Origins: Star Wars Imperial Troops

Between Battle Packs and their inclusion in sets from Rebels to Rogue One, collectors today can easily lay their hands on a LEGO Star Wars Stormtrooper of one variety or another. Better still, they are fabulously detailed – often with front and back printing on the torso and equally detailed printing on the legs and helmet. These intrepid foot soldiers of the Empire have had quite an evolution; their origin story is an odd little piece of LEGO Star Wars history.

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The defining characteristic of Stormtroopers, besides iconic white armor, is their numbers. I cannot think of a single scene in any of the Star Wars films where there is only one of these guys aside from Rey’s exchange with Daniel Craig’s First Order Trooper in The Force Awakens. Today, LEGO sets reflect this fact with troopers being relatively easy to obtain and many sets containing multiple copies (or near copies) of a given type or even several different types. Early on however, this was not the case. The first cheap set to include a regular Stormtrooper, 7201 Final Duel II, did not come out until 2002. I remember picking up a dozen of these sets for a pittance when my town’s local toy store went out of business.

Final Duel

Image courtesy of Brickset.com

Furthermore, inclusion of regular Stormtroopers lagged behind almost every other type of Imperial Soldier back in the early years. The first set to include more than one regular Stormtrooper was 7264 Imperial Inspection – released 6 years after LEGO Star Wars was first released. This was later than multiple Royal Guards (2001), Clone Troopers (2002), Snowtroopers (2003), and amazingly even Gungan Soldiers (2000). The first set to include a regular Stormtrooper was a TIE Fighter, not released until 2001. Why the LEGO Group waited so long to release a regular trooper, and even more so make regular troopers easy to get is a mystery – it certainly has seemed to be working for recently.

Tie-Fighter 7146

Image courtesy of Brickset.com

This brings us to our very first Imperial Trooper. I distinctly remember when I first saw him. My mom had driven me to the store for my very first look at the new Star Wars sets. I was expecting a set to have a trooper, but not this trooper. Rather than a regular Stormtrooper, LEGO started us off with two Scout Troopers (or Biker Scouts) as part of the 7128 Speeder Bikes set. Sporting a unique yellow head with black goggles that had to be lined up perfectly with the opening on the helmet, this pair of intrepid soldiers were our very first Imperial Soldiers.

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