NerdBastards previously speculated on the secret history behind the Internet’s favorite storm-trooper. We read through the relevant fiction, we had debates that devolved into improptu broom-handle saber fights and we ranked The Force Awakens memes in our spare time between editorial whip-cracks at the office. Now, after weeks of time wasted on pointless, dead-end arguments, LucasFilm has decided to cave in and give the fans TR-8R’s true identity!
(Also, this is canonical. So no backsies.)
We previously mentioned that TR-8R’s origin candidacy began at an early age, training in a fire team with Finn, Slip and Zero since they were children. This origin story is outlined in the official tie in novella written by Greg Rucka included in the anthology Before the Awakening. In it, we find out that Stormtrooper names are derived from their code numbers, with the exception of Slip, who was simply given this nickname for his accident-prone demeanor. The book goes on to talk about Finn’s excellent combat prowess (ranking at the top 1 percent of Storm-trooper recruits) and his tenuous relationship with his boss from HR, Phasma, who always kept an eye out for any outbreaks of morality.
TR-8R‘s official name is Nines (AKA “the artist formerly known as FN-2199”). Having grown up with Finn, he was able to immediately identify him even in the middle of the firefight in Maz Kanata’s hideout. In the appended photo, you can see an official illustration, showing Nines’ actual, de-masked face (he is the ginger in the top right corner)
LucasFilm elaborated further on the idea behind Nines’ unique look and gear, saying:
There’s a reason that Nines gets to use an awesome weapon (which is called a Z6 baton). He’s riot control, and part of an elite squad that enforces order or squashes uprisings. While their weapons are non-lethal in theory, the Z6 can definitely cause harm or kill an opponent when used with brute force. Look, if a lightsaber can’t cut it, you know it ain’t good news.
Nines is a gestalt character, of sorts. His now-iconic catchphrase “Traitor!” was delivered by David Acord, a Skywalker Sound sound-engineering veteran, with a resume spanning across the prequel trilogy and the Star Wars animated series. The actor responsible for his close-combat prowess is Liang Yang, a stunt man with considerable weapons expertise, who previously lent his talents to such blockbuster projects as XMen: First Class, Edge of Tomorrow and Kingsman, among many others.
NerdBastards staff is assuming that TR-8R is currently fighting for his life, undergoing space ER surgery following Han Solo’s bowcaster blast. We wish him a swift recovery and secretly hope for some cybernetic implants, so we can get the awesome melee fight scene we think we deserve, come Episode VIII. Also, an actual speaking role.