Review: Stormtroopers Beyond the Armor

Do Stormtroopers / Clonetroopers / Snowtoopers / Scouttroopers or any other trooper belong to your favorites? Or are you in possession of a trooper outfit and a member of the 501st? In all these cases there is now the ultimate book: Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor.

This heavy reference work starts with a foreword by none other than John Boyega, who played perhaps the most famous Stormtrooper ever: “FN-2187” in The Force Awakens. After this, we go back to the very beginning (1973) when the history of the Stormtrooper began. From the creation of these (mostly white) soldiers to the merchandise, the stories of the actors who were in the suit, the role of troopers in the films / comics / games and of course also the 501st; everything is covered. The great thing is that the stories and descriptions are also accompanied by artwork and photos, several of which have never been published before.

The book is divided into 7 chapters, each covering an X number of years in the “Stormtrooper history”:

  • 1973-1976: The creation of the Stormtroopers (How did they arise? The designs of Ralph McQuarrie and the sculptures of Brian Muir tell everything about the creation of the most iconic “space soldiers” ever.)
  • 1976-1979: The introduction of the Stormtroopers (in film (and the holiday special!), Media, toy country, comics and pop culture.)
  • 1980-1994: Specialized troopers (Royal Guards, Snowtroopers and other variants such as the white Boba Fett, but also the troopers from the Thrawn trilogy and Dark Empire)
  • 1995-2001: Star Wars revival (which meant a renewed interest in Stormtroopers; Special Editions and the prequels but also video games (Dark Forces) and the first LEGO Stormtroopers)
  • 2002-2014: Clones (After we were introduced to Clonetroopers in Attack of the Clones, many other variants followed. We received new information about the roots of the troopers (clones of Jango Fett) and we encountered them frequently in the Clone Wars TV series )
  • 2014-2017: New regimes (First Order troopers, Deathtroopers and the troopers from Rebels; many new ones have been introduced in recent years)
  • Stormtroopers forever (the 501st, events, conventions)

At the back of the book, the reader awaits a nice surprise: five removable goodies have been added! Reproductions of a storyboard from Return of the Jedi, a Russ Manning comic from 1979, a Stormtrooper mask on the back of a box of Kellogg’s cornflakes, a backer card from the original Stormtrooper action figure and a sketch by costume designer Glyn Dillon.

For me personally the book has a special touch: I am mentioned in the book. In January 2017, I was asked by one of the authors (Adam Bray) if he could use some of the interviews I conducted. A huge honor as my interviews with actors Jamison Jones, Mark Alec Rutter and Charlie Akin were used and I am mentioned both in the credits and in the book itself.

If you have little or nothing with Stormtroopers you will not be able to fully appreciate this book, but then again, you will not belong to the target group. For members of the 501st and the other Stormtrooper fans, this is an absolute “must have”. You will not find a more complete work on this specific part of the Star Wars universe.