Trooping Through the Snow

This month’s Star Wars ComLINKS topic is Favorite Trooper and I have to say, when it was announced I got really excited but also knew that it was gonna end up being hard to narrow down which type of trooper I love. In fact, right after I read the topic on Anakin and His Angel, I jokingly told Jenmarie (who runs the site) that my choice was “all of them.” For a hot minute, I actually thought about writing about all of the troopers in Star Wars, explaining my love for each one, but I decided to nix that idea because 1) I don’t have the time and 2) the topic is singular, not plural. So, I buckled down and spent some time doing reflecting and it hit me:

My Favorite Trooper in Star Wars is the Cold Weather Assault Stormtrooper, otherwise known as the Imperial Snowtrooper.

I feel like I have said this about a hundred thousand times in other posts, but my favorite Star Wars movie has always been The Empire Strikes Back. A while ago, I wrote about how my favorite creature, the Wampa, is introduced in the film, and I have also written posts on my love of the Imperial Walkers and another on my fascination with General Veers. It should really come as no surprise, then, that my favorite type of trooper in Star Wars are the unique-looking soldiers who storm into the Rebel base on the ice planet Hoth. That said, I should note that my fascination with the Snowtrooper is not superficial, a mere by-product of my enduring love of The Empire Strikes Back. Rather, it is really the other way around – the various facets that make up the film provide all of the reasons I love it, especially those facets dealing with the Empire. 

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A Snowtrooper fires at the Millenium Falcon.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

You see, like Senator Ransolm Casterfo in Claudia Gray’s novel Bloodline, I too have always had a fascination with the Empire. This is not to suggest I support or admire the unjust, dictatorial and genocidal tendencies of Imperial rule, but rather that I have always found myself wanting to know more about the “bad guys” in Star Wars in hopes of coming to a deeper understanding of how it operates on every level. In this regard, I have always felt that of all three films in the Original Trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back provides the most fascinating look at the Empire, although this hardly means I dislike what we learn in the other two films. Rather, The Empire Strikes Back takes the monolithic Empire from A New Hope and adds a dynamic new way of thinking about it while also maintaining its terrifying essence.

The most obvious way the film does this (though not the only way) is by utilizing elements of the Imperial military first introduced in A New Hope – Star Destroyers, TIE Fighters, and Stormtroopers – while also adding to the Empire’s arsenal of soldiers and weapons. Thus, we are introduced to a handful of new military assets in the film: Probe Droids, a Super Star Destroyer, TIE Bombers, All-Terrain Armored Transports (AT-AT), All-Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST), and of course, the Snowtrooper. On the surface, these new elements visually represent the breadth of the Imperial military, showing that the Empire has far more at its disposal than previously thought. However, these assets also add incredible depth to Imperial power, depth that I continue to uncover in new ways each time I watch The Empire Strikes Back.

At this point, I could very well go into detail about the depth I am speaking of as it relates to each military asset introduced in the film. However, since the focus of this piece is my favorite trooper in Star Wars, I will end with some thoughts on the introduction of the Snowtrooper in The Empire Strikes Back and how, as a kid, their appearance added a dynamic dimension to my understanding of the Empire.

Into the Cold

The first thing that should be said about the Snowtroopers is perhaps the most obvious: their appearance in The Empire Strikes Back is very brief. The first Snowtrooper we meet is in a short scene with General Veers, the Imperial officer leading the assault on Hoth in an AT-AT. Speaking to the soldier – presumably a commander of some type – Veers states that “All troops will debark for ground assault.” Otherwise, the bulk of scenes involving the Snowtroopers take place inside the Rebel Base, the men and women racing through the halls along with Darth Vader. In turn, as the Millenium Falcon attempts to escape, we see the troopers set up their weapons and begin firing at the ship, with return fire from the Falcon killing a handful of the white clad soldiers.

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A screenshot of a Snowtrooper in Star Wars Battlefront.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Battlefront (EA Dice)

Like I said, their appearance in the film is very brief. And yet, even in their brevity, the Snowtroopers left an indelible mark on me, an enduring fascination that I have never been able to shake (not that I want to). On the surface, this mark is purely aesthetic, an interest in the outfit these soldiers wear into battle. In all honesty, I have always felt that the Snowtrooper uniform is quite beautiful, an admittedly odd sentiment but one I can no more explain than the beauty I see in a flower.

But passing beyond the aesthetic, what the Snowtrooper taught me about the Empire is something far more pointed. It showed me that the Empire utilizes Stormtrooper units that are trained and equipped for certain contingencies, in this case warfare on a icy planets. Granted, we do see different types of Stormtroopers in A New Hope – Sandtroopers and Spacetroopers – but these are all variations on the standard armor that most of these soldiers wear. The Snowtrooper, on the other hand, stands out because its armor is fundamentally different from these other Stormtrooper units. And it is this very reason, this difference in armor, that helped pry open the door to the my Imperial imagination and made me realize these were not just ordinary Stormtroopers with different armor, but an elite type of Stormtrooper with a singular military purpose.

And with that said, I leave you with a thought that has rattled around in my brain for as long as I can remember: while I absolutely love the Imperial Walkers introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, a small part of me wishes, instead, that we could have witnessed the specially trained Snowtroopers methodically capturing the Rebel trenches on Hoth as a blizzard rages around them…that would have been a hell of a sight.


This post is part of the Star Wars ComLINKS series. Check out more Star Wars ComLINKS over at Anakin and His Angel.

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4 comments

  1. When you told me you just might choose them all, I did wonder who you’d end up choosing or if you would throw in a second choice. The Snowtrooper is also one of my favorites. I love the uniqueness of their mask and their overall white armor that gives them a crisper appearance, if that makes sense.

    It seems that so many of the coolest characters have the smallest amount of screen time. But luckily we have other means of enjoying them like with Battlefront. That is a RAD photo btw.

    I also love the reasoning you gave for your fascination with the Empire. I love the bad guys too but it’s not because of what they do (though I will admit I do like seeing them win in a battle sometimes, be it big or small *hides*). I like to speculate on why they do what they do and what it was that brought them to that point.

    Excellent post! Thanks for joining in on ComLINKS this month!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always thought it was odd that, though they’re outfitted specifically for snowy environments, the Snowtroopers technically wear less crisp white than standard Stormtroopers – sure, they lose the Stormtrooper’s black under-layer that would show up like a beacon against snow, but the abundance of off-white bits always seemed out of place (maybe the Empire’s laundry facility neglected to restock its stores of galactic bleach…who knows?). Anyway, I agree that a bit more battle in the battle scenes would have been great to witness, but I think you’ll be getting a much better taste of that kind of action with Rogue One, albeit not (as far as we know, anyway) on a frozen landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmmm an interesting point about the off-white. I suppose it could be a form of camouflage, or could even be a way to purposefully stand out so the enemy knows Stormtroopers are advancing towards them. Or, the props department working on the film only had enough white for one part of the armor and had to use a different color for the other parts.

      As for Rogue One, I am excited to see how the battles shape up. They should be a lot of fun and a really interesting experience seeing the Rebels and Empire duke it out in a more “down in the dirt” kinda way. I will be interested in knowing more about the Shoretroopers that are gonna appear in the film, too. I really like their uniforms and might end up falling in love with them for that reason alone.

      Like

      1. Yeah, I imagine the Snowtrooper suits came out the way they did more due to what was available than purpose, but they are no less badass for it, regardless.

        I’m on the fence with the Shoretroopers as of now; I think they look rad, don’t get me wrong, I just think they look the least “stormtroopery” of any of the sub-varieties. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how they’re used. And I’m looking forward to some more extended Rebels vs. Imperials battles since, really, the biggest one we’ve seen to date includes mostly Ewoks fighting for the Rebels, and that doesn’t really count (though I do love that battle).

        Liked by 1 person

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