Here’s Part 8 of endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare.
CHAPTER 11: EMPIRE TRIUMPHANT
From Clone Troopers to Stormtroopers: The GeNode clones are from Steven L. Kent’s “Pax Empirica,” a short story from the strategy guide for Galactic Battlegrounds. It’s a cool story, but I didn’t think its depiction of clones was a good fit with what we’ve learned since then about the Clone Wars, and it had pretty profound implications that had never been explored in other Star Wars tales.
Sometimes that happens in Star Wars: A bit of continuity with potentially large implications is established but rarely or never referenced again, and becomes an outlier over time. (Examples off the top of my head: the trampling of sentient rights in the Expansion Region, the account of the Imperial attack in the Jedi Academy Sourcebook, Kashyyyk’s Wookiee scouts being the custodians of hyperspace routes.) I rejected the idea that the GeNodes were a major source of clones for the Stormtrooper Corps, but I did want to acknowledge them – and, I hope, honor the spirit of an intriguing story.
Debriefing: Stormtroopers: It was fun running down all the crazy stormtrooper variants seen over the years. I decided to be vague about whether or not the Royal Guard wore crimson stormtrooper armor, though. The danger of guides is that they wind up draining a setting of all its mystery – as fans we want to know, but we also like some spaces on the map that say HERE BE DRAGONS. In the Essential Atlas, for instance, Dan Wallace and I left the Empire of the Hand alone, and left a couple of geographical features undefined – the Noopiths is the one that sticks in the mind. What are the Noopiths? Dunno. Did the Royal Guard take the field in crimson armor? Dunno.
A Female Stormtrooper Remembers: The femtroopers you see at cons are serious fans and work as hard on their costumes as anyone else does. Check out the work of Sith Vixen: Yes, she looks amazing in femtrooper gear, but she also looks great as Maul or a Kaleesh warrior, costumes that demanded an enormous amount of work.
That said, midriff-baring stormtrooper armor always struck me as a bit unlikely in-universe — I figured the Empire had female troopers, but I was pretty sure they weren’t wearing armor that looked like that. With this in mind, “female stormtroopers” was one of the first things I wrote down when beginning to work on the outline for Warfare.
I worked hard to think of an unromantic, plain-as-mud name for Warfare’s female trooper, then salted the rest with trooper slang drawn from everything from Han Solo and the Lost Legacy to the Dark Forces novellas. I love the moodiness of Drew Baker’s suiting-up shot. By the way, the original title for this section was “No Separate Barracks,” but the audience at New York Comic Con giggled, thinking it was some kind of slash fiction. That’s getting changed, I decided there and then.
Debriefing: The 501st: As I wrote in the acknowledgments, thanking both the 501st and the Rebel Legion, “Star Wars couldn’t ask for better ambassadors, and authors couldn’t ask for better friends.” I know I’ve found one of my book signings because there are stormtroopers outside, with kids gawking at them in giant-eyed awe. (The driver’s usually flabbergasted when I point across an acre of cars and storefronts and calmly say, “over there.”) What those gawking kids don’t realize is how hard it is to see in those outfits, or how hot it gets inside. I’m always amazed at how 501st and Rebel Legion folks stay calm and friendly while the sweat starts to pour.
Anyway, it wouldn’t have been Warfare without the 501st, who get an overview here, including quick references to a couple of new engagements and campaigns. For my own story of being a stormtrooper for a day, check this out.
War Portrait: General Romodi: Yes, there are still characters in Star Wars who haven’t had every inch of their backstory explained. Well, OK, now there’s one fewer. I’ve always loved the Death Star briefing scene in A New Hope, and so I jumped at the chance to give names to the two guys at the table who didn’t have them yet. One became Romodi, restoring the character from the A New Hope novelization; the other one got a name and title, but the section got cut.
AT-AT: Paul Urquhart writes: “This one was a lot of fun to do. The AT-AT is one of those things that seems to be designed the way it is purely because it looks cool up there on the movie screen, but Warfare needed to come up with a rationale to fit it into a believable military context — and it turned out to make more sense than I had expected.
“I was also really pleased with the way the pre-movie backstory fell together — it seems to be a linear narrative of steadily larger mecha designs, but it gets much more complicated in the details. Xim’s war-robots are probably the most iconic hardware of the distant era of the timeline, while their very cool-looking Hutt equivalents were introduced in the obscure but awesome RPG module called Tempest Feud. (Which just got novelized as Scourge.) The ‘pachyderm cavalry’ are a nod to the Sith war beasts referred to earlier in the book, suggesting the Sith subversion implicit in the Imperial system — as well as squaring the circle by referring back to the real-world inspiration for the AT-AT.”
Dark Troopers and Droid Stormtroopers: A whole bunch of sources show up here, with Marvel alongside the Dark Forces videogames. (Kligson! Represent!) I always thought the story of Dark Trooper Phase Zero — from The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide — was creepy and awesome, and a great retcon to boot. Bruno Werneck’s moody, threatening Dark Trooper painting is one of my favorites in the book.
Quick note: In Pt. 7 I missed another Ansel Hsiao design that’s been canonized by Lucasfilm. It’s the Vigil-class corvette, and its length is 255 meters.
(On to Pt. 9)