Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is completely changing Knights of the Old Republic's Sith troopers for Disney/Lucasfilm's new Star Wars canon. Although practically all of the Expanded Universe (now Legends) was removed from canon shortly after Disney acquired Lucasfilm way back in 2012, bits and pieces of various comics, novels, and video games have found their way back into canon, especially in some of the recent films. And now, J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is introducing Sith troopers.
Interestingly, this is the first time that the term Sith will be used in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, aside from an off-hand remark from Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Bringing the Sith back into the Star Wars saga, along with the return of Palpatine nonetheless, has certainly captured fans' imaginations. However, while the Sith troopers may be the first of more Sith-related characters to join the fold in The Rise of Skywalker, they are decidedly different from their Legends' counterparts.
Sith troopers first appeared in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and they were soldiers of the Sith Empire who followed Darth Revan during the Jedi Civil War. Furthermore, there were different classes of Sith troopers, such as Sith commandos and Sith grenadiers, and sometimes, they had different colored armor. But overall, the Sith troopers weren't elite soldiers but rather bantha fodder for the Jedi and the Republic to kill, similar to the Stormtroopers that fought for the Galactic Empire and later the First Order.
While the Sith troopers from Knights of the Old Republic followed Revan (and Darth Malak) because they believed that the Sith would better rule the galaxy than the failing Jedi and Republic, the Sith troopers in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are noticeably different, in that they are considered the next evolution of the Imperial and First Order Stormtroopers. Whereas the Sith troopers from the games got their name because they represented the Sith Empire, which was led by two Dark Lords of the Sith, the movie's Sith troopers are merely taking the Sith name and color.
Sure, the Sith troopers from The Rise of Skywalker are red in color and appear to carry a modified version of the F-11D blaster rifle, they are still Stormtroopers either working for the First Order or simply under Kylo Ren. Even though both versions of Sith troopers fight for the "bad guys" and follow a leader who practices the dark side of the Force, they are different in every other way - from their design and beliefs to their purpose and origin. It seems unlikely that Kylo Ren's Sith troopers are former members of the Resistance, as Revan's Sith troopers came from the Republic. All of these changes, however, are being done to represent Lucasfilm's new version of Star Wars canon, one that fits in line with the First Order's existence.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019