The new trilogy of films in the Star Wars saga continues a familiar theme with a familiar enemy as the war rages on between the Light and Dark sides. But while the First Order appears to be familiar, it actually has a few major differences from the Imperial forces that came before.
Star Wars actor Sam Witwer is known for voicing characters like Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine, and Starkiller in different projects, but he’s also voiced Stormtroopers in new films The Force Awakens and Rogue One.
When asked if he was voicing Stormtroopers in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Witwer was coy but ended up describing how the First Order and Empire Stormtroopers are distinctly different.
“I cannot confirm nor deny whether I’ve done any voice work for The Last Jedi,” Witwer said. “Having said that, I will say this: First Order Stormtroopers are different than Episode IV, V, and VI Troopers. They are very different. They're younger, they're a little bit more emotionally available ... they actually scream at each other and stuff like that, whereas [Original Trilogy] Stormtroopers never get really beyond a five or a six in terms of excitement.
“They could be in the middle of a giant firefight, and they're like, ‘Hold it right there, freeze,’ you know, in the middle of like a BIG firefight. The Rebels could be all screaming, the Stormtrooper's like, ‘Blast ‘em!' They just don't get that excited, except when they get killed, then they freak out, they go, ‘AHHHHHH!!’ They lose it when they get killed, have amazing death screams. But Episode VII Troopers yell at each other more. They're a little bit more younger, more excitable type folks.”
Witwer explained how the original voice actors behind the Stormtroopers had a distinct approach to their characters, stemming from their backgrounds.
“In Episode IV they were a bunch of DJ, disk jockeys from Northern California, you know (laughs), who were not actors, but they had that very disk jockey voice,” Witwer said. “When you put them through the filter, they suddenly sound like Stormtroopers. And so I try to bring that to Rogue One.”
That distinction can be deciphered to show how far the Empire’s influence has fallen in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Before, people would enroll in the Imperial Academies with the hopes that they would be chosen to serve the Empire.
Now they’re kidnapped from their homes and forced to serve out of fear.
Hopefully we learn more about the First Order’s recruitment tactics when Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15.