A faceless enemy discussion somehow cannot be made without looking into some of the most famous faceless enemies known in modern movie cinema: The stormtroopers and the droids from the Star Wars franchise. What makes the analysis interesting is that this is 20 years in the making – and counting, as the Star Wars universe grows as large and even more confusing than the Star Trek universes with each new iteration released as part of the official history.
The Original Story of Star Wars:
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a Galactic Republic has been at peace for millenia. The Republic is protected by a group of mystical beings known as the Jedi Knights, individuals who all have a strange mitochlorian bacteria in their bodies that allow them to access a power known as “The Force.” Followers of the Force are usually broken down into two groups – The “Light Side” (which is never officially identified), and “The Dark Side.”
Almost fifty years ago, a Nabooian Senator by the name of Palpatine uses the chaos caused by the Trade Federation to elevate to power in the Galactic Senate. As the Trade Federation and Robot Forces escalate tensions to declare war, Palpatine is given special war powers to raise an army to fight them – as the Jedi were being killed en masse in skirmishes against the Robot armies. The Army of the Republic, under the Command of Mace Windu, achieves victory when Obi-Wan Kenobi kills General Grievous, the leader of the Droid Army.
Unfortunately instead of this event bringing an end to the war, the Republic plunges further into chaos. Anakin Skywalker, a former slaveboy from the planet of Tatooine and current Jedi Knight, begins using the Republic’s army to hunt down and kill the Jedi. It turns out that Palpatine is a powerful Sith Lord for the Dark Side and recruited Anakin to his cause. On top of this, the Trade Federation uprising and the war that followed was a plot by Palpatine to seize power and make himself ruler of the known Universe.
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Master Yoda attempt to stop the Dark Side, but Yoda is unable to overcome Palpatine and Obi-Wan refused to kill Anakin Skywalker, now rechristened as Darth Vader. Yoda goes into exile, and Obi-Wan hides out on Tatooine.
Almost two decades pass. The Republic has become a Galactic Empire, crushing all opposition with Darth Vader leading the way.
The Problem: In the case of Star Wars, for example, we are not supposed to cheer for or care about the “Stormtroopers” because they start off by killing Leia Organa’s Senatorial and Royal Guard; then kill the robot-thieving munchkin Jawas in their search for some droids; compounded by the killing of Owen and Beru Skywalker; and menacing Han Solo. None of the Stormtroopers are shown with their helmets off or as having any lives outside of being soldiers for the Empire.
Beyond the Stormtroopers lies the men who keep the Army of the Republic functioning. It is never clear how populated the Death Star was; but for a small moon, there would need to be at least a few hundred thousand hired hands just to maintain the secondary operations of the battle station (sanitation, “housekeeping,” and catering for nearly a million or more soldiers, as examples). When dealing with Galactic economies, it can be certain that there are more people and beings that join the Army of the Republic weren’t all looking for “truth and justice.”
However, the faceless soldiers do not start or end here. The Prequel Trilogy features another large faceless Enemy – the Droid Armies of the Trade Federation. Much like the original Stromtroopers of the Galactic Republic/Galactic Empire, the Droid Armies are nothing more than cannon fodder for the Protagonists to destroy in moments of “Awesome” throughout the series. While the Stormtroopers were simply killed by blaster fire, the Droids were blasted AND sliced by Lightsaber.
Droids seem to be advanced enough in the Star Wars Universe to act in many ways similar to humans. The droids have a sense of self-awareness, understand their uniqueness in regards to each other, and can communicate with humans and other types of droids with a high-level of diction abilities. But, beyond the robot protagonists C3PO and R2D2, there aren’t any others given roles other than to fight with or against the Protagonists.