Sam Witwer has explained the difference between First Order and Imperial Stormtroopers. Witwer has had the opportunity to work on various Star Wars projects over the years, having voiced characters like Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels TV series. He also lent his voice to the fan-favorite Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game character, Starkiller.
Star Wars as a franchise has contributed much to pop culture over the decades, from iconic villain Darth Vader to the nifty-looking lightsabers. Among those things that the series has popularized over the years (things that even non-fans would recognize) are, of course, the Stormtroopers. Clad in white armor and helmets, the Stormtroopers have been known as the indispensable Imperial henchmen who have almost-comically bad aim, most of the time. Things changed when we were introduced to Finn (John Boyega) in 2015's Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, resulting in the first Stormtrooper who would become a main player in the overarching narrative of the franchise.
During an interview with Comicbook where he was asked if he ever did any work for Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (which opens in theaters in December), Witwer had the following to say about what sets the Galactic Empire and First Order's stormtroopers apart (generally-speaking):
“I cannot confirm nor deny whether I’ve done any voice work for The Last Jedi. Having said that, I will say this: First Order Stormtroopers are different than Episode IV, V, and VI Troopers. They are very different. They're younger, they're a little bit more emotionally available ... they actually scream at each other and stuff like that, whereas [Original Trilogy] Stormtroopers never get really beyond a five or a six in terms of excitement."
“They could be in the middle of a giant firefight, and they're like, ‘Hold it right there, freeze,’ you know, in the middle of like a BIG firefight. The Rebels could be all screaming, the Stormtrooper's like, ‘Blast ‘em!' They just don't get that excited, except when they get killed, then they freak out, they go, ‘AHHHHHH!!’ They lose it when they get killed, have amazing death screams. But Episode VII Troopers yell at each other more. They're a little bit more younger, more excitable type folks.”
Humanizing people from the Empire seems to be a popular narrative thread in the Star Wars franchise right now. On top of delving into the story of a Stormtrooper with Finn, Rebels has also done a good job in portraying those who are members of the Empire, with former Imperial Agent Kallus' storyline. In other media formats, Gwendolyne Christies's movie character, Captain Phasma now headlines her own novel, while the campaign mode of Star Wars Battlefront II (which is canon) features a tie fleet commander protagonist in Iden Versio. This is a great way to add layers to characters on both sides from "a galaxy far far away", to make future offerings more dynamic and multi-dimensional.
The Star Wars episodic films will continue later this year with Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi. The film is not only set to progress Finn's story as a former Stormtrooper turned devoted Freedom fighter but also answer some of the questions left unaddressed by its predecessor. This includes the real reason for Luke's (Mark Hamill) self-exile and change of heart regarding the Jedi Order, as well as, the Knights of Ren's true identity.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019