Star Wars: How The Empire Recruited Stormtroopers

A photo-shopped image of a stormtrooper layered over an image of the Battle of Hoth from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Originally written By Cooper Hood for Screen Rant

Stormtroopers have been a mainstay of the Star Wars franchise from the very beginning, but how were they recruited? First appearing in A New Hope, the white armored soldiers served the Empire and the commands of Darth Vader and The Emperor. They've developed a reputation for their terrible aim, despite rigorous training with their E-11 blaster rifles.

The Stormtroopers are part of the Imperial Army and were the next evolution of Sheev Palpatine's plans to reign over the galaxy. He originally had a mass army of Clone troopers under his command and used them to execute the Jedi as part of Order 66, which helped him seize control of the galaxy. While they served their purposes, the Clone troopers were slowly phased out of operation by the Emperor. Instead of using the clones of Django Fett to do his bidding, Palpatine opted to recruit cadets to serve him instead. But how did one become a Stormtrooper?

The only way to become a Stormtrooper was by going through the Imperial Academy. These academies became the training center for Imperial cadets, who are individuals who were recruited to join the Empire. Cadets could be recruited by fellow members of the Empire or simply go to the academy when they were of age. All cadets went through various training programs designed to ensure their commitment to the Empire's cause. Since there were many roles to fill in the Empire, not every cadet became a Stormtrooper.


If someone was selected to be a Stormtrooper, then they underwent another set of training. This additional reconditioning further stripped cadets of their identities as they swore allegiance to the Empire. It was during this time that cadets were dehumanized by no longer going by their birth name and instead only being distinguished by their operating numbers. Stormtrooper cadets also continued training, which sometimes simulated combat missions. In rarer instances, Stormtrooper cadets were put into active use to gain further experience. There were also specialized units of Stormtroopers that could require even more training.

The Stormtroopers were present for every major battle that came during the Empire's reign. They fought on Scarif, but couldn't stop the Rebels in time. Stormtroopers were also present for the Battle of Yavin but did not have that large of a role to play. Meanwhile, they were front and center during the Battle of Hoth and the Battle of Endor. Once the Empire fell, though, the New Republic made further recruitment and action by the Stormtroopers illegal. However, the ending of their work did not happen immediately and eventually saw the remnants of the Empire retreat to the Unknown Regions to begin crafting the First Order.

The First Order took a different approach in finding their Stormtroopers. They bypassed the recruitment and loyalty stages by starting Project Resurrection, which sees the First Order take kids away from their families at a very young age and raise them with the mindset of the First Order. They are trained from a very young age to be Stormtroopers and don't remember much of anything beyond their loyalty to the First Order. This has not been a full-proof process, though, as FN-2187 aka Finn (John Boyega) is one of the known defectors from this program. Oddly enough, the Empire's recruitment process of finding Stormtroopers is now a lot more humane than what Star Wars has done since.