Red Shirts vs Stormtroopers


Blah Blah Blah, you know the drill

I’m Mike “Set to Stun” Shanley and those were the droids I was looking for!

This week I’m relaxing in a Hawaiian shirt and making the two biggest goofs in the galaxy go at it– the ill-fated Red Shirt and the poor-shot Stormtrooper!



Alright, here’s how it is. The Stormtroopers from Star Wars are the foot soldiers of the evil Empire. Constantly pursuing our heroes throughout the galaxy, you are never too far from a stormtrooper. Aside from doing the Emperor’s dirty work, they also service to do that other Emperor’s dirty work: being George Lucas’ comedic relief.


It’s true. We have group therapy every Wednesday.

Stormtroopers, as frightening as their frowning faces are, actually are some of the goofiest characters in the series. When you really get to know them, they’re about as intimidating as my great aunt Zelda at Hannukah. The reason for the harmlessness is because of one simple reason: Stormtroopers can’t aim worth the Jedi Credits they’re paid. (“But Mike!” I hear you saying to your computers from back here where I’m sitting, “Stormtroopers aren’t paid in Jedi Credits! This is the Empire!” “Yes,” I’d say, “but this is also the ramblings of a nerd who thinks he’s the next Louis CK,”) Anyway, Stormtroopers are notoriously bad shots. Just watch any scene involving stormtroopers trying to shoot things. Just slap the Benny Hill theme song and speed up  the footage and that’s comedic gold! C-3P0 and R2-D2 walk through the middle of intense firefights and remain unscathed! Multiple times! Harmless droids! Luke and Leia are able to take the time to get their grappling hook out, throw it onto a nearby pipe, grab each other, remain pretty much stationary and swing across a chasm while the stormtroopers try to shoot them. I’d list more examples but I think the picture is pretty clear. Stormtroopers are bad shots and that’s why the fans love them. Personally I think stormtroopers are some of the greatest comedy elements of the film whenever they’re not attacking. They bumble around and look forlorn about it! After monkeys and the Nittany Lion doing human things, these guys are number three on things that always make me laugh.

Ah, the Red Shirt. Poor, poor Red Shirt. We never know your name, although it’s probably something like Ensign O’Reilly or Lieutenant Midgen, but who cares? All that matters is that shirt on your back. That shirt of red that leads to your attack. In a cruel twist of fate the color is red. Just like your blood, now that you’re dead. *snap snap snap* Thank you, thank you, you’re all too kind. So anyway, the Red Shirt from the Original Series of Star Trek means that you either work in engineering or security (as to why these two unrelated branches have to wear the same colors, I’ll never know). It really isn’t a problem if you’re in engineering; for crying out loud, look at Scotty– the man wore a red shirt the entire series and didn’t die once!

--Montgomery "The Most Interesting Man in the Galaxy" Scott

–Montgomery “The Most Interesting Man in the Galaxy” Scott

So besides Scotty’s intimate dance with death, what I really mean to touch upon is the fact that the security folks in red are the ones in trouble. On your average episode of Star Trek the USS Enterprise discovers some planet and Kirk decides that going down on that planet is a good idea. So he takes his finest wingmen, Spock and Dr. McCoy, for analytic and medical reasons, and maybe Sulu or Chekov or Uhura if they know something valuable. But it could be a hostile planet and it’s always good to have extra bodi–er–hands. So Kirk grabs one or two random crew members in red shirts on his way out. Probably within the first five minutes, the all-powerful alien residing on the planet has turned these extra people to dust or disintegrated their bones or turned them inside out. Gene Roddenberry (the creator of Star Trek) used these hapless nameless human sacrifices to show the dangers of the planet without killing off the beloved captain or his buddies. But to the fans, it became a widely popular inside joke. So popular in fact, that when I went to see Star Trek: This Time with Benedict Cumberbatch, when Chekov put on the red shirt, half the theater gasped in horror (“Oh God! Chekov’s gonna die!/I dropped my popcorn!”) Basically, the glorious Red Shirt has become synonymous with death itself and any caught wearing the ill-fated article of clothing is to be avoided like the plague.

Live Long and Prosper... Except you Red Shirts. Die soon and impoverished.

Live Long and Prosper… Except you Red Shirts. Die soon and impoverished.


Actually I’m not doing that this week.


That’s more like it. See, this isn’t so much a duel as it is a philosophical question. Like, “If a tree falls in the middle of a forest, and no one can hear it does it make a sound?” (Yes, by the way, duh). Or “If cats always land on their feet and bread always falls butter side down, what happens if you attach a piece of buttered bread to a cat’s back, butter-side up?” (The answer is, of course, the cat spins in midair in perpetual motion and that is how infinite energy is created.) So here, the question is “If a Stormtrooper, who can never hit anything, is in battle with with a Red Shirt, who must die, what happens?” It’s like an unstoppable force/unmovable object sorta deal. Something’s gotta give. In this case, I came to a few conclusions.

Conclusion 1

Lets say that The Stormtrooper and The Red Shirt are in some kind of arena. The Stormtrooper will try, with all his might to shoot that pesky Red Shirt, but cannot land a hit. Then either a freak accident will occur, instantly killing the Red Shirt, or the Red Shirt is able to shoot Stormtrooper but then the freak accident occurs.

Say, that gravy pouch that Lucas is trying to pass for a neck bursts and the resulting gravy flood crashes into the arena

Say, that gravy pouch that Lucas is trying to pass for a neck bursts and the resulting gravy flood crashes into the arena

Conclusion 2

If they were on some kind of natural Hunger Games-esque arena or some kind of alien planet, then it’s quite obvious that the Stormtrooper wouldn’t even have to move a finger. The natural wildlife would be upon the Red Shirt faster than he could say, “Oh God, why am I here? Is this some kind of thought experiment?” Or the Red Shirt would kill the Stormtrooper then die of hunger or some other freak accident.

Ultimate Conclusion

The Red Shirt will always die, but does that mean the Stormtrooper wins? He either ends up dead or just the lucky survivor. This is a lose-lose situation. Unless you count survival without honor as winning. And seeing how none of you reading are actually feudal samurai (as far as I can tell) then surviving without honor is winning. Okay, alright, fine. The Stormtrooper wins. Happy?

Ecstatic! Can't you see my grin?



5 thoughts on “Red Shirts vs Stormtroopers

  1. As usual this was hilarious. And good call on the final outcome. I feel like if both of them met in a battle it would just end in sadness and desperation, with both losing equally.

  2. Your blog is awesome. I always go back to my friend with new knowledge that impresses them. I like your use of comedy and dialogue throughout your blog. It mass it witty and fun to read. It was funny how you compared two inadequate characters and compared them to see which one is more lame. I agree with you, the red shirt will always die.

  3. This was a really interesting post. I remember as a kid watching Star Wars wondering why no one ever got shot when the storm troopers were shooting all over the place. This really makes sense now. I never really watched Star Trek but reading about this whole red shirt thing makes me want to check an episode out to see if that actually happens.

  4. Another well put together and funny entry to your blog. This blog is like deadliest warrior but with popular characters from nerd-stardom. I’m always impressed by your knowledge on all of these subjects and I always look forward to reading this blog.

  5. It seems like you had a lot of fun with this week’s matchup, taking the comedic route to the extreme. I am not a star trek fan and did not know that about the red shirts although in many tv shows there is a basic plot that happens every single episode. It was very funny how you compared this battle to a philosophical question and I enjoyed this week’s topic very much!

Leave a Reply