Are ‘Star Wars’ Fans Fed Up With Dumb Stormtroopers?

The Star Wars franchise has continued to go deeper and further over the years, and now it’s one of the largest, most complex entertainment collectives in the world.

What started out as a trilogy of sci-fi films in the late 1970s and early 1980s has grown beyond anyone’s wildest imagination, spanning galaxies and centuries as well as entertainment formats.

Of course, anytime you’ve got such a fervent fandom, you’re going to run foul of their opinions now and again, and Star Wars fans have certainly had some pointed criticism for the creators.

Whether it’s disappointment over the creative direction of the franchise’s future or the tendency to keep dwelling on the franchise’s past, fans have plenty to say about how they wish things would be done differently. 

There’s one specific detail that has kept fans frustrated for years: why are the Stormtroopers so bad at their jobs? 

The ‘Star Wars’ franchise spans many formats

Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers | Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG

Originally, fans were introduced to the Star Wars cinematic universe through a trilogy of films. Notably, the films were numbered not one through three but four through six, nodding to the plan to loop back around and fill viewers in on the story that came before. It would be many years before that tale came to the big screen in the form of a new trio of connected films, but their appearance ushered in a whole new era for the sci-fi franchise. 

In the years since, fans have seen a plethora of stories weave together through television series, films, comic books, video games, and novels. Along the way, fans have been introduced to new characters, given fresh insight into the motivations behind the franchise’s villains, and taken to new lands.

The classic tale of good vs. evil has both been reaffirmed and muddied, and the resulting franchise is a complex web of conflicting motivations and alliances that dances around the ethical questions of right and wrong. 

Stormtroopers have been a staple of the ‘Star Wars’ world

Characters come and go, but Stormtroopers have been a consistent force in the Star Wars universe from its very inception. In fact, the Stormtroopers are among the most recognizable villains from the entire franchise. Stormtroopers evolved from the clones built to serve Chancellor Palpatine in the Clone Wars.

Most notable is the Stormtroopers’ uniform and chilling appearance. They’re clad in shiny white armor and have helmets that allow for human-like expression. The color scheme, too, was carefully crafted. “George [Lucas] wanted to create this iconic imagery that looked like living skeletons, and that’s why you have the stark black and white,” Lucasfilm Vice President Doug Chiang explained.

While the Stormtroopers definitely have some cold, mechanical features, they also have human details — such as the “smiling” face of their helmets.

Why are Stormtroopers so bad at their jobs?

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There’s no doubt that Stormtroopers are horrifying to see, and their sheer numbers make them a terrifying force, but plenty of fans have pointed out that their potential intimidation factor is undercut by the fact that they aren’t very good at, well, much of anything. In fact, there’s an entire episode of the PBS Idea Channel dedicated to a fan theory that the Stormtroopers actually let the rebels get away. What else could explain just how bad their aim is? 

After all, the Stormtroopers are not only single-mindedly focused on defending the Empire, but they have also been genetically designed to be good at it. Their terrible aim is hard to explain, but that hasn’t stopped fans from trying.

As Esquire reports, one theory is that the Stormtroopers that the rebels face are simply no longer as good as the ones that Obi-Wan remembers. Another fan theory, as explored by CBR, is that they’re talented fighters with faulty equipment. 

Whatever the case, fans are getting fed up with the trope. As viewers of The Mandalorian discussed on Reddit, it’s just getting pretty old. “I would feel more threatened by a 5-year-old with a butter knife than a stormtrooper. Holy moly those dudes are completely useless!” one fan explained.

“I may be alone in this, but is anyone else getting tired of the ‘stormtroopers are useless’ trope? It doesn’t impress me if someone can cut through a platoon of incompetent idiots who run away from three fighters because they’re scared,” another added.