How First Order Stormtroopers Were Trained
Concealed behind emotionless white armour, and dedicated to enforcing Imperial rule through sheer brutality, stormtroopers were quite rightfully feared throughout the galaxy. Their prowess with blaster rifles alone made them true forces to be reckoned with – a claim even Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi would attest to. But with humiliating defeats to entirely primitive races, and repeated showcases of all round incompetency, the derogatory title of “bucketheads” quickly came into effect. The very same monicker could not be said, however, for stormtroopers of the First Order. So, why was this? What made the two variations so different from one another?
Simply put, hard-hitting, regimented training was what separated the foot soldiers of the First Order from those of their predecessor state. Gone were the days of inconsistent academy standards, in favour of strict simulations dealing in improvisation, counter-insurgency, and guerrilla warfare. The mindset of having to claw their way back into power, rather than already serving a dominant galactic government, made each and every soldier more well-rounded and formidable. So while their quest to restore “balance” to the galaxy remained at the forefront of their every decision, the First Order sought to maintain excellence in their ranks from the ground up with almost as much enthusiasm. In fact, by discarding the weak, developing the physically fit, and retaining the mentally strong, the organisation believed future success to be inevitable. But if we want to go even deeper into the mindset of the First Order, we need to take a look at 2015's Before the Awakening.
In this direct tie in with The Force Awakens, Greg Rucka intricately describes not only the backstories of Rey and Poe Dameron, but also the stormtrooper training of Finn – or rather FN-2187. So we now know that First Order fire teams, which primarily consisted of four cadets, were trained either through gruelling simulations, or in one on one duels. The former of which saw each soldier face off against New Republic opposition in any location imaginable, where they had to accomplish a set number of objectives. Of course, this familiarised them with their adversary's foot soldiers, various battlefields across the galaxy, and real life encounters – such as the storming of an enemy compound. It also allowed Captain Phasma – who would oversee their development from induction to deployment – to highlight every failing, and somewhat praise each success. No joke, her highest form of flattery was using the word “adequate”. As if watching a whole legion of slain New Republic soldiers materialise into nothing more than a cold, empty room wasn't bad enough...
The other form of First Order stormtrooper training took place in-between menial chores around the barracks, morale sessions where holoprojectors would showcase propaganda and speeches from High Command, and lectures regarding weapons maintenance, small-unit tactics, military structure and historical conflicts. It centred around hand-to-hand combat and scenarios involving various weapons – from vibro-axes and shock staffs, to force pikes and resonator maces. Each of which were strong enough to deflect lightsaber strikes – or at least that's what the instructors would say when listing their various advantages and disadvantages. Either way, the cadets practiced drills of basic moves, before taking on one another in a winner stays on format. So with the combined prowess of simulations and hand-to-hand combat, First Order stormtroopers were prepared to face every scenario imaginable and take on any type of opposition.
So, there we have it: a comprehensive look at how First Order stormtroopers were trained. But now we want to hear from you! Which generation of stormtroopers do you prefer, or believe to be the more powerful? Let us know in the comments below.