My Favorite Stormtrooper Armor from Star Wars

Maybe this gets me out of the controversial arena of Batman suits and Star Wars ship rankings, since no one seems to care as much about stormtrooper armor as much as I do.

The Challenge

A particularly difficult part of this task is how broadly to define the term “Stormtrooper,” as it’s used by casual and dedicated fans alike to refer to any trooper at any period of time in the storytelling arc of the Star Wars universe.

I draw a distinction between the prequel trilogy and the other eras, specifically because of the rebranding of the troopers over time from clone troopers to stormtroopers. It’s further muddied by the fact that both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo: A Star Wars Story are both prequels, hence why I used the specific term “prequel trilogy” beforehand.

However, the rebranding is just that – a rebranding. So I’m going to leave the category more broad and lump in the prequel trilogy and even extend consideration to the armor stylings of “The Final Order” because that’s just a rebranding, too.

Republic is rebranded to Empire. Empire is rebranded to First Order. First Order takes over the galaxy and one year later is rebranded to Final Order.

Which spurs a thought that maybe Palpatine would have been less evil if he’d just gone into marketing since what he seems to love most is to rebrand things. Well, maybe he just would have been a different type of evil, not less evil.

(Of course, the Rebellion rebranded to the Resistance just to rebrand to Rebellion in Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode VIII:] The Last Jedi, and then rebrand back to the Resistance a year later. Make up your damn minds!)

The Winners

I know that “My Favorite Stormtrooper Armor” may imply a singular choice, but in this case it does not! However, unlike my post about onscreen Batman suits, I’m not going to go through a lengthy history of things. I’m just going to present my Top Five in no particular order.

Why five? Because I’ll go nuts if I try to pare it down further than that, and and I’ve already been writing longer than I intended.

Death Trooper

I just think they look lethal. If I saw this armor walking toward me I’d be a little worried. The sheen on the armor also makes them less boring. It’s actually disorienting to focus on them.

Death Trooper | kesseljunkie Death Star Trooper | kesseljunkie

Of course, try not to confuse it with the 1977 action figure known as “Death Star Trooper,” which is significantly less scary.

Sith Trooper

The Sith Trooper from Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode IX] The Rise of Skywalker is a beautiful set of armor. It looks elite, has interesting texture and details, and harkens back to my beloved prequel era with the faceplate. It introduces an angularity to the “marshmallow trooper” of the sequel era. This armor looks like the person wearing it is ready to punch through a steel wall to gut you.

It’s also maddening, because this should have been what the First Order stormtroopers looked like in Star Wars: [Don’t Say Episode VII] The Force Awakens. That sort of ferocious zeal is supposed to be what the First Order is all about. This would have made me sit up and take notice of the design choices in the sequels.

Too perfect, too late.

Death Star Trooper | kesseljunkie

Shock Trooper

I love all the Clone Trooper armor. The prequel era was heaven for an armor obsessive like me. In my collecting days, I made a point to get every a figure for every variant. I loved where they went with the armor for Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and considered it the most perfect iteration I’d seen to that point.

But I still remember seeing the Shock Troopers for the first time in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and being struck by how much I loved the way the color was applied. Just terrific.

Shock Trooper | kesseljunkie

Range Trooper

Seen briefly in the massively-underrated Solo: A Star Wars Story, Range Troopers just look cool. Awesome faceplate, dense armor, fur collars, heavy weapons and, in this iteration, magnetic boots. What’s not to love?

Range Trooper | kesseljunkie

Biker Scout/Scout Trooper

I went nuts for this armor as a kid. While I loved the Snowtrooper variation in Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the Biker Scout in Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi lit up my imagination like never before.

I still think it’s just one of the neatest armor suits I’ve ever seen.

Range Trooper | kesseljunkie

In Closing

Unlike ship designs, at least a suit of armor from the sequels makes it here. Had I expanded this to include other armor variations like the Imperial Guards, Republic Guards, or Praetorian Guards, I’d likely have had to rethink some things.

But I didn’t, so I won’t.

My 7 Favorite Ships from Star Wars

OK, wading into controversial territory again. Or maybe not. I’m not the one on trial here. OR AM I?

This is my official ranking of my 7 Favorite Ships in Star Wars. At least, this is how it stands today.

When I say Star Wars in this context, of course I mean the franchise as a whole and not the original film. In fact, I think you’d have to get pretty creative to create a “7 Favorites” list just from the original film.

Usual disclaimers about this being a matter of personal opinion. No more preamble. Let’s get to it. No particular order, this is just how it stands at present. And yes, you can believe me that this list was harder to compile than it would be for your casual moviegoer.

I could have made a “Top 20” list easily, but gave myself a “Top 7” because a “Top 5” could have driven me insane.

My 7 Favorite Ships from Star Wars

Jedi Starfighter
I have been in love with the Jedi Starfighter since I first saw it. I loved it in Episode II, but I loved it even more in Episode III. It captures the aesthetic of the A-Wing, another beloved design in the franchise lore, and it painfully bumps it from the consideration for this list. If it did not exist, the A-Wing would be here.
Jedi Starfighter | kesseljunkie

The Twilight
This is the spice freighter that Anakin keeps on the side for “unofficial missions” in the Clone Wars series, and I love the asymmetric flight configuration and hints of the B-Wing that was featured in Return of the Jedi.The Twilight Anakin's Ship | kesseljunkie

The Millenium Falcon
Everyone loves the Falcon. And they should. The cockpit placement has that same asymmetric element that attracts me to the Twilight, and it’s the ship of the original bad boy of Star Wars, Han Solo. But here’s the twist — my favorite version is the one from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The Imperial Shuttle
True Fans will point out that this is a Lambda Class Shuttle from Star Wars, but I don’t care. I just remember being a wee lad and seeing this onscreen for the first time. I’ve been in love with it ever since. The way the wings fold, the menacing grace of its design, and the simple lines have always captivated.

Count Dooku’s Solar Sailer
Here’s my outlier! I’m not sure many people remember Dooku’s Solar Sailer, but I sure do. I was enamored of it the moment I saw it take flight and unfold its sails in Episode II, and love everything it says about the character. This is a ship that belongs to an era that is dying, and to which Dooku belongs. It’s an outward showing of his pride and short-sightedness that he thinks it, or he, will have a place in the future of the galaxy.
count dooku solar sailer star wars | kesseljunkie

Razor Crest
The ship flown by The Mandalorian in the show of the same name, she is a thing of beauty. Evocative of power, and age, and eternal utility. Like all the great ships, she looks like there’s a surprise hidden in her somewhere. We haven’t seen everything of which this ship is capable, but it invites us to imagine what those capabilities are. It’s also evocative of the Republic Gunship, a design from the “prequel” era for which I have an excessive fondness, and which almost made this list.
count dooku solar sailer star wars | kesseljunkie

The B-Wing
I’ve written about my love for the B-Wing before. I strongly encourage you to look at that post for my complete thoughts! I’ll share this tantalizing snippet from that previous post: “There’s nothing particularly sleek or even well-imagined about the ship. There is the neat concept that the cockpit stays steady while the ship rotates around it; I don’t think this concept is demonstrated practically in Return of the Jedi though. The only reason any fan knows it is because the toy did that or some other supplemental material explained that.” Also, I know I’m not alone because it got a highlight spot in an episode of Star Wars Rebels that I adored.
star wars b-wing | kesseljunkie

So That’s the List

This list is forever open to change. Honestly, it might need to be updated, if I wrote it a month from now as I ponder more. Such is the nature of lists like this.

There are, as you might notice, no “favorites” from the sequel trilogy. That’s not an oversight.

So what are your favorite ships from Star Wars?


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about an art professor, whose name I cannot remember. It’s a great shame for me not to remember his name.

He made a tremendous impression on me. I can still see him and hear him in my mind. I remember how tall he was, and how his skin was weathered like the people who are happy to go out and live in the wilderness every so often. I remember one time when he joined some of us on the balcony at the end of the hallway for a smoke. He was a funny guy, with an energy that was intimidating until he relaxed.

He was an amazing, intriguing, and authentic man who had stories of life that informed everything about him.

Were any of them true? I had no reason to doubt him. I know that there’s a famous picture of him with Picasso that he showed to us, where they were hanging out on the beach. You could tell it was a younger version of him, and it was the days before Photoshop was on everyone’s desktop.

I remember what he taught us about perception.

He had us read Carlos Castaneda, for an art class. It was weird, but I think we all understood “why” by the end.

He challenged our thinking with sacred names from the tribe to which he belonged. His philosophy that has stuck with me, all these years later, was, “Draw what you see, not what you think you see.”

Drawing is a form of telling. Your responsibility is to the honesty of it.

As I look around at a lot of things in recent months, I think it’s a lesson a lot of people should take to heart. Replace “drawing” with other verbs until the statement makes sense to you.

That’s all there is today.

Movies That Mold Us

A new episode of House of Fincher dropped today, and it was a discussion about Fight Club. As I listened back, I was struck again by how much of an impact the film had on my tastes and how much it resonated with me when I saw it.

To be clear, I wasn’t one of those guys who “joined a Fight Club” once I saw it. I knew a guy who did that, and it struck me as supremely…dumb. I’ll leave it to you to discern why I might have thought that.

But Fight Club certainly made an impact. Something in it spoke to people, especially people who were coming to terms with some of the absurdities of modern living. There was a comforting rebelliousness against a natural order that seemed terribly unnatural.

But this blog isn’t about that.

It’s more about how you can never know when or how you’ll encounter a film that will change the way you think, or affirm a feeling you’ve had. And these movies wind up molding you.

Sometimes movies mold you in small ways. Sometimes they mold you in large ways.

Rosemary’s Craigula is one of the greatest horror pictures of all time.

Sometimes, as you grow, you look back on something like JFK and think, “I became a conspiracy theorist because of that nonsense?” Sometimes you look back on The Doors and think, “Why would you lionize behavior like that?” (And I don’t mean just Morrison.)

Sometimes you realize Oliver Stone made both of those, and became a de facto historian for an age. Was that a good thing?

But they had an impact and they molded my tastes and my opinions, at least for a time. Some of that is a function of age, and some of it is just a function of taste, which is especially odd considering movies can also mold your tastes along the way.

Does a movie resonate because it reveals to you something about yourself? Can it show you who you want(ed) to be? Why do some of them salve a pain deep somewhere in your soul?

It’s humbling to realize how much a piece of entertainment can have an impact, and at times disturbing to realize the things you let sway you based on a strong emotional presentation.

There are so many moments tied to movies in my life that they’re inextricably a part of who I am. It’s both terrifying and enlightening to think of it that way.

It’s bizarre to think that movies don’t have that same sort of impact on others. It’s always an odd moment when I realize they exist in a completely different context for other people, even though we share the same cultural lexicon thanks to the ones that gained the most notice.

One of my favorite icebreaker questions with people is, “What are your five favorite movies?” It reveals a lot about them. Same with albums and books, of course, but movies have an even greater pull on the collective unconsciousness than those media, which are more likely to dip into very niche choices very quickly.

It will just always fascinate me.

A stock photo representing Inception. Only the best for you.
Photo by Ash @ModernAfflatus on

The Best Movie Logo of All Time?

Looking over my movie collection, I’m frequently struck by the collection of eclectic logos on display. I’m not saying that as if that’s a product of my collection in specific. I’m sure that everyone’s movie collection, if they have one, has a wide range of logos on display.

They’re typically designed to be eye-catching. Logos try to communicate something about the work to which they’re attached. A glance should catch your eye, and keep it.

I come from the school that color should be secondary. I should be able to glance at a simple line drawing version of a logo and still “get the point,” as it were. I can look at the logo for Planet of the Apes in any color arrangement and it’s still indelibly right.

Planet of the Apes Logo | kesseljunkie

With Planet of the Apes, the elongated treatments of the vertical lines on the “L” and “P,” along with the all-caps and tight kerning, convey tension and something recognizable-yet-abnormal. The “E” joined to the “T” and “S” further convey something that I can recognize but isn’t what I expect.

The beloved Star Wars logo carries on this same sense of scale, but keeps its letters regimented and precise. It conveys energy and scale, too large to ignore and with horizontal lines that pull your focus out. This is a story on a grand scale, though it obviously owes a bit to the Apes logo.

Star Wars Logo | kesseljunkie

The logo for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight has letters set with imperfect alignments. The worn edges and splatters, hinting at the snowstorm and bloodshed at the center of the plot, capture danger and the rough, displeasing characters. It’s evocative of the Old West type that we’ve been inculcated to recognize over time, which subconsciously communicates when it’s set.

Of course, it proves that color can make a big difference, because if that “8” were also black it wouldn’t be as impactful. An exception that proves the rule, as it were.

The Hateful Eight | kesseljunkie

But these are only a barest handful logos of the many, many that are out there. I’m not trying to position myself as any sort of expert, just going on about some logos that I love at this point.

The Question at Hand

Obviously this is all subjective. That’s how it works. If you love a movie, you’re likely to respond to its logo on an emotional scale and assessing it dispassionately is difficult.

Favorites come into play, along with personal preferences. I’m not going to attempt to answer the question on my own, because obviously it’s too big a topic for one person to tackle.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to give an honest read. You may even hate the logo for a movie that you love! Here’s looking at you, Manhunter.

I mean…ugh.

So what are your favorite movie logos? Which ones work the best?

If you’re reading this, I’m legitimately interested what movie logos you think are great.

If you’re not reading this, I’m legitimately scared because…how are you in my thoughts?

My Dog Ate My Homework

I paint. I’ve painted my whole life. Some people think I’m pretty good. I think I’m mediocre at best, but I enjoy doing it and that’s that.

Now that the preamble is out of the way, let me explain something to you about the creative temperament. I don’t know what it is.

Anyone who speaks about groups of people as if they’re amorphous blobs of groupthink is a fool or a liar. Every person, even if they’re not “a creative,” is unique. There are as many creative temperaments as there are people who are creative.

I just know my temperament, and it drives me up the wall when people claim that they know about “creative temperaments” because they know themselves. But I digress.

I create in fits and spurts. Sometimes I blog for 30, 60, or more days in a row. (That’s a funny story how that got started, too, and the jackass who prompted it is snickering somewhere as well.)

At one point I was on four different regularly-occurring weekly podcasts and still appearing on friends’ shows. I’ve composed in a journal every day for years, and gone months without writing a single thing.

But one thing that really keeps the momentum going is when I start experimenting with media or techniques that are outside the norm. I love to experiment and mix.

I’d started using candle wax to build a textured, layered, multi-colored abstract on canvas, just starting to see where I’d lay on the paint. I had a vision in my head and could see it clearly. I’d nurtured it along for days, seeing that vision come together in my mind’s eye.

Given that melted wax can run, I’d decided to leave it on the floor to let it dry and set. I went to bed.

The following morning, the canvas was devoid of anything but a shadow of the composition I’d been building. There were tears in the canvas, as if someone had dragged a blade or some sort of tool like a pencil across the canvas and worn holes in it. Not jabbed, but worn through in patches like denim in the 1980s.

The dog, smelling the candle wax, had decided that I must have left a treat out. That lovable dope ate it by scraping it and licking it off the canvas. The dog then made a new composition called “vomit on the carpet,” but it’s not been preserved for the art crowd.

Too experimental.

And so that beautiful vision in my mind’s eye has to be reset, and I have to soldier forward in hopes I can recapture it somehow. I’ve churned out 11 paintings in the last three months, I’m sure I’ve got the momentum to find that inspiration again.

I’m sure there’s a lesson about life in there somewhere, but all I can think is that finally I experienced one of the most clichéd moments a boy can have.

My dog at my homework.