Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
We knew that Gwendoline Christie‘s character Captain Phasma didn’t have a huge role, but many fans were expecting the chrome-plated stormtrooper Captain to be the Boba Fett of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I don’t think anyone, including the writers and filmmakers, expected a lone unnamed stormtrooper to become the obsession of the internet following the film’s release. And no, we’re not talking about John Boyega‘s character, but the riot control baton First Order stormtrooper that Finn battles outside Maz Kanata’s castle.
Find out how the internet has taken to this unexpected breakout character, find out about the character’s possible origins from the Force Awakens tie-in novels, learn how you can make your own First Order-sanctioned Z6 riot control baton, and buy t-shirts and collective figures based on this trooper.
The character in question is the First Order stormtrooper that Finn battles outside the wreckage of Maz Kanata’s castle. The trooper does a little dance, calls Finn “TRAITOR!” and is able to fend off the lightsaber-swinging former First Order soldier with his Z6 riot control baton. As fans took to the character, he became nicknamed “TR-8R” for obvious reasons. Here is a collection of art and memes created by fans of this new character:
— RoMaN® (@rolo143) January 3, 2016
TR-8R <3 pic.twitter.com/ynh5zom9Ay
— Rainbow in the Dark (@jugodu) January 3, 2016
— Spidey ™ (@jayyybeeast) January 3, 2016
TR-8R: Patron Saint of Loyalty Died for our spins pic.twitter.com/Kc1ArOom8F
— Slugger D. Maxman (@SluggerMaxman) December 31, 2015
The Origins of TR-8R
But the book Before the Awakening appears to give our favorite First Order stormtrooper a backstory. In the book, we learn that Finn grew up as part of a four-man fire-team consisting of himself (FN-2187) and three others (stormtrooper numbers FN-2199, FN-2000 and FN-2003). His training mates have earned the nicknames Nines, Zero, and Slip, the first two based on their numerical designations and the last one because he often slips up.
At the academy, FN-2187 was ranked in the top 1 percent of his class, but Captain Phasma is concerned that he may value his teammates more than accomplishing mission objectives. He covers for Slip’s many slip-ups. Phasma eventually takes notice of and orders Finn to stop coddling Slip (a.k.a. FN-2003).
And we’ve told you in the past that Slip is the stormtrooper who leaves a bloody handprint on Finn’s helmet at the raid of Kelvin Ravine in the beginning of the movie (this has been confirmed in the Visual Dictionary). While Finn was already skeptical of the First Order propaganda, Slip’s death is what pushes Finn over the edge and causes him to desert the cause.
But what about TR-8R? Some fans theorize that the riot control stormtrooper is probably one of his other two stormtrooper friends: Zero or Nines. The fight seems to be very personal, and the stormtrooper seems to recognize Finn without his mask or uniform, so it makes sense. So the character may actually have a designation different from the fan appointed TR-8R. I tried to ask Lucasfilm story group executive Pablo Hidalgo about the fan theory, but he has yet to confirm or deny (here was his response).
The entire theory is nicely presented in an edition of Star Wars Minute, which you can watch below:
And of course, before he took the internet by storm, Hot Toys announced they were making an expensive sixth scale collectible figure out of the character.
And if you’re interested in building a low-cost version of the Lightsaber Resistant Z6 Riot Control Baton, Make Magazine has created videos, which you can watch below:
If you enjoyed this feature on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you may want to check out some of the following articles:
- The Ultimate Guide To Star Wars: The Force Awakens Easter Eggs
- We Have the Answers To 26 Unanswered Questions of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens Deleted Scenes: 20 Scenes Cut From The Final Film
- How ‘Force Awakens’ Changed During Development: Jedi Killers, Force Ghosts and The Doom Star
- 10 Insights From the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Novelization Not in the Movie
- Star Wars Episode 8 Theories: Who Is Rey’s Father?
- Who Is Constable Zuvio and Sarco Plank and where were they in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
- Why Supreme Leader Snoke (probably) is not Darth Plagueis