New heroes like Rey, Finn, and Poe. Old ones like Han and Leia. New foes like Kylo Ren. The Force Awakens is packed with great characters, but the Internet has chosen one above all: A Stormtrooper with a stun baton. Now this icon has been given an official backstory... because it’s bloody Star Wars, and everyone has a backstory.
There are some incredibly mild spoilers for The Force Awakens ahead. You’ve been warned!
You might already be familiar with the totally rad trooper that the Internet has dubbed “TR-8R” (for his sole line, an angry cry of “TRAITOR!” to get Finn’s attention) in the movie; he’s the riot-shield-and-baton-wielding Stormtrooper who goes toe-to-toe with his former fellow Stormtrooper after the First Order attacks Maz’s castle on Takodana. He manages to hold own against a lightsaber-toting Finn, and nearly delivers a fatal blow before Han Solo emerges out of the rubble and blows him away with his blaster pistol.
But despite his short-lived nature, TR-8R has become the target of adoration for everyone looking for the next Boba Fett, especially after Captain Phasma’s minimal screentime left people disappointed. There’s been fan art, memes, the whole shebang, and even his merchandise has attracted wild attention.
But now TR-8R has gone down in official Star Wars history. In a new post on StarWars.com, the first canonical details about the trooper have been revealed—and TR-8R is no more. He’s FN-2199, asoldier with a close bond with Finn while they trained together in the First Order (hence his anger when they meet in the film!).
FN-2199 appears in Finn’s short story found in the Star Wars: Before the Awakening anthology by Greg Rucka, released to coincide with the movie in December. FN-2199—known to his squadmates as Nines—is the red-haired trooper you can see in the above art from the book,by Phil Noto. While he and Finn trained together, Nines was eventually transferred to Riot Control, an elite squad designed to quell uprisings on First Order planets, earning the right to use fancy gear like the Z-6 stun Baton.
In the film, FN-2199 was played by Liang Yang, a stunt performer known for his work in a variety of movies, from Skyfall to 47 Ronin, but his sole line was provided by a Skywalker Sound sound editor named David Acord, who’s worked on a plethora of Star Wars projects.
So is this basically the first equivalent of an Ice-Cream Maker Guy (that’s Willrow Hood to you) in Disney’s Star Wars canon. I can only hope. I love when tiny little parts of the Star Wars galaxy get fleshed out like this.