How ‘Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor’ Celebrates the Empire’s Soldiers
AUTHORS ADAM BRAY AND RYDER WINDHAM ON EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF OUR FAVORITE BAD-GUY GROUND FORCES.
When it comes to selecting the most easily recognized characters in Star Wars, the stormtrooper in white armor easily makes that list. From their first appearance in the opening battle of A New Hope as the faceless elite soldiers of the Empire, stormtroopers have captured the imagination and excitement of fans around the world. With their skull-like helmets, head-to-toe armor, and simple designations instead of names, there’s always been a mystique around them — who are they underneath? Their aura has only grown through the introduction and individualism of the clone troopers and has come full circle with the character of Finn, the former stormtrooper who defies the First Order. Now, veteran writers Ryder Windham and Adam Bray take us all-troopers all-the-time with Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor.
Released last October, this in-depth guide, produced by becker&mayer! and published by Harper Design, traces the real world history of each iteration of stormtrooper and clone trooper (and many of their related military personnel and equipment) from concept to filming costume to in-universe background and beyond. Comic, book and video game appearances, merchandise development and history, artwork and the rise of fans making their own costumes and doing charity in our world: it’s all in here! Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor also features a forward by John Boyega, and is filled with photographs, illustrations and other artwork, and even some removable replica memorabilia. StarWars.com chatted via e-mail with Windham and Bray, who shared their insight into the making of this book.
StarWars.com: Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor is easily the most comprehensive resource on stormtroopers both in the Star Wars universe and in the real world. What was it like assembling a book so detailed?
Ryder Windham: Several years ago, Pete Vilmur and I co-authored Star Wars: The Complete Vader, which was similar in format to Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor. The Vader book covered similar ground as the stormtrooper book, including the significant roles of concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and sculptor Brian Muir in the creative evolution of these costumed characters, and also how the characters evolved in comics, novels, etc. Which is another way of saying that I was already familiar with a lot of material about stormtroopers by way of having worked on the Vader book.
Adam Bray: It was scary! Before I got started, anyway. The amount of material that I had to cover was daunting at the outset, and for that I’m thankful Ryder had already written an outline for our book. I’ve written lots of non-fiction and other reference books — especially real-world travel guides for exotic locations — but this was my first behind-the-scenes “documentary” book for Star Wars. All my other Star Wars projects have been written “in-universe.” This was a big milestone for me, and a very exciting one at that. It’s also the first Star Wars book I’ve tackled that is aimed specifically at adult readers, so it was refreshing to use big words and long sentences again! I’ve always been fascinated by the filmmaking process so I particularly enjoyed researching those sections. I’d love nothing more than being posted on a film set documenting an entire Star Warsproduction.
The entire interview can be viewed on the Official Star Wars Website.