'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker': Meet the new Sith troopers

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

They’re baaaaaack! J.J. Abrams stunned fandom when he unveiled the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at Star Wars Celebration. That teaser concluded with the revelation that Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid, whose appearance at Celebration brought the crowd to its feet), would return for the final installment in the Skywalker Saga.

But he’s not the only Sith in the mix. A battalion of crimson-plated Sith troopers is set to challenge our ragtag trio of Resistance fighters: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) as they attempt to bring balance back to their corner of the far, far away galaxy. And this new division of the classic Star Wars stormtroopers let their uniforms do the talking about where their allegiances lie: it’s no accident that those blood-red battle suits recall the Imperial Royal Guard in Return of the Jedi.

The Sith trooper reveal provides the latest evidence that Abrams is approaching The Rise of Skywalker as a grand culmination to a story that has played out across four decades and nine saga-specific films. He’s doing that by bringing elements of all three trilogies together via a road trip-style narrative that sends Rey and her friends on a galaxy-traversing adventure. They’ll potentially be visiting some familiar planets (like Yavin 4) and definitely encountering some familiar faces, most notably that charming caped rogue, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams).

No matter what their initial mission is, though, all roads eventually lead to Palpatine and his Sith troopers. After all, if Skywalker is to rise, the Sith must fall ... right? Speaking with StarWars.com, Lucasfilm archivist Madlyn Burket — who will be co-producing a stormtrooper specific exhibit at San Diego Comic-Con — calls attention to the “unique aesthetics” of the new armor. “It has some subtle ties to previous stormtrooper designs, which I think fans will enjoy discovering,” she adds, teasingly.

Here’s a look at Lego’s life-sized Sith trooper statue set to debut at Comic-Con next week:

LEGO Star Wars Sith Trooper
LEGO Star Wars Sith Trooper

You can bet dollars to druggats that Star Wars fans are already doing deep dive dissections into the story behind these Sith troopers.

Certainly their presence raises some interesting questions for the future of the Star Wars universe. Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi already revealed that Force sensitivity isn’t exclusive to the Jedi Order: even the daughter of junk traders or a Canto Bight stablehand can reach out and touch the Force. Does that mean that these Sith troopers are similarly Force-enabled?

And then there’s the Kylo Ren of it all. Has young Ben Solo christened himself a Sith? And if so, how does his granddaddy’s old boss feel about that?

And finally, if these troopers are Palpatine’s minions, how long have they been lying in wait to execute his orders?

Here’s the only question we have: do we really have to wait until December to see these super troopers in action? C’mon J.J.—there’s no time like Comic-Con to drop another trailer.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on Dec. 20. Watch J.J. Abrams tease the new film:

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