Thrawn's Stormtroopers In Ahsoka Aren't Actually Stormtroopers

This article contains spoilers for "Ahsoka" episode 6, "Far, Far Away."

Even though the series' titular character hardly appeared in the episode at all, "Ahsoka" episode 6 was arguably the show's most important installment to date. With "Far, Far Away," viewers finally got to visit the second galaxy which was, as George Lucas always liked to say, far, far away, where Grand Admiral Thrawn has been in exile since the events of the "Star Wars Rebels" series finale. Now, he's back and ready to make his return to the galaxy now ruled by the New Republic — and he's got an army of very unique-looking stormtroopers with him. Only, they're technically not stormtroopers.

Thrawn's entrance is appropriately epic, with the Imperial grand admiral approaching his rescuers in his trusty Star Destroyer, the Chimaera. When Thrawn greets the group of travelers who have come very far to find him, he is surrounded by troopers the likes of which we've never seen in "Star Wars" before. They vaguely look like stormtroopers, only with damaged armor as opposed to that glossy, flawless white we're accustomed to seeing. But there are also accents of red and, in Captain Enoch's case, a gold face plate on the helmet. It's a radical departure.

The subtitles for the episode reveal that these troopers are actually called night troopers. This would certainly not be the first time a new class of stormtrooper has been introduced within the franchise. We had the snowtroopers in "Empire Strikes Back," the scout troopers in "Return of the Jedi," and even the death troopers in "Rogue One," just to name a few examples. But Thrawn is clearly gearing up to reshape the remnants of the Empire under his command, so these night troopers are teed up as a particularly important class of stormtroopers.

An Empire remade in Thrawn's image

From the time that Ezra and Thrawn blasted into the unknown wilds of hyperspace at the end of "Rebels" to when Thrawn's faithful servant, Morgan Elsbeth, and her companions finally reach him in "Ahsoka," more than a decade has passed. One of the most brilliant military minds the galaxy has ever known has just been sitting on a desolate planet for at least 11 years with nothing but time to plot his eventual return. Sure, he had limited resources, which explains why the night troopers' suits look so ragged. But rest assured, with Thrawn's intellect and ability to outthink his opponent, these are not going to be your average stormtroopers. Rather appropriately, they don't look like your average stormtroopers.

Granted, Thrawn has a lot to be brought up to speed on. Palpatine and Darth Vader are both dead and the Galactic Empire that he knew is no more. The New Republic is attempting to restore order to the galaxy and the remnants of the Empire are scattered, unorganized, and far from the height of their power. Thrawn is well-positioned to fix all of that upon his return to the galaxy. It very much seems like series writer/director/producer Dave Filoni is gearing up for a loose adaptation of the classic "Heir to the Empire" storyline where author Timothy Zahn created the character of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

More than 30 years later, Thrawn has taken the spotlight in live-action, and these night troopers are along for the ride to help him execute his plan — whatever it may be. One assumes the final two episodes of the show's first season will pull the curtain back on that front.

"Ahoska" returns with new episodes Tuesday nights on Disney+.