Stormtroopers were the elite soldiers of the Galactic Empire. Like Imperial-class Star Destroyers and TIE fighters, stormtroopers served as ever present reminders of the absolute power of Emperor Palpatine. These faceless enforcers of the New Order were considered an extension of the Emperor's will, and thus they often used brutal tactics as a way to keep thousands of star systems throughout the galaxy in line. At the height of the Empire, stormtroopers had effectively become symbols of brutality and terror. With few exceptions, they were distinguished from all other military units by their signature white armor.
The Imperial stormtroopers were the evolution of the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic. By the end of the Clone Wars in 19 BBY, the Galactic Republic was reorganized into the first Galactic Empire. As a result, the Grand Army was reformed into the Stormtrooper Corps and the clones were renamed as "stormtroopers." Under the Empire, stormtroopers operated alongside Imperial Army and Navy units, and some were stationed on Naval ships where they served as marines. Although the Corps was overseen by Stormtrooper Command, a military agency that was independent from Imperial High Command, all stormtroopers ultimately answered to Emperor Palpatine with unconditional loyalty and subservience.
Members of the Rebel Alliance SpecForce had several terms for stormtroopers, including whitehats, plastic soldiers and snowmen. Other slang terms for stormtroopers were the "Boys in White", "Bucketheads", and "Plastic Boys." Also, another term was "Stormies," which was often used by Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn.
Although the deaths of both Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader in 4 ABY caused the collapse and fragmentation of the original Galactic Empire, stormtroopers were retained as elite soldiers under several successor states, such as the Imperial Remnant, the Second Imperium, and the Empire of the Hand. By the year 138 ABY, stormtroopers still existed in two Imperial states: the New Galactic Empire of the Sith Lord Darth Krayt, and the "Empire" of the exiled emperor Roan Fel.