by James Burky
Stormtroopers are superior and it’s not close. While the grunts are notorious for missing shots, which is a knock on their reputation, let’s not forget how Sheev Palpatine built his empire; with the first wave of stormtroopers. Elite clones, the pride of the Empire, overwhelmed and hunted Jedi, while joining forces with Darth Vader to take down resisting sar systems in one fell swoop. Though Vader did most of the dirty work, these soldiers were cheap to train and effective. Let’s not forget the 501st Legion that entered the Jedi temple and gunned down a number of young Jedi. Sure they didn’t face the likes of Plo Koon, seen shot down in a star fighter in “Revenge of the Sith,” in face-to-face combat, but that would be an impractical way of defeating the Jedi.
The clones that became stormtroopers died off quickly, as they aged at a faster rate than normal beings, and the Empire was forced to recruit, or kidnap, potential warriors. They simply didn’t have the time or resources to train all of them to a high degree, so the ranks and classes of stormtroopers were established.
The creating of stormtrooper variants helped unleash the Death troopers, the black-armored soldiers that followed Director Orson Krennic in “Rogue One,” upon the galaxy. This elite group was trained extensively in hand-to-hand combat, sniping enemies and use of heavy weaponry. They were warriors, the likes that the Galaxy hadn’t seen in ages, decimating all who stood in their way and leaving little to no evidence that they were even there. They were the angels of death.
These soldiers from the shadows were selected to be the personal bodyguards of the Empire’s most vital members, such as Grand Admiral Thrawn and the aforementioned Krennic, further showing that there’s no Empire without stormtroopers.
While the lowest level of stormtroopers are picked on for being incapable of hitting targets, which is really just a narrative device to keep the main characters alive, en masse, these soldiers were terrifying, regardless of variant. They struck fear in resisting planets and helped bring the Separatist worlds leftover from The Clone Wars into the Empire. These are grunts whose main purpose was to prevent resistance through intimidation. They weren’t trained extensively and were imperfect, but they filled their role; fight on the front lines and give their life for the Galactic Empire.
It can’t be argued that they failed to do their job. In Season 4, Episode 5 of “Star Wars: Rebels” we see the extent of imperial and stormtrooper occupation, as the once lively planet of Lothal was heartlessly burned to the ground, with citizens living as subordinates to the patrols of stormtroopers and the overseeing governor. Lothal wasn’t the only planet to fall to the Empire as Palpatine established himself as the supreme ruler of the galaxy. His reign only lasted around 20 years which, in comparison to other empires throughout the history in the Star Wars universe, is relatively short, but the lackeys aren’t to blame, the mistakes of their leaders are.
When planets saw the Empire closing in on them, they didn’t fear Vader would approach and strike them down, they feared the men in snow white armor ready to end their life with a single pull-of-the-trigger, and that more than makes up for a few errant shots.
by Esteban Fernandez
The first task of any infantryman is to hit their target. By that metric, stormtroopers fail miserably. In comparison, the Cylon Centurion is a real threat, spreading terror wherever their chrome chassis go.
Standing at nearly seven feet tall, the modern centurion is a walking, industrialized death machine. Razor sharp claws extend from each hand. Why carry bayonets or whirly batons when a simple swipe of a palm can leave a victim vainly clutching their throat to stop the blood from gushing out? Did I mention said appendage retracts into a grapefruit sized cannon that tears holes in hapless enemies wherever they go?
Oh, and they actually hit who they aim at. Scores of unfortunate colonial service personnel and civilians have met their end at the hands of these chrome domes. It only took a small group of five or six centurions to nearly vent all the air from the Battlestar Galactica. They murdered their way from the ship’s hangar all the way to atmospheric control. Only luck stood between colonial forces retaking the ship and 2,000 dead personnel.
Did I mention they also carry heavy weapons? Sure, your average stormtrooper carries your garden variety laser rifle but these guys carry heavy-ass machine guns as standard equipment. Pretty red lasers are all well and good but I’d like to see Imperial stormtroopers weather an assault by a fully equipped cylon force. But the best part? Cylon Centurions are capable of learning and outgrowing their programming. They can even learn to peacefully coexist with former enemies. What excuse do stormtroopers have for their bad behavior? Machines are programmed, they have no choice. And on top of that, these machines can better themselves. Stormtroopers are born with choice, something no machine can really start with. And yet, they throw it all away to go troll defenseless civilians on outer rim worlds.