Han Solo Secretly Proved How Elite Imperial Stormtroopers Really Are

Although Stormtroopers are often viewed dismissively by Star Was fans and even the characters themselves, Solo: A Star Wars Story subtly showed that they’re elite Imperial soldiers. Stormtroopers are the most commonly shown Imperial troops throughout the Empire’s reign in the Star Wars franchise, but in different ways, canon and Legends both establish that they’re not the Empire’s basic foot soldiers. Stormtroopers are part of the Empire’s Stormtrooper Corps, which is either a unique military branch or a group within the Imperial Army, depending on the continuity.

In the Star Wars Legends timeline, the Stormtrooper Corps is a separate branch from the Imperial Army and Navy, answering more directly to Emperor Palpatine himself and often working alongside the other branches. Stormtrooper training and equipment were far superior to those of Imperial Army and Navy Troopers, who lacked body armor, for instance. Stormtroopers were typically sent to fight the Empire’s most important battles, while the more common Imperial Army Troopers were usually relegated to worlds of lesser strategic importance.


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In canon, the Stormtrooper Corps exists within the Imperial Army, though Stormtroopers are still shown to be a more advanced unit than Imperial Army Troopers. Upon being kicked out of the Imperial Starfighter Corps, a young Han Solo was placed in the lowest-ranking position within the Imperial Army, making him an Imperial Army Trooper instead of a Stormtrooper. While Imperial Army Troopers were eventually phased out of the Imperial Military in canon (unlike Legends), this proves that the more iconic (and frequently mocked) Stormtroopers were considered elite units within the Empire.

The Role Of Imperial Army Troopers In Star Wars Explained

Imperial Army Troopers

Although their training isn’t as rigorous and they lack body armor, Imperial Army Troopers are still deadly and effective soldiers who use armor-piercing blasters, such as the E-11. The Imperial Army also included the Empire’s famous Walkers, like the AT-AT, making their support to the Stormtrooper Corps invaluable. Over time, however, canon’s Imperial Army Troopers were replaced by Stormtroopers as the basic ground units, making them a rarity in the original trilogy. This isn’t the case in Legends, however, as the Imperial Army endured the fragmentation of the Galactic Empire after the Battle of Endor, with various Army units becoming part of Imperial warlord factions.

Imperial Army personnel are rarely shown in the original Star Wars trilogy, with AT-AT crewmembers (one of the few Imperial Army units who wear armor) and AT-ST drivers (who wear standard Imperial Army Trooper uniforms) being the few notable units shown. In-universe, this makes sense, as the battles depicted in the original trilogy were of the utmost importance to the Empire, warranting the Stormtrooper Corps to be primarily used. From a meta-perspective, Stormtroopers are an iconic part of the Star Wars franchise, so they’ll naturally be shown more often than the more obscure Imperial Army Troopers. Solo: A Star Wars Story accurately depicted Stormtroopers as at least a cut above the more basic Imperial Army Troopers, which is why Han Solo was the latter during the Mimban Campaign.