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The 30 Greatest Star Wars Characters
From Admiral Ackbar to... Yoda - we count down Lucas' best creations

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9. STORMTROOPER

Stormtrooper

Let's face it: without stormtroopers, Star Wars would be a lot less cool. The Rebels are stuck with orange jumpsuits, dodgy tunics (stand up, Admiral Ackbar) and over-sized helmets, while their Imperial counterparts strut around in the pimpest-looking outfits in the history of sci-fi. The stormtrooper aesthetic is the perfect fusion of style and menace: crisp and gleaming white (yes, white! The bad guys wear white!). The helmet is insectoid, detached, inhuman. The equipment is state-of-the-art, from blaster rifle to belt-held thermal detonator. Significantly, it's the only costume from the original trilogy that still looks futuristic 30 years on.

Their enduring popularity is evident, from dedicated websites to the reconstructed costumes flaunted at geeky conferences. There are a variety of flavours to pledge allegiance to: as well as the plain old ;vanilla' troopers, a long list of speciality divisions including snowtroopers (ice-boots, burka), scout troopers (funky visor, speeder bike) and sand troopers. Non-canon fan fiction has created even more, from magma troopers to shadowtroopers - which are, says Wookieepedia, "stormtrooper-Dark Jedi soldier hybrids".

Whatever their training, stormtroopers share an absolute allegiance to the Empire. What they also share is an inability to fight effectively, something which has turned these faceless soldier-drones into hapless comedy icons. A New Hope attempts to instil them with some genuine menace, as Ben Kenobi, holed up in the Tatooine badlands, whispers of their deadliness: "These blast points; only Imperial stormtroopers are this precise."

If so they proved, the Rebellion would certainly have failed. Instead, they run around the Death Star like space-age Keystone Kops, continually failing to hit their targets and, in the case of two particularly useless troopers, getting bopped over the head by our heroes.

Somehow, their ineptitude has made them all the more beloved. There's particular affection for the one poor grunt who bumps his head on a door in A New Hope. The clip has been visited more than 850,000 times on YouTube, and George Lucas, aware that he'd never manage to erase this blooper from the minds of fans, went the other way and added a comedy "boink!" sound effect on the remastered DVD.

Outside of the films, the cult lives on. There's the Cops-spoofing fan short, entitled Troops, that depicts them as beleaguered law-enforcers on Tatooine; a camp, all-singing, all-dancing appearance on the Donnie And Marie Show Star Wars Special; a guest appearance at a Microsoft rally in 2005; and most recently, a spectacular formation of 200 infantrymen at this year's Rose Bowl Parade - according to one breathless commentator, "the largest gathering of stormtroopers ever assembled".

They might not be able to shoot for shit, but they sure can march.

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Your Comments

1 RE: I Agree
To paraphrase Palpatine, likeable is a point of view. More

Posted by Litshttam on Wednesday July 9, 2014, 20:47

2 I don't agree.
'George Lucas's 30 worst creations'...? Nah, it's just going to be slagging him off, for the sake of it... AGAIN! Its really good to see more appreciation (and fairness) in articles towards George. Just check out 'The Guardian online', they take every opportunity to slag Star Wars off, including loads of unqualified opinions and non-truths. The film critic even started a recent post saying 'Star Wars isn't known for its creativity...' - its farcical. As a character from another space franchise said "...its easier to destroy than create". More

Posted by Funk_Knight on Thursday July 3, 2014, 10:17

3 I don't agree.
'George Lucas's 30 worst creations'...? Nah, it's just going to be slagging him off, for the sake of it... AGAIN! Its really good to see more appreciation (and fairness) in articles towards George. Just check out 'The Guardian online', they take every opportunity to slag Star Wars off, including loads of unqualified opinions and non-truths. The film critic even started a recent post saying 'Star Wars isn't known for its creativity...' - its farcical. As a character from another space franchise said "...its easier to destroy than create". More

Posted by Funk_Knight on Thursday July 3, 2014, 10:17

4 I Agree
A WORST Star Wars Characters list will be more interesting. Jar Jar obviously would be No. 1. Though I also agree he had a good character arc (But that doesn't make him likable) More

Posted by Darren47 on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 23:50

5 RE: Binks' Arc Is Actually One Of The Best In The Saga
Or Boris Johnson. Or Bush Jr. Take your pick, really. More

Posted by Litshttam on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 22:04

6 RE: Binks' Arc Is Actually One Of The Best In The Saga
L: Litshttam Jar Jar Binks starts off as mythic-archetype - the fool / jester the hero meets by the roadside - and becomes a commentary on the nepotism in politics; his befriending of Padmé Amidala in The Phantom Menace leads to his appointment as Gungan-representative in the senate by Attack Of The Clones. The unfit-for-purpose-but-sincere plonker inadvertently starts the Clone Wars, too, falling for the Hegelian-machinations of Palpatine hook, line and sinker. Sure, Yoda he ain't, but I like him. o, Jar Jar Binks is... Tony Blair? (How wude.) More

Posted by chris kilby on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 12:45

7 RE: Predictable...
L: GrizBe I'd much rather see the 30 worst / dumbest Star Wars characters. We all know Jar Jar would top that, but it'd be more fun then this. ax Rebo? Droopy McCool? More

Posted by chris kilby on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 12:44

8 30 Greatest Characters?
Loads of these were generic 'Stormtrooper', 'Scout Trooper', 'Jawa' etc, not actual characters. Also, Anakin/ Darth Vader, whether you like it or not, is the same dude! Also Ben and Obi-Wan. I've seen several top Star Wars character lists, this is the worst attempt I've seen. More

Posted by AyannaNyx on Wednesday July 2, 2014, 01:26

9 Binks' Arc Is Actually One Of The Best In The Saga
Jar Jar Binks starts off as mythic-archetype - the fool / jester the hero meets by the roadside - and becomes a commentary on the nepotism in politics; his befriending of Padmé Amidala in The Phantom Menace leads to his appointment as Gungan-representative in the senate by Attack Of The Clones. The unfit-for-purpose-but-sincere plonker inadvertently starts the Clone Wars, too, falling for the Hegelian-machinations of Palpatine hook, line and sinker. Sure, Yoda he ain't, but I like him. More

Posted by Litshttam on Tuesday July 1, 2014, 13:38

10 Predictable...
I'd much rather see the 30 worst / dumbest Star Wars characters. We all know Jar Jar would top that, but it'd be more fun then this. More

Posted by GrizBe on Tuesday July 1, 2014, 11:13

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