With the next arc of Star Wars, the flagship title in the line from Marvel Comics, comes a new breed of stormtrooper: the Elite.
The elite unit is debuting in Star Wars #21 (after a brief shot in #20), and is led by Sergeant Kreel, the undercover agent that was working with Grakkus the Hutt - and helped train Luke Skywalker in lightsaber fighting. His squad won't be the nameless, faceless drones that stormtroopers tend to be, either.
"The main thing I wanted to do was give more of a face to some of the stormtroopers," writer Jason Aaron told StarWars.com. "We've seen lots of them in the series, but they've all been pretty interchangeable, faceless bad guys. We haven't gotten to know them. That was one of my favorite parts of The Force Awakens, getting to see and getting to know a real character who was a stormtrooper and somebody who, of course, has a conscience and changed his ways and joined up with the good guys."
Of course, that's not what we're seeing in this comic.
"This is the opposite of that. It's us peering inside the heads of somebody who is very gung-ho for the Empire and then the question, of course, is 'Why? Why would you sign up to fight for the Empire?' That's something we'll answer over the course of the story. We wanted to put a face on those enemies and also create a formidable group of bad guys because they're up against our heroes," Aaron said.
The writer said he was inspired by the lost The Clone Wars arc "The Bad Batch," which can be seen in animatic form on the site. The squad includes an advanced Scout trooper, a Sniper, a tech specialist, demolitions, bazooka trooper, and a pilot. Artist Jorge Molina worked with Aaron on the designs of the characters, and Aaron says he "brought a lot of personality to each one of them."
Take a look at the gallery below and get ready for the Elite Stormtroopers in July's Star Wars #21 from Marvel Comics.