Dark Troopers just made their first major appearance in the Star Wars live-action canon courtesy of The Mandalorian‘s most recent episode, “Chapter 14: The Tragedy“. These fearsome foes have been appearing in ancillary Star Wars content for over 25 years, but their inclusion in The Mandalorian has made them official entities in the Star Wars universe.
You might be asking yourself: what are the Dark Troopers? As far as what we have seen in The Mandalorian, they are advanced battle droids under the command of Moff Gideon. They are capable of flight as we see them descend from Gideon’s battle cruiser and fly down to the planet Tython to capture Grogu. But this is but a sampling of how frightening these soldiers really are.
The original Dark Troopers were created for the video game Star Wars: Dark Forces. In that game, they were variations of battle droids and exoskeletons. They were the most powerful enemies in that game and garnered a reputation for being exceptionally difficult to defeat in battle. Over the years, variations on these soldiers continued to pop up in various Star Wars works. They remained a favorite for fans but never found their way into any of the canon projects.
That all has changed now that the Dark Troopers are seen as part of Moff Gideon’s guard force in The Mandalorian. While we did not get to see a ton of variety to their combat abilities, it is pretty clear that the show is setting them up to be formidable opponents for our heroes. The entire sequence that showed off their abilities did its job in crafting them to be imposing figures. We are willing to bet that Din Djarin is going to be facing down these titanium titans in one of the upcoming two episodes left in this season.
It will be interesting to see if the Dark Troopers remain as battle droids only, or if these versions decide to take inspiration from the video game iterations and include at least one regular Stormtrooper who uses the Dark Trooper exoskeleton. Regardless, it seems obvious that these are far more capable and dangerous enemies than your run-of-the-mill Stormtrooper. Even the death troopers did not come off as this scary. Kudos to the filmmakers and animators who helped bring these mechanical monsters to life on the small screen.
As of now, we are not sure if we will get any deep origins for the Dark Troopers. There was the possibility that they were connected to another big reveal earlier this season, but that could have been a cold lead. Instead, it simply looks like they are being positioned to be a more hazardous obstacle for our heroes to overcome in the near future. There are only so many times you can have Stormtroopers step into a scene and get mowed down like they are blades of grass. Adding an increase in difficulty via the Dark Troopers is a great way to build up tension heading into the season finale.
It is very cool to see yet another facet of the Star Wars universe get brought into the live-action canon. You can bet we are looking forward to whatever the Dark Troopers are going to do before Season 2 comes to a close.