Darth Sidious had a massive vision when he created the Empire. However, he had an ingenious plan to take the already active Clone Troopers and refine them into the nearly invincible force known as the Stormtroopers. These soldiers were conditioned from the very start to serve the Empire and do whatever it took to help the Emperor survive. The Stormtroopers have had an iconic yet joke-worthy legacy in the Star Wars universe. While they were meant to be a terrifying army, their inability to hit anything with a blaster became one of the Internet’s jokes since memes were invented. On top of that, they’re also subject to several parodies in pop culture.
However, being a Stormtrooper wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. As a matter of fact, they were subjected to much more difficult training than most people see in their entire lives. Once they were finally recognized as troopers, there were certain rules they had to follow that are every bit as shocking as you would expect. They definitely didn’t have an easy job. How does an army become so enormous and effective as the Stormtroopers? By having powerful rules in place. No doubt that you’ll be unsettled by these 20 odd rules and guidelines that Stormtroopers had to follow.
20. UNCONDITIONAL LOYALTY
In order to stretch his reach to every planet in the galaxy, the Emperor needed a force that would follow his orders without question. Through years of training and messaging, the Stormtroopers were conditioned to have unfailing loyalty to the Emperor.
Regardless of how morally ambiguous their orders were, they were not allowed to call the Emperor or their commanding officers into question.
They just needed to follow orders. As such, this led to troops having to kill the Jedi when the Emperor executing Order 66. It also led to the coining of the phrase “A good soldier follows orders.” Any Stormtrooper who was believed to not be following orders was immediately given a disciplinary response that could range from a demotion to a serious death.
19. HUNT DOWN JEDI
The Jedi are the guiding wisemen of the galaxy. Because they embody the Light Side of the Force, it’s generally a good idea to what they say. While they might get a little too big for their britches at times, they still work for the good of the universe and everyone in it. However, there will always be people in place to try and eradicate the Jedi.
One of the Emperor’s first orders to his troopers was to kill the Jedi. Even after Order 66, the Stormtroopers were commanded to hunt down and kill any remaining Jedi with the newly christened Darth Vader. Many soldiers had to turn on their generals who had been fighting at their side for countless battles. Those who didn’t comply with the order no longer worked for the Empire.
18. QUESTIONABLE ENFORCEMENT TECHNIQUES
After the Jedi Council was brought down and the Republic was threatened, the Emperor in disguise as the Supreme Chancellor tore the organization down and created the Empire in its ashes. Because of this new lordship over the galaxy, not every civilization went along with it quietly.
Since its inception, there were many who still opposed the Emperor’s rule. Because of this, Stormtroopers were carefully instructed in protocol that detailed how to deal with any people who tried to cause problems. Stormtroopers were good at torturing innocent people and getting the response they needed. No matter how radical the Empire’s rules were, it was the job of the Stormtroopers to make sure that those rules were being obeyed. If the Emperor told them to make sure everyone wore purple on Sunday, they’d be checking door to door for purple clothing.
17. SUBJECT TO CLONING
Not long after the days of the Clone Wars, the Emperor decided to do away with using clones of Jango Fett. The process took too long and was much more expensive than the Empire could handle. To compensate, other people were drafted into the Empire to serve as the muscle. Yet, even then, there were diamonds in the rough.
If, during training, there was a trooper who managed to be in the top fifth percentile of his class and met certain physical requirements, he was taken by the Empire to be a cloning subject for a time.
This way, the Emperor could have multiple “perfect soldiers” to then use in battle, making it even more difficult for their enemies to break through. Usually, these special soldiers weren’t cloned for a particularly long time.
16. VOLUNTARY ENLISTMENT
The clone process worked for a long time, but it wasn’t without its flaws. In a few years after the end of the Jedi Council, clones of Jango Fett were no longer being created. The Emperor needed a new way of getting more Stormtroopers in his ranks. He came up with the idea of encouraging civilians to enlist in the Empire’s army.
By making the entire job sound much more glamorous than it actually was, the Emperor received numerous troops through voluntary enlistment. As a matter of fact, the clones of Jango Fett quickly became a minority. Furthermore, when the First Order was established, all of their Stormtroopers were real people who voluntarily chose to be a part of the army. There were no clones in their ranks.
15. NEVER ASK QUESTIONS
It’s no secret that Stormtroopers have had to do some shady stuff. Whether it be killing innocent people, or letting civilians on their own planets be subject to destruction, it’s not hard to see the negative effects of the Empire. That said, the Stormtroopers are conditioned from very early on to not question any of these decisions.
Stormtroopers are taught in training that their ideas and thoughts don’t matter; only the Emperor’s orders. The goal here is to get them to think to themselves that their opinions are inconsequential and relevant. The hope is that they will voluntarily choose not to ask questions and eventually agree with whatever the Empire is doing. If not done carefully, then they end up with Stormtroopers like FN-287 (Finn).
14. BE EXPENDABLE
There’s a certain level of respect that’s attained once you enter in the military. If someone falls away in the heat of battle, then they are given honorable funerals and medals for their service. The same can’t be said of the Stormtroopers. On top of having soldiers who would follow his orders without question, the Emperor needed an army of people who would give up their lives without a second thought.
In basic training, Stormtroopers are told from the very start that they are expendable.
Whatever the mission is, they are to treat it as more important than their own lives. If their deaths will led to the survival of the Empire and its leaders, then they are commanded to die. As a result, all of the Stormtroopers in the army are well aware that their lives don’t matter in the grand scheme of the galaxy.
13. IGNORE CASUALTIES IN THEIR OWN RANKS
Fighting in a war requires an insane level of teamwork, which is what the Empire emphasized in their own soldiers. The reason that Stormtroopers were later referred to by numbers rather than names was to have them understand that they were cogs in a machine that needed to run well. If there was a weak link, then it had to be removed.
When it came to actual battle, things were a bit different. On top of understanding that they were all expendable, Stormtroopers were ordered to never drop what they were doing to save a wounded teammate. As a matter of fact, they were conditioned to not see their fellow soldiers as people, but only as tools. That way, when their friends would go down, they would simply ignore it and keep pressing onward.
12. FORGET THEIR NAME AND FACE
Everyone has a name and a face, but that wouldn’t work in the Empire. The Emperor knew that if his Stormtroopers still clung to their identity, then they would try and think for themselves. Because of this, Stormtroopers were instructed to leave their names and faces at the door. The moment they enlisted, their lives were changed forever, as they left their old identities at the door.
In the place of their personal names and faces, Stormtroopers were trained to see their helmets as their faces. The only identity that mattered to them was that they worked in service of the Empire and all of its goals. As such, Stormtroopers were forbidden to take off their helmets unless they were in scheduled areas where they were allowed to do so.
11. COMMIT MASS GENOCIDE
Believe it or not, the Empire actually did some good in trying to prolong the life of the universe. The use of the Stormtrooper army brought down several threats that could’ve potentially been much bigger in the long run. That said, the Emperor wasn’t above putting a mass genocide in place to serve some ulterior motive.
As such, the Stormtroopers were the ones who had to carry out the order. No matter how much they disagreed with the outcome, they weren’t allowed to question it.
As a matter of fact, they had to physically participate in the order or there would be serious consequences. This sort of situation was showed in The Force Awakens where the Stormtroopers had to eradicate everyone on that town in Jakku.
10. KIDNAP CHILDREN FOR THEIR CAUSE
Many of the Stormtroopers were volunteers who enlisted as adults, and that raised some concerns among those in charge. After all, it would take a lot of reconditioning in order to turn those people into brainless warriors. One solution was to bring in children and indoctrinate them from a young age in the ways of the Empire.
Because of this, Stormtroopers were ordered to go to various territories and capture children to have them serve in the Empire. That way, they would be completely brainwashed an age of impressionability. Those who refused to give up their kids to the Empire were justly “removed.” Just imagine how many Stormtroopers died in the films who were little more than children forcibly kidnapped. It really makes one think about all the times we rooted for a group of troopers dying.
9. LISTEN TO SUBLIMINAL SLEEP MESSAGES
It wasn’t until the days of the First Order that a strong emphasis was placed on weaning Stormtroopers from an early age to become soldiers. This program, upheld by General Hux and Captain Phasma, was nearly foolproof. One of the ways that they would keep a hold on the Stormtroopers was by playing subliminal messages while they slept (the specifics of which are unclear).
These subliminal messages had to deal with how little the troopers mattered and that their overall purpose was to serve their organizations. The scary part was that Stormtroopers couldn’t do anything to stop this form of indoctrination, because it was quite literally happening without their knowledge. All they knew is that they woke up one day with a weird desire to commit mass genocide.
8. LEARN MEDICAL TRAINING
After the days of the Empire, General Hux wanted to improve on the Stormtroopers so that they would be more effective in battle. Not only were they instructed in hand-to-hand combat and how to fight with numerous, but also how to deal with medical wounds. That said, there was a fairly big catch that went along with this training.
Stormtroopers were not instructed to save all of their allies on the battlefield.
Instead, they had to try and heal the ones who could get back up and fight. If they were unable to continue on, then they were left to die. On top of this, Stormtroopers could patch themselves up if they were severely wounded. Their ultimate purpose in life was to give every last breath for the First Order.
7. SEE OTHERS AS “LIFELESS”
Being a Stormtrooper takes a special kind of mindset, which is why the Emperor and the First Order had specific messages in place to get the ideal soldier every time. Stormtroopers had to kill people and watch their comrades get slaughtered on a daily basis, so it was important they not get emotionally attached to either group of people.
The type of message that was placed in their minds was that all kinds of people weren’t lives but merely obstacles that had to be overcome. Their fellow troopers weren’t their brothers and sisters, but merely machines. This way, a Stormtrooper wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and end a life. That sort of messaging was truer for their opponents than it was for their buddies, though.
6. REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE EMPEROR
Believe it or not, there were other types of military during the days of the Empire. Those branches reported to their own governing officials, but the Stormtroopers eliminated the middle man altogether. Their entire army only took orders directly from the Emperor himself. If another military branch gave them a command and the Emperor told them something different, they would instantly listen to the latter.
As it stands, the Galactic Empire operated separate from a lot of other organizations. While there was some ground to legally content with the Empire, no one was dumb enough to go directly against the will of Darth Sidious and his seemingly inexhaustible army of Stormtroopers. Everyone in the galaxy knew that to stand in the way of the Emperor was a suicide note.
5. GET HURT (OR WORSE) DURING TRAINING
Being a Stormtrooper isn’t easy work, and the training is arguably more difficult than any real battle they may face. As a matter of fact, the training is so intensive that it can often lead to recruits dying before they ever see action. During the Empire, this phenomenon was less frequent, as the training was more uniform and concise. When the First Order came into the picture, though, things were looking much different.
Part of General Hux’s and Captain Phasma’s new program was that Stormtroopers would be given more simulation-based training.
They would be instructed to fight each other with an emphasis placed on adaptability in combat so that they could be prepared for any problem that could arise. This unpredictability caused a lot of casualties.
4. TRAIN TO BE AN INQUISITOR
There came some rare events where a Stormtrooper recruit would be more apt than all the rest. It wasn’t due to some physical skill or genetic enhancement either; it had everything to do with the Force. There was a rare occasion when a Stormtrooper would be Force sensitive. Once the Emperor got word of this, he would instruct that recruit to be taken for special training. The result was becoming an Inquisitor, who would serve as a dark general of sorts.
There were a few Inquisitors during the time of the Empire, and many of them were tasked with hunting down the remnants of the Jedi. That said, they didn’t last forever and were eventually taken down. Still, becoming an Inquisitor was hard work, and having to be forcibly trained in the Dark Side was never a pleasant task.
3. ENFORCE THE EMPEROR’S LAW
While the Stormtroopers were often seen as those who committed genocide and ultimately enforced orders that did more harm than good, they were also responsible for upholding the law. There were common police folk in the galaxy who worked to take down criminals and petty thieves, but if something was big enough to get the Empire’s attention, the Stormtroopers would get involved. This wasn’t just limited to those who wouldn’t give their children to the Empire either. Sometimes it involved legitimate crimes.
Several times, the troopers took part in messing up drug deals and taking down murderers. The Emperor, while evil, wasn’t about to let his domain be ruled by crime and lawlessness. The Stormtroopers worked with the police several times to essentially guarantee that there would be a better end result.
2. PREPARE TO FIGHT JEDI
When it comes to combat in Star Wars, everyone knows that it’s stupid to bring a blaster to a lightsaber fight. Supreme Leader Snoke and Darth Sidious knew this better than most, so they had the Stormtroopers trained to deal with this sort of thing. While many troopers died anyway, there were few who managed to put a better fight because of the training.
Some of them were taught how to dodge any reflected bolts. Others were given special weapons that could match a lightsaber in the field of battle. Captain Phasma had a massive spear that had a longer reach than the typical Jedi weapon. It says a lot about the Light Side of the Force that troopers with this sort of training still died, though.
1. DRINK WEIRD MILK
When dealing with an army spanning millions of men, it was important that the Emperor had some way to feed all of the Stormtroopers. However, having regular meals would go against the vision that Darth Sidious had for the Empire. Instead, he discovered some way to feed all of his soldiers cheaply and effectively. This meant that all conventional food had to be thrown out the window.
A weird blueish milk was created solely to feed the troopers.
It contained all of the specific nutrients a normal human would need, so they rarely ate anything else. There was actual food that could be consumed, but it was widely discouraged and extremely expensive to obtain. In the Legends universe, the milk was replaced with a gray substance that was nothing more than bland.