Reminder: Stormtroopers Are the Bad Guys, Guys
At a recent Space Force swearing-in – yes, Space Force is still real, and we are going ahead with it – DeAnna Burt, outer space’s newest Major General, was surrounded by stormtroopers, as well as Boba Fett and Darth Vader, as she took her oath of office.
This, of course, follows the previous administration’s nepotistic mannequin twins dressing up their child as a First Order stormtrooper and drawing the very confused wrath of the internet. Along more apolitical avenues, there’s the 501st Legion, an international group of cosplayers who attend store openings and visit kids in the hospital, dressed, largely, as stormtroopers. And then there’s Star Wars’ practically unstoppable merchandising arm: did you know that you can make adorable stormtrooper-shaped cookies?
Look, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it is apparently a lot of people, so I’m going to shout it in all caps, so even the creepy dude reading this over your shoulder on the bus can see: STORMTROOPERS ARE THE BAD GUYS. STOP DRESSING UP LIKE THEM.
Stormtroopers are literally Space-Nazis – George Lucas literally said that. He specifically modeled the Empire and its stormtroopers on Nazis and the Imperial officers’ uniforms on historically fascist regimes. It’s not a secret; Lucas is very open about that. Because he wanted the audience to know, in every conceivable way, that these people sucked and were very bad.
And, okay, yes, some Star Wars’ books and comics go out of their way to explain that #NotAllStormtroopers – but they also pointedly explain that #YesMostOfThemActually. Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars follows two kids from an Imperial-occupied planet who join up with the Empire because of propaganda and poverty, only to eventually turn on them. One joins the Rebels, while the other goes slowly insane because she realizes she’s on the same side as killers and psychopaths and fanatics who are okay with slavery and genocide and planet-exploding.
Meanwhile, the new movies explain that the First Order’s stormtroopers are largely kidnapped orphans brainwashed into becoming murderers. Who our heroes then kill indiscriminately anyway. That is horrifyingly tragic, yes, and maybe these stormtroopers deserve our sympathy – but it’s still a weird damn choice for a Halloween costume. There’s a reason children don’t dress up as Titus Andronicus:
Obviously, I get that this is just marketing at work. Stormtrooper helmets are easily identifiable and presumably fairly cheap to reproduce. I get that wearing a latex replica of Daisy Ridley’s face would be kind of creepy, never mind the cost of likeness rights that would go into something that. But, I mean, there’s Rebel pilot helmets, aren’t there? All kinds of aliens? Robots?
All I’m saying is, we don’t dress kids up like the invading Chitauris from The Avengers. If a small army of Cobra Vipers were marching in your local parade, there would be some concern. And if you were in the hospital and someone tromped in kitted out in Peacekeeper armor from The Hunger Games, I can pretty much guarantee that you would not be comforted.
And, so, in summary, there are a hundred non-Nazi-inspired parts of that galaxy far, far away that we can make cookies out of. Disney and Lucasfilm – and everyone – really need to start toning it down with the stormtrooper shit.
Eirik Gumeny is the author of the Exponential Apocalypse series, a five-book saga of slacker superheroes, fart jokes, and assorted B-movie monsters, and he recently added werewolves and assassins to The Great Gatsby. He’s also on Twitter a bunch.
Top Image: Lucasfilm