The Mandalorian may have welcomed back Dark Troopers, so let’s get their addition explained and explore their place in the wider Star Wars canon.

Many have taken the plunge this year and subscribed to Disney+, with a catalogue featuring titles from The Simpsons to classic Disney gems.

However, its biggest draw has arguably been The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau, the Star Wars series stars Pedro Pascal in the titular role and season 2 began premiering on Friday, October 30th 2020.

The reception so far has been very impressive and the series has touched upon some more obscure Star Wars mythology, bringing to the screen Krayt dragons and beyond.

With episode 4 – ‘Chapter 12: The Siege’ – viewers continue to notice more characters and details from the franchise make their way into The Mandalorian’s narrative, including potential Dark Troopers…

Disney+ | Lucasfilm

The Mandalorian: Dark Troopers explained

At the end of episode 4, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) appears ready for battle as he gazes out at a sea of soldiers ready to obey his command.

An Imperial Officer tells Moff that they are tracking Mando’s ship – the Razor Crest – and he grins, saying: “We’ll be ready.” This is when he turns to the army and a scientist can be seen attending to them. It seems that he wishes to inject them with the blood of Baby Yoda in order to give them extra powers.

While the true nature of the army is yet to be addressed, audiences have speculated that the army may consist of either Shadow Troopers or Dark Troopers.

Shadow Troopers are essentially highly elite Stormtroopers, whereas Dark Troopers could prove even deadlier…

still from The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm et al., Disney+

Dark Troopers: Star Wars history explored

The Dark Troopers have been part of Star Wars canon as far back as 1995.

They first appeared in the game Star Wars: Dark Forces, a first-person shooter. In it, gamers play as Kyle Katarn and uncover a secret Imperial program which sees the development of the Dark Trooper.

Star Wars Fandom highlights that they are advanced battle droids and infantry exoskeletons. Their armour resembles that of a stormtrooper with heavy plating, weapons and even jump packs.

Disregarding Phase Zero prototypes, the Dark Troopers comes in three versions which include the Phase I dark trooper, a skeletal droid armed with a vibroblade and shield. The Phase II Dark Trooper, on the other hand, boasts external elements giving it a bulkier and more intimidating appearance.

Then we have the Phase III Dark Trooper, although this was never fully developed.

As for who created them, The Dark Trooper Project was the work of General Rom Mohc, who ran operations from his starship, Arc Hammer.

Despite Katarn successfully blowing up the craft in the game, it’s suggested that the Dark Troopers weren’t entirely wiped out, as some were witnessed on Kessel, Felucia, Coruscant, and other worlds.

Additionally, they have gone on to appear in wider Star Wars canon since, including the Star Wars: Battlefront games.

Fans react on Twitter

Speculation into the identity of Moff Gideon’s army has begun on Twitter and numerous fans have weighed in with their thoughts and reactions.

Check out a selection of tweets:

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