Equipped with a rocket pack and a slim and sleek new white helmet, the jet trooper from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has soared into D23 Expo 2019, the latest addition to Lucasfilm’s exhibit tracing the evolution of the iconic Star Wars soldiers.
Fans on the floor of the convention this weekend were among the first in the world to glimpse the screen-used armor, fresh off the set of the forthcoming film, alongside the Sith trooper and eight other production costumes spanning the different eras of the saga, which were first displayed at San Diego Comic-Con last month.
The specialized First Order jet trooper is a unique design that incorporates nods to original trilogy concept artist Ralph McQuarrie and the fearsome death troopers from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, says Madlyn Burkert, Lucasfilm’s collections and exhibitions archivist. While the Mandalorian armor favored by Jango Fett and Boba Fett featured a jet pack, this version is actually part of the body armor sculpt. “The jet pack is implemented as part of the armor, which is a bit unique,” Burkert says.
To account for the added mass of the hefty back piece, actors on set had to be fastened into the armor using Phillips-head screws instead of other means, Burkert noted, a ritual that’s followed when Burkert and her team dress the mannequins for display. “The weight of the jet pack requires some pretty heavy duty hardware,” she notes.
The helmet design owes some of its aesthetic to the evolution of the death trooper by armor designer Glyn Dillon working under costume designer Michael Kaplan, while eagle-eyed fans of McQuarrie’s vivid concept paintings may sense something familiar about the black insignia on the chest plate. Indeed, the jet trooper sports a graphical element similar to an emblem that was first seen on McQuarrie’s concept of the gleaming white snowtrooper armor from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
And the back of the shin and forearm armor pieces each contain a small protrusion like a fin, a departure from the typical stormtrooper fatigues. “It gives you that feeling of flight,” Burkert says. “That’s definitely very unique to the jet trooper.”
If you’re at D23 Expo through Sunday, you can see the jet trooper for yourself, along with the Sith trooper and the rest of the designs in the Evolution of the Stormtrooper exhibit inside the Lucasfilm pavilion (booth #1022) on the exhibit floor.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.
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