Riot-Control Stormtrooper, the Unlikely Hero of Star Wars

stormtrooper3While Rey and Kylo Ren are the headliners, and Captain Phasma got a lot of pre-release hype, there is another character who has stolen the hearts and minds of fans with a single word.

Who was the Stormtrooper that fought Finn?

The fan-dubbed “TR-8R,” or more properly, the Riot-Control Stormtrooper, only had seconds of screentime, but in declaring rogue Stormtrooper Finn a “traitor,” he captured the hearts and minds of fans everywhere and had the baton that launched a thousand memes:

stormtrooper-meme1
via All Things DC and Marvel

UPDATE: 

Everyone’s favorite Stormtrooper has an official name: FN-2199! He trained with the-future-Finn in the First Order academy and had a personal grudge against his old friend for joining the Resistance. Physically, he was performed by stunt-master Liang Yang, and his voice came from sound-master David Acord.

stormtrooper5
That’s FN-2199 on the left.

According to IMDB, the Trooper who has come to symbolize loyalty in the face unbeatable odds was played by parkur specialist Pip Anderson. With someone capable of physically challenging the film’s protagonists, Pip (along with the traitor Finn) gives some much-needed gravitas to the often maligned Stormtroopers.

But why has this seemingly formerly nameless mook struck a chord with fans?

stormtrooper-meme2
via Roe Dyer

Why is he so popular?

Riot-Control grabs your attention for the same reason Boba Fett did when he first appeared: he spoke little and carried a big stick.

Keep in mind, when the Star Wars films first hit the silver screen, Boba Fett only appeared for a few scenes in Empire Strikes Back. Fans were free to fill in the blanks on their own. Who was this mysterious bad ass? Why did he work for scum like Jabba? Why did Vader, of all people, need to reign him in?

Sure, subsequent special editions added him to the first film and changed his voice, the prequels gave him a needlessly complicated backstory, the Expanded Universe made his awkward death all the more pointless, and his first action figure was one of the first Star Wars toys ever pulled from release, but before all that fans were free to imagine Boba Fett however they pleased.

The same seemed to be true for Captain Phasma, as the hype around the uniquely chrome-colored Trooper with a recognizable female voice had her all set to be the new Boba Fett. Unfortunately, whereas Boba Fett waited until his second movie to fail completely, Phasma seemed to do little of consequence in her first appearance.

Riot-Control, on the other hand, appeared with a bang, and went out with one.

Okay, but isn’t he dead now?

When first-and-last seen, Riot-Control fights hero Finn to a standstill then gets blasted by Han, so that should be it right? The thing is, he was wearing armor, and it seems incredulous that the Republic, the Empire and the First Order would have their troops wear armor when fighting in blaster battles if the armor didn’t offer some kind of protection against blasters.

stormtrooper-helmet

In all likelihood, he’s dead and will never be mentioned again, however it’s worth noting that Riot-Control’s hate for Finn seemed to be personal, just as the death of another Stormtrooper on Jakku seemed to have personally affected Finn. Even if he is dead, the backstory of Finn and the Troopers he knew personally seems to be one worth telling.

If he’s not dead, giving the standout soldier a promotion and an upgrade seems in order.

What now?

stormtrooper-hottoys

Well, if you’ve got several hundred bucks to blow, there’s a Hot Toys set of Riot-Control and Finn.

And hey, there’s always cosplay.

stormtropper-moving

You know you wanna.

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