Here's What Sith Troopers Really Mean for 'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker'

A very ominous word has returned to Star Wars, but what does it mean?

In 2005, the entire Star Wars saga ended with the word “Sith.” Back then, Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith was, as far as we all knew, the period at the end of the Star Wars sentence. I remember this really well because I had a bootleg t-shirt that said: “I Don’t Give a Sith” in that Star Wars font and I wore it out drinking all the time, mostly just to see who would talk to me about Star Wars in New York bars in 2005. (Note: it wasn’t that cool to talk about Star Wars in bars in 2005.)

The point is the word “sith” carries a lot of weight, which is why it seems nuts that all the sudden we’ve got Sith Troopers in The Rise of Skywalker. Who are these guys? Who do they work for? And are the Sith back?

Here’s everything we know about the new all-red Sith Troopers in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Speculative spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ahead.

The Reveal

On July 10, the Star Wars Show officially revealed the Sith Trooper’s existence in The Rise of Skywalker. Host Andi Gutierrez described them as the “next evolution of the Imperial First Order soldiers,” and mentioned that the trooper design “Bears a more modern and menacing look worthy of its namesake.”

Essentially, this means they are red. Also, as many fans and pundits have pointed out, the armor on the Sith Troopers is a little bumpier and very reminiscent of the Clone Troopers from Attack of the Clones and, you guessed it, Revenge of the Sith. Did we mention they’re red? Previously, all-red-clad folks from Star Wars have usually been guards. Specifically, the Imperial Guards from Return of the Jedi and also the Praetorian Guards in The Last Jedi.

Of note: As of this writing, we have not seen the Sith Trooper as it appears in The Rise of Skywalker. There are no stills or trailer footage of any Sith Troopers. The Star Wars Show only revealed merchandise from San Diego Comic Con 2019 that would feature the Sith Trooper. This means toys, Funkos, buttons and other stuff like that. So, at this point, we have zero context for the Sith Trooper. Zero! They could be background characters for all we know! (Unlikely, but just saying.)

Sith Troopers Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker SDCC
Sith Trooper merchandise from 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

The Sith Troopers are not actually Sith

These guys are “Imperial First Orders soldiers,” which means they work for the First Order. It also means they are not, actually real Sith. They probably don’t have red lightsabers or black robes, and there are probably more than two of them. (Maybe the Sith troopers have a tender buddy-system inspired by the Sith?)

Anyway, they’re not Sith. This might seem like a giant “no duh,” but the concept of the Sith predates both the Empire and the First Order, meaning, if someone told you about a Sith Trooper and didn’t tell you they worked for the First Order, you might (correctly) assume that a Sith Trooper could, in theory, just be really into the teachings of the Sith, regardless of whatever government or political junta is presently down with the dark side.

But, the “Imperial First Order soldiers” thing sort of makes it a little more cut-and-dried. They are part of the First Order and just have a cool name. In other words, the Sith Troopers are Sith in name only, so far. Kind of like how Deadheads aren’t literally in The Grateful Dead.

They Aren’t Replacing the Stormtroopers

In the one and only trailer for The Rise of Skywalker so far, we see at least two kinds of white-clad Stormtroopers; the First Order variety we saw in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and some kind of flying stormtrooper, also wearing white. As mentioned, the Sith Trooper hasn’t been in a trailer yet, but because we saw other Stormtroopers, it stands to reason the Sith Troopers are “better” than the regular variety. The dominant theory is that the Sith Troopers report directly to Kylo Ren, kind of like the Death Troopers that reported to Krennic in Rogue One. However, that doesn’t seem like it’s been 100 percent confirmed.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Stormtroopers
First Order Stormtroopers march around Galaxy's Edge. In the story, the First Order is looking for something, or someone.

They Could Be Clones

In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren tells General Hux that he thinks Supreme Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army. This is partly because of a non-clone Stormtrooper — Finn — defects and pretty much ruins everything for Kylo Ren. Now that Kylo Ren is (in theory) the Supreme Leader, maybe he made good on this threat. (Also, as pointed out before, the helmet has some nods to the clone helmets in the prequels. So…clones?)

Darth Maul, a well known Sith Lord who also liked the color red.
Darth Maul, a well known Sith Lord who also liked the color red.

There’s No Reason to Believe the Sith Are Back

Presumably, Gutierrez saying a “look worthy of their namesake” refers to the guards being red because Sith lightsabers are usually red. But the word “namesake” is important here. Kylo Ren is a wannabe Sith, but he hasn’t ever really identified as one. In fact in The Last Jedi Kylo actually goes out of his way to say he’s done with both the “the Jedi” and “the Sith.”

So, do they work for Kylo Ren? One thing is for sure, the existence of the Sith Troopers does not mean the Sith are back. It doesn’t mean they aren’t back either, but the word does not confirm the return of the Sith no more than the title The Rise of Skywalker confirms anyone named Skywalker actually rises.

In conclusion: Star Wars is confusing!


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.

Media via Star Wars, Lucasfilm, StarWars.com, Credit: StarWars.com