Death Troopers are an elite variant of Stormtroopers serving as special forces soldiers for the Galactic Empire. They are tasked with protecting major high-ranking Imperial officials and military officers. They are also part of the Tarkin Initiative, which is responsible for experimental weapons research for the Imperial military.
They first appear as supporting antagonists in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as in both the season three finale and the fourth season of Star Wars Rebels. They also serve as the secondary antagonistic faction of the Disney+ live-action television series The Mandalorian.
Mission to Lah'mu
During the early days of the Galactic Empire in 13 BBY, a squad of Death Troopers accompanied Director Orson Krennic to the planet of Lah'mu where they heading to find Galen Erso to complete the Death Star project. They eventually made it to his house and four Death Troopers were sent to the Erso household before Lyra Erso stepped out and threatened to shoot and kill Krennic. She was eventually killed and Galen was taken away while his daughter, Jyn, managed to escape and flee into hiding.
The Battle of Atollon
During the early years against the Empire, the Rebellion had reformed into the Alliance to Restore the Republic and fled to the Outer Rim planet of Atollon where the empire eventually found them. Intent on destroying the rebellion and ensure Imperial control over the galaxy, Grand Admiral Thrawn arrived to lead the imperial forces and was accompanied by Death Troopers. After the rebel fleet was nearly destroyed and was forced to retreat to the planet's surface, a ground assault was launched and Thrawn arrived leading a squad of Death Troopers who took part in the ground assault on Chopper Base until the Bendu appeared and allowed the rebels to escape.
Mission to Eadu
Sometime after the Death Star was tested over Jedha, Krennic and a squad of Death Troopers appeared on the planet of Eadu where he was to sniff out Tarkin Initiative Scientists who had collaborated with the rebels. Knowing that there was a mole, he ordered his Death Troopers to have the scientists executed if none of them complied and when Galen confessed to being the mole, they shot them all down regardless. During the rebel air assault on the Imperial base, the Death Troopers survived and escaped with Krennic onboard his Imperial shuttle. They then traveled to Scarif where they protected Krennic still as he went to locate the imperial records on Galen to see what the weakness was when the rebels attacked.
Battle of Scarif
In 0 BBY, a small squadron of rebels simply known as Rogue One stole an Imperial Shuttle from a pilot who defected and made it past the shield protecting Scarif. After getting out, the rebels began to detonate bombs all over the facility and began attacking the Imperial military base while Jyn and Cassian snuck in to find the Death Star plans. During the initial ground assault, Death Troopers were deployed during the later part of the battle and managed to inflict heavy casualties on the rebels before Baze Malbus managed to gun them all down before dying at the hands of a grenade and joining his friend Chirrut as one with the force. Two more Death Troopers appeared inside the base where they tried to kill Cassian and Jyn who stole the plans but were both killed by the former. Any remaining Death Troopers were killed when the Imperial Base on Scarif was destroyed by the Death Star by orders of Tarkin.
Death Troopers were the best of the best in the Imperial Military and were the elite of the Stormtrooper candidates who excelled at training and were reassigned to other facilities on places like Scarif for elite Death Trooper training. Death Trooper candidates were required to exceed normal Stormtrooper standards, even in height and weight, and had to meet certain ideological standards as well. Candidates were also subjected to a battery of physical tests and surgical enhancements making them "beyond human". Death Troopers also had more rigorous training and standards than standard Stormtroopers and were sent to more exotic places and environments. Death Troopers also traveled in small groups and had a specific skill set.
Death Troopers were equipped with advanced military technology and weaponry such as dark black combat armor which was separate from basic Stormtrooper armor. Standard weapons included the SE-14 Light Repeating Blasters, E-11 Ds long-range blaster rifles similar to the DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle and had C-25 fragmentation grenades. The helmets notable scrambled communications between Death Troopers and they were known for eliminating evidence of their presence when they're on missions.
Known Members and Units
- Unit TI-23
- DT-F16's Squad
- Three other Death Troopers
- Death Squad
- Unidentified Commander
- Tarkin's Guard
- Thrawn's Guard
- According to the Us Magazine Collector's Edition - Star Wars Rogue One article Going Rogue, the Death Troopers are comparable to the United States Navy SEALs.
- Death Troopers is also the name of a Star Wars novel which came out in 2009 (now regarded as Star Wars Legends) under the title Star Wars: Death Troopers, written by author Joe Schreiber. The biological weapon that appears in the novel is what inspired the Death Trooper's name and appearance in the canon timeline.
- Their color and design of the Death Troopers may have been influenced by the Imperial Shadow Troopers from Star Wars Legends.
- The Death Troopers’ colors may have influenced the design of the Elite Squad Troopers, Individual Humans wearing black clone armor with green visors.