Two Scout Troopers Ponder the Meaning of Free Will in “Existential Troopers”

This is why existentialism doesn’t necessarily work in Star Wars at any given time since the deck is pretty stacked thanks to the idea that people want to see the ‘good guys’ triumph and the ‘bad guys’ get taken down. Stormtroopers of any sort are often thought to be mindless automatons that are recruited and expected to serve the Empire in any way possible. They’re expendable, they don’t count, and any time that one or more of them are becoming aware of the fact that they’re free-thinking human beings, it’s likely that they’re going to be killed not too long after that realization. Unless of course, they happen to be John Boyega or someone else that is needed for a plot device, since believe it or not, there have been troopers that have been allowed to stick around in the books and in the comics in order to continue the desired narrative that has gone on to be kind of interesting to be certain. But as the scout troopers are figuring out in this clip from The Mandalorian season one finale, which of course has been heavily edited to push this short narrative through, their lives aren’t really worth much to the Empire since they’re basically shock troops that are part of a story about bad guys that are allowed to do horrible things but are eventually supposed to lose.

When one thinks about the implications of this clip it’s easy to sit back and really come to the realization that the Empire has no reason to lose and that the Rebels should have been wiped out pretty easily. The lousy aim that stormtroopers have, the hubris that the Emperor had, and the overwhelming arrogance that the Empire and the First Order possessed since they would continually fall back upon being the biggest and the baddest in the galaxy ended up working against them not only because they grew lazy, but because the writers were a bit lazy as well in trying to give the fans what they wanted by creating a scenario where luck holds out and the Rebels were therefore allowed a last-second victory against insurmountable odds. In a way, it feels as though if Disney or George Lucas had been in charge of the remake of The Alamo or 300 then Texas would remember the Alamo for different reasons and the 300 would have won by sheer luck and because the Persians were simply horrible soldiers that couldn’t hit a mountain if it was looming over them. That’s not a bad analogy for how poorly a stormtrooper shoots to be fair.

One point is very clear, stormtroopers are conditioned and taught to be deadly, accurate, and despite being seen as fodder at times, they’re also trained to be crack shots as they become more specialized in their duties. When a wall of stormtroopers can’t bring down a couple of Rebels it’s stretching the limits of believability in a big way, even though many of us have watched the movies and continue to enjoy them. For certain, it’s a great story and one that is a lot of fun to watch and get into. But if one really wants to nitpick then the story is entirely open to doubters and naysayers from all directions. Stormtroopers are basically walking targets that are supposed to look terrifying and be able to cut people down with a blaster without any difficulty, but as it’s shown in this clip, two of them can’t even shoot a defenseless can. Much as I hate to say it, that’s lazy storytelling since it implies that those that are trained to use their weapons and to hit their targets are suddenly useless when presented with a real situation. That might work if one is taking a gamer that plays Call of Duty to a live field exercise, but in real life, soldiers are often taught to hit their target and be good enough to at least come close or hit their target consistently.

Being a Star Wars fan it’s hard to sit and pick at the franchise in any way, but there are way too many easy targets to hit and the truth is that fans and Disney really don’t care since the franchise is big enough and has expanded to the point that it no longer matters what anyone says since it can take the abuse and keep rolling forward. The whole idea that that Star Wars is flawed in so many different ways is no longer a huge secret, but it’s not something that a lot of people want to focus on either. There are plenty of people that still want to escape into the story and think that it’s one of the greatest things ever without having to pick at it so often. But now and then, it’s hard not to wonder about certain elements.

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