In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story we see troopers wearing all black: they are called Death Troopers. The only time we see them is in Rogue One. They seem strong for all the explosives and weapons they carry, but in A New Hope we see mostly the normal white Stormtroopers.

Why did the Empire have such good technology and troopers in Rogue One and suddenly abandon the idea of them, leaving no trace in A New Hope?

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  • 4
    Now to be included in the Ultra FX Edition of Return of the Jedi... Death Troopers vs Ewoks...
    – Radhil
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:35
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    Having grenades was hardly a decisive advantage for them. They still lost...
    – Valorum
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:36
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    Well the Jedi lost in the third movie, but they still are strong Jan 30, 2017 at 21:37
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    Maybe they were there and we just didn't see it? As for the Death Troopers, that can be just summed up as this: "They're a special project created by Krennic, and that was all of them". With the tanks, maybe this was outdated tech that was destroyed with Jedha.
    – CBredlow
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:39
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    The galaxy is very big, whereas movies are quite short. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Jan 30, 2017 at 22:30

6 Answers 6


The Empire does. Although as of January 30, 2017, we don't know why, they do, as per the Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Mid-Season trailer. enter image description here

Anyone is free to update this if new information comes about.


As far as rogue one is concerned the death troopers shown there are the body guards of the director himself. As he is pretty high ranking it can be assumed that he would have elite soldiers as bodyguards. Thus even though normal stormtroopers are the best troops the empire has these bodyguards are probably the best of these best.

Additionally as Krennic is only one of the top officers of the empire and not THE top officer it can be assumed that others also get this service.

So all in all the reason we don't see others in the films.....we don't really see any high ranking imperial officer get attacked in the films. Vader is an exception there as he has no need for bodyguards (I even assume they wouldn't live long around him as he could easily feel offended by someone assigning him bodyguards which drastically reduces the lifespan of the guards and the one who assigned them).

Their status as bodyguards also explains why they have even better equipment than regular stormtroopers (in the film the firerate of their blasters honestly surprised me though!). As bodyguards to high ranking officers they need to be able to take down even stormtroopers. Thus they not only need better training, but also better equipment to do that with any reliable chance (and their charge surviving this).


They all died.

According to the director of Rogue One, all of the Death Troopers were on Scarif when the Death Star annihilated the planet. This also explains the absence of U-wings.

Out-of-universe, the idea was to tie up any discontinuities so that the film could be watched before Star Wars: A New Hope without breaking the existing canon.

That is such a great story. Was there any discussion about why we don’t see U-Wings or Death Troopers after Rogue One? Can you sort of talk about putting characters or types of characters in that might not be seen again, and was there any discussion about that?

EDWARDS: Yeah. I mean, you don’t see Snow Trooper or Speeder Bikes in A New Hope, so I think it’s fair to say that the Empire and Star Wars in general has different vehicles and different types of soldiers for particular areas or warfare. Being such a fan of Star Wars, the dream is to be able to add something to the equation and bring something to the table like Death Troopers and ships.

But then you have to justify them not existing, you don’t want to be contradicting the canon of the movies, so you make sure, whether it comes across or not, I’m not sure, but if you watch the movie, all the U-Wings are kind of like the helicopters of Star Wars and they all go in through the shield gate to Scarif, so they all get destroyed in the Battle of Scarif; and the Death Troopers, same thing happens to them. So we had to make sure anything significant like that which was new was gonna get eradicated through the events of that film.

Gareth Edwards on ‘Rogue One’, Darth Vader, and What Happened to the Death Troopers


The out-of-universe answer is obviously they weren't invented yet. I think we will probably see them more in new materials going forward.

In-universe, there just wasn't a lot of them compared to plain Stormtroopers. They are highly specialized troops that operate almost exclusively as guards for officers within the Tarkin Initiative. That means after Tarkin dies and the Tarkin Initiative is disbanded they were probably reassigned to other units.

Other limits to their numbers is the fact that the physical requirements are much higher than standard troopers. A small fraction of recruits are qualified to even go through Death Trooper training. Presumably not everyone that starts the training graduates.

They also have a great degree of cross-training, which is something the Empire doesn't like. That's one reason the TIE Striker wasn't seen in widespread use, the navy wanted ships that were specialized for one job.

Finally is cost. Death Troopers go through extensive training in exotic locations. Their equipment is also much more expensive than standard trooper equipment. Their helmets have more sophisticated sensors and their armor is coated with materials that make them harder to detect by enemy sensors. Each Death Trooper also goes through secret medical procedures to make them faster, stronger and probably smarter than a standard human. All this extra expense means the Empire would limit their number, the same way Vader's TIE was never mass produced because the hyperdrive and shields made it too expensive.

All this information is taken from The Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide.


I think there's two main possibilities here:

  1. The Death Troopers are more closely associated with the Advanced Weapons Research Division, and since Krennic is Director he's assigned them himself where other Officers don't have access to them.
  2. We've never seen an Imperial Officer of similar rank to Krennic outside a "safe" location, let alone in the field of battle. If Tarkin or Jerjerrod had have left their respective Death Stars to visit potentially hostile locations, perhaps they would have had Death Trooper bodyguards too. Krennic isn't surrounded by Death Troopers when he's on the Death Star either.

Personally I'd tend towards theory 1.


I’m going to argue that the Empire could have. I mean if they have the money, time and resources to make a Death Star “go unnoticed for a while”, get it blown up and make a bigger one and on top of that make thousands of ships, other vehicles, and Star Destroyers then really I think they would be able to employ better stormtroopers.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Whether or not the Empire has the resources to create an elite Stormtrooper force isn't the question; the question is why are no Death Troopers seen post Rogue One? Please read How to Answer.
    – DavidW
    Jul 16, 2019 at 15:45
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    So just to clarify your answer to "Why they don't have Death Troopers?" is "They probably do, we just don't see them."? If so you might want to edit this to make that clearer.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jul 16, 2019 at 15:46

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