pondering if that rage could make them worthy of the name "Sith." Next to his writing, an image of three-armed Sith troopers was present, while a Sith Jetpack Trooper and a Sovereign Protector were pictured in his section on the Sith fleet.
War on Exegol
- "The Resistance is dead. The Sith flame will burn. All worlds surrender or die. The Final Order begins."
- ―Darth Sidious
In the end, Sidious' plans for Ren foundered due to the death of Princess Leia Organa, who sacrificed herself in hopes of facilitating her fallen son Ben Solo's return to the light side. Pryde, a former Imperial officer who served the Emperor during the Galactic Civil War, pledged fealty to his once-and-future liege.
Notwithstanding the simmering tension between the First Order's well-regimented military and the Sith Eternal cultists from the Unknown Regions, their alliance was intended to serve as the basis of a new Sith Empire, with the Final Order to enforce Sith rule across the galaxy. At the Emperor's command, a single Xyston-class Star Destroyer, the Derriphan, was deployed to the occupied world of Kijimi; in addition to its standard complement of nearly 30,000 Sith Eternal officers and fleet technicians, the new warship also carried a force of Sith troopers, who were present on the bridge of the ship when its commanding officer, Captain Chesille Sabrond, commanded Kijimi's annihilation with a single shot from her destroyer's axial superlaser cannon.
Despite the Emperor's demonstration of the Sith Eternal's power, the Resistance fleet made a last-ditch attempt to destroy the Sith fleet on Exegol where it was most vulnerable. The Resistance forces faced overwhelming odds in the form of hundreds of warships, guarded by thousands of Sith troopers. The battle of a generation—one that would decide the fate of the galaxy—ensued between the Resistance and the Sith Eternal, during which a contingent of Sith troopers and jet troopers served aboard Allegiant General Pryde's flagship, the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer Steadfast.
The renegade stormtroopers FN-2187 and TZ-1719 boarded the Steadfast along with the Resistance army's assault team, attempting to disable the command ship before it could guide the Sith Eternal forces to a safe altitude. The Sith troopers launched an immediate counterattack, engaging the enemy's troops directly on the surface of the Steadfast. Though they killed numerous Resistance troopers in the process, too many Sith troopers perished while defending the Steadfast, leaving the flagship vulnerable to sabotage as thousands of starships from across the galaxy arrived to fight alongside the Resistance. Meanwhile, a cadre of Sovereign Protectors—the best of the Sith troopers, stationed in the Sith Citadel's amphitheater housing the Throne of the Sith—were slain in battle by the combined power of the Jedi Solo and Rey.
With the destruction of the Steadfast as well as the deaths of Pryde and Sidious, the Sith fleet was rendered leaderless and unable to save their remaining warships. As word of the battle's results spread throughout the stars, an uprising against the First Order commenced throughout the galaxy, overthrowing its remaining forces on several worlds such as Bespin, Jakku, and Endor.
- "The most elite members in my new army, these crimson soldiers are fully devoted to my noble cause."
- ―Darth Sidious
A merciless soldier excelling in speed and advanced weaponry to hunt down and destroy all enemies of the First Order, the Sith trooper was the culmination of generations of work dating back to the last remaining years of the Galactic Republic. Their earliest precursors, the clone troopers, were trained to be the most loyal and efficient soldiers, a process that soon after their creation and encompassed the first decade of their accelerated lives. However, Darth Sidious was dismayed by the disconcerting amount of free will exhibited by genetically engineered soldiers despite numerous alterations to their template. Doctor Nala Se, the Chief Medical Scientist of the Kaminoan government, concluded that the Jedi were the source of this divergent behavior, because they encouraged the clones to behave as individuals instead of thinking in lockstep.
After the Clone Wars, the Galactic Empire spent decades attempting to strip its stormtroopers of their individuality, making them fervently loyal extensions of Emperor Palpatine's will. Though they were not clones, stormtroopers were fanatically loyal to the Empire, yet also an inferior class of soldier according to both clone and non-clone veterans of the Clone Wars. Like the stormtroopers, Sith troopers were not cloned but born. They were natural humans, native to Exegol as children of the Sith Eternal cultists or taken by the First Order as infants; the Sith Eternal had ultimately conscripted thousands as children. They were young, around their early twenties, standing at 1.8 meters tall by the time their training was complete. Like standard stormtroopers in the First Order, Sith troopers were denied individual names. Instead, troopers like ST-I4191 and ST-A1215 were identified by their serial numbers.
To ensure the soldiers had no freewill of their own, Sith troopers were subjected to flash-training and loyalty conditioning built upon and advanced beyond the Kaminoan procedures of earlier generations. As a result, Sith troopers were imbued with fanatical loyalty to the Sith Eternal and their cause, becoming more obedient and droid-like than the First Order's trained-from-childhood stormtroopers. The best soldiers in their ranks were elevated beyond the elite status of Sith troopers, becoming a separate class of soldier altogether. Notwithstanding the aesthetic similarities First Order stormtroopers and their Sith Eternal counterparts, the crucial difference was in the latter's fearless aggression as well as their discipline, ferocity, and loyalty to the Sith. In close-quarters combat, Sith troopers operated in fire teams of three units, who were trained to fight in a braced firing stance for covering sixty degrees of forward arc.
As children of the Sith Eternal, Sith troopers revered the power of the dark side, having been raised by cultists to embody the beliefs of the ancient Sith religion. In drawing inspiration from the Sith's legacy, each Sith trooper legion adopted the name of an ancient Sith Lord in addition to their numerical identification. Hence, the 3rd Legion was named after Revan, the 5th Legion after Andeddu, and the 17th Legion after Darth Tanis. The 26th Legion, the 39th Legion and the 44th Legion were named after Tenebrous, Phobos and Desolous, respectively. As Sith history was hidden from the rest of the galaxy, only Sith Eternal cultists knew the significance of these otherwise forgotten Lords of the Sith.
Sith trooper armor consisted of a red gammaplast composite, quadruple-layered to a dense, highly impact-resistant finish worn over a hermetically sealed black body glove. Faceted anglular planes on the face and chest plate were designed to redirect glancing blaster bolts. The helmet's T-shaped visor was reminiscent of the clone trooper's Phase I and Phase II versions. Aside from this aesthetic callback to the clone soldiers of generations past, targeting sensors were integrated into the helmet's design, giving Sith troopers an advantage in low light or smoke-obscured conditions.
As a result, their helmets constantly broadcasted battlefield data, providing Sith trooper officers with a sweeping overview of combat conditions. A commander's helmet could calculate the outcomes of various tactics in a compressed time via computer models, which in turn provided officers with recommendations based on predefined victory conditions. This information was kept at the command level to avoid distracting the rank-and-file troopers in the midst of combat. Additional technological features included a wireless data antenna and an atmosphere filtration system.
The Sith troopers' right shoulder-mounted sensor telemetry pod emitted active signals programmed to bounce and return, providing accurate environmental data to feed back to a command center through encrypted telemetry. The right forearm gauntlet had a built-in data storage module with an access port, the armor's articulated magnatomic plates permitted the troopers' greater range in movement, and the anisotropic bands increased the surface area for radiating excess energy from impacts. The corrugated body glove that was worn under the quad-folded gammaplast armor had an internal atmosphere. The utility belt contained power cell ammunition as well as a detonite explosive charge.
The Sith troopers' primary weapon was the ST-W48 blaster. It was a heavy rifle with miniaturized tech built into space-efficient frames. Slung beneath each rifle's barrel were quarrel-bolt launchers, which borrowed and updated the Wookiees' bowcaster technology for an extra explosive punch. The result was a versatile weapon capable of switching between two modes: blaster rifle and blaster carbine. The ST-W48 was strengthened to decrease its recoil; it also possessed a sight-housing and mount for improved accuracy. In its carbine mode, the stock was removed for combat in confined spaces.
Aside from the ST-W48, some Sith troopers carried the larger FWMB-10B repeating blaster for additional firepower. Designed by Sonn-Blas Corporation, this repeating blaster had a collapsed monopod that could extend for support, a high-resolution electroscope, and a barrel-cooling shroud. Some Sith troopers also wielded melee weapons, including a bladed weapon gripped in a similar fashion to the Z6 riot control baton utilized by First Order riot control stormtroopers, and a large pincer-like weapon.
A type of two-pronged blaster rifle was reserved for the best in the Sith trooper ranks, the Sovereign Protectors. It was a ceremonial weapon that functioned as both a blaster and a melee weapon.
Specialized Sith troopers
To create a versatile army capable of meeting the various demands of warfare, specialized troopers were trained and equipped to complement the Sith Eternal's infantry units. As with the Sith infantrymen, these variants resembled their counterparts in the First Order; however, their armor was painted in the striking red colors of the Sith Eternal forces.
- Sith Jetpack Trooper — Elite airborne troopers, given intense training and advanced gear, such as the NJP-900 integrated jetpack and the F-11ABA heavy blaster cannon.
- Sith trooper officer — Officers trained for command, given armor fitted with advanced sensor technology; military ranks included commander, sergeant, lance corporal, and corporal.
- Sovereign Protector — The best of the Sith troopers, elevated to the status of elite royal guards, stationed in the Sith Citadel on Exegol.
Behind the scenes
Sith troopers were created and developed for the 2019 film Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, the third and final installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. They were designed by concept artist Glyn Dillon, and were sculpted by Sam Williams. The Sith trooper costume was designed by costume designer Michael Kaplan. Their design drew from the death trooper and the Elite Praetorian Guard.
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- Star Wars Battlefront II (DLC)
- Resistance Heroes (First appearance, simultaneous with First Order Villains)
- First Order Villains (First appearance, simultaneous with Resistance Heroes)
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures – "The First Order vs. The Resistance"
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition audiobook
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel audiobook
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Graphic Novel Adaptation
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker to one year after the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. As Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the events of The Force Awakens to 34 ABY, the events of The Rise of Skywalker must occur in 35 ABY.
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Darth Vader (2017) 2
- Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Battlefront II
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization
- Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Fugitive"
- Star Wars Rebels – "Relics of the Old Republic"
- The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker