Death Troopers were specialized Stormtroopers with distinctive black armor who were selected from the most elite ranks of the Galactic Empire to act as personal guards for high-ranking Imperial Officers such as Grand Admiral Thrawn. They were typically assigned to protect officers and groups that pertained to advanced weapons development within the Imperial Intelligence Agency. The Death Troopers took part in the Battle of Atollon, but were unable to prevent the escape of various Rebellion personnel from Chopper Base.
A squad of death troopers served under the command of the Seventh Fleet's commander,Grand Admiral Thrawn. They assisted Thrawn in capturing Agent Kallus following the latter's discovery as a Rebel spy and continued to hold him during the Battle of Atollon after Thrawn discovered the location of Chopper Base. In the latter part of the battle, several troopers accompanied Thrawn to the Base to capture the senior Rebel officers such as General Jan Dodonna and Captain Hera Syndulla. However, the rebels were able to make their escape when a mystical Force being called The Bendu attacked both the Imperial and Rebel forces. On Thrawn's orders, the death troopers concentrated their fire at Bendu, wounding him and sending him crashing to the ground.
In 1 BBY, a squad under Commander DT-F16 accompanied a kyber crystal shipment and several technicians aboard Freighter 2716. After departing from Faos Station, DT-F16 and her squad came under attack by Partisans' leader Saw Gerrera and Spectres Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren. DT-F16, her squad and other troopers were then left behind by the Spectres and were destroyed, along with Captain Slavin's Star Destroyer when the kyber crystal they were escorting exploded.
A death trooper, DT-L21, was stationed at Jhothal. There, he commanded stormtroopers when they discovered that the Spectres had returned. He, his Probe droids and troopers then searched the sewers for the Spectres, to no avail. The death troopers then accompanied Grand Admiral Thrawn and Governor Pryce to the Imperial airfield to watch a test flight of the new TIE/D Defender Elite. When Bridger revealed himself, the death troopers were ordered by Thrawn to secure the TIE/D Defender. However, they lost when Wren stole the fighter.
Several death troopers then assisted Governor Pryce and Rukh in pursuing General Hera Syndulla when Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus rescued her from the Imperial complex. The death troopers were then able to catch to Jarrus and Syndulla.
Several death troopers then accompanied Minister Veris Hydan as the Empire and Mining guild were excavating Lothal's Jedi Temple. They then assisted Hydan in interrogating Sabine Wren, striking her in the head. However, Sabine was then able to knock one out when Captain Garazeb Orrelios rescued her.
Several death troopers were stationed at the Imperial Complex. With Rukh, the death troopers fought the rebels and attempted to stop them from reactivating the shields. They were taken out by Captain Orrelios. The remaining death troopers of Thrawn's guard were with him aboard the Chimaera and were taken out by Bridger before the ship was taken by the Purgil to an unknown location.
The Death Troopers wore black armor differing from that of standard Stormtroopers. They also carried E-11D blasters.
Notable Death Troopers
- "Zero Hour" (First appearance)
- Death Troopers were first seen in the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie, prior to their debut on Star Wars Rebels television series, serving as the personal guard of Director Orson Krennic.
- The Death Troopers that accompany Thrawn have incandescent spots on their helmets, which were part of Rogue One's costume design, but were ultimately left unlit in the finished film.
- Death Troopers is also the name of a Star Wars novel which came out in 2009 (now regarded as Star Wars Legends) under the title Star Wars: Death Troopers, written by author Joe Schreiber. The biological weapon that appears in the novel is what inspired the Death Trooper's name and appearance in the canon timeline.
- Their color and design of the Death Troopers may have been influenced by the Imperial Shadow Troopers.