Here's the next evolution to the menacing Imperial fighters

By Nick Romano
July 10, 2019 at 04:27 PM EDT

Here we are, days before the worlds of Hollywood and geekdom unite in San Diego for Comic-Con International, and there goes Lucasfilm casually dropping the detail that Sith Troopers will be arriving in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The next evolution of the Imperial/First Order guard was unveiled Wednesday in toy form. As described by StarWars.com and Lucasfilm’s official The Star Wars Show, this new red uniform serves as “a modern and more menacing look befitting its namesake.”

The name “Sith Trooper” appeared previously in the Star Wars lexicon, though it was in reference to a differently designed breed of characters. They appeared in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic videogame as foot soldiers of the Sith Empire. The Sith Troopers of The Rise of Skywalker, however, look more just like Stormtroopers adopting the color palette of Emperor Snoke’s red Elite Praetorian Guard.

Lucasfilm; Hasbro

Other characters set to appear in The Rise of Skywalker opposite Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren include Naomi Ackie’s Jannah, Keri Russell’s masked scoundrel Zorri Bliss, Richard E. Grant’s First Order villain Allegiant General Pryde, Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian, The Knights of Ren, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia (by way of unused footage from the previous films), and (if his surprise presence at this year’s Star Wars Celebration is to be believed) Ian McDiarmid’s Emperor Palpatine.

“In addition to being the end of three trilogies of movies, it has to work on its own as a movie,” director J.J. Abrams said during Celebration. “It’s about the new characters, as they face the light and the dark. Are they prepared?”

With Kylo Ren fuming after his run-in with Luke in The Last Jedi, Driver previously teased of his character, “He had been forging this maybe-bond with Rey, and it kind of ends with the question in the air: is he going to pursue that relationship, or when the door of her ship goes up, does that also close that camaraderie that they were maybe forming?”

Meanwhile, a certain spacecraft glimpsed in the film’s first teaser trailer suggests we just might be delving further into Rey’s origins.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will open in theaters on Dec. 20.

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