The Mandalorian has woven a lot of existing Star Wars lore into its fantastic second season. The arrival of Bo-Katan Kryze, and her tantalizing suggestion for Din Djarin to seek Ahsoka Tano, connected the Disney+ streaming series to the larger galactic narrative. But the show is also bringing in a non-canon element that fans are equally excited about: the Dark Trooper.
The end of Chapter 12 revealed that Moff Gideon is creating a new class of trooper that reminded a lot of fans of the Dark Troopers, who have been a big part of Star Wars video games since their debut in Star Wars: Dark Forces. From the looks of it, these classic troops are about to become official canon.
10 Part Of The Imperial Remnant In Legends
The Dark Trooper Project was the focus of the 1995 LucasArts video game Star Wars: Dark Forces. Jedi Knight Kyle Katarn, a former Imperial and future Jedi in Legends, stormed a ship called the Arc Hammer to stop the development of the Dark Troopers.
He was successful in the story of the game, but Dark Trooper armor later appeared among the Imperial Remnant during the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion in the books. Different versions of the troopers would also appear throughout many future video games.
9 They’re Not Actually Stormtroopers
The unique thing about the Dark Trooper is that it isn’t a typical Stormtrooper variant. In fact, they’re not people at all. The Dark Trooper armor is an advanced exoskeleton that featured heavy plated armor that in some phases, of which there were many, echoed the design of the classic Stormtrooper.
The Dark Trooper in essence was a drone, though they could be worn by people as suits of armor. General Rohm Mohc, the developer of the program, suited up in the Dark Forces video game.
8 Not Droids Either
Despite their status as drones, the Dark Troopers aren’t exactly droids. Depending on the source, they are often referred to as advanced Battle Droids, of which there is still some mystery.
But this issue of just what a Dark Trooper is was never really cleared up in the games or other source material. If the troopers Moff Gideon is developing truly are Dark Troopers, perhaps there will finally be a definitive answer of their nature for canon.
The Dark Trooper was an advanced weapons system designed to overwhelm Rebel forces. That makes them one of the strongest and strangest weapons in Star Wars. Different versions of the Dark Trooper had different weapons, ranging from blasters to swords.
The Phase I trooper carried a vibrosword and shield, while later versions relied on a variety of blasters, including the SE-14r light repeating blaster. The Phase II trooper had the ARC Caster, which shot out powerful bolts of electricity.
6 Phase Zero Mod
Like any other Stromtrooper in the Empire, the Dark Trooper evolved in its design over the years. There were three phases, with some major variants. A Phase Zero variant was introduced in Star Wars: Battlefront II, bringing the character closer into contact with canon (the game is one of the few still considered canon at this point).
This design hued much more closely to the classic Stormtrooper look with some key differences. This version had a jump pack and heavier armor, as well as red lights embedded in the helmet. In this version, the prototype Dark Troopers are actually aged Clone Trooper variants.
5 Phase I
The Phase I version of the Dark Trooper is chronologically the first version fans encountered. This skeletal trooper was much more obviously a droid (though it predated the Battle Droids of the prequels by a few years).
It was a terrifying adversary with its sword and shield, but ultimately not as successful as the Empire might have hoped. The Phase I Dark Trooper was made into an action figure by Hasbro in 2009, as part of the Star Wars line’s Build-A-Droid program.
4 Phase II
The Empire took its lessons from Phase I and applied them to the Phase II Dark Trooper. This version also debuted in Dark Forces and was considered the ‘primary’ version of the trooper. Based on just the brief look fans got in The Mandalorian, it might be the template for Moff Gideon’s forces.
Phase II Dark Troopers survived the destruction of the Arc Hammer and later participated in major battles between the Empire and Rebellion, as well as the Legends battle to retake Coruscant.
3 Phase III
The Phase III Dark Trooper is a hulking brute that was by far the most powerful of the main trio. This version could be worn by Imperial forces as a suit of exo-armor and was less an obvious droid than its predecessors. That said, the Phase III version does bear some likeness to the Super Battle Droid.
This version also looks a little bit like the bruising Wrecker from The Bad Batch, a Clone unit that will get their own animated series on Disney+. Dark Troopers would be a cool thing to see in The Bad Batch series.
2 Elite Dark Trooper
Other significant variants of the Dark Troopers appeared in other video games. These elite advanced versions were proper super Battle Droids, with highly evolved armor. They appeared in Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron.
Their bulky but streamlined armor might provide some influence for The Mandalorian, though it’s hard to tell from the quick look in Chapter 12. Their appearance in this game and numerous others since 1995 shows their popularity with fans and gamers alike.
1 Purge Trooper
The Purge Trooper isn’t the same as those from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, who served at the will of the Inquisitors of that game. This version debuted in The Force Unleashed video game and is one of the more deadly iterations.
The Purge Trooper towers over the others, standing twice as tall as the average person. This version also goes for a little bit of a suit of Iron Man armor vibe with a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and arm-mounted laser canons.