Star Wars often uses abbreviations. R2-D2 and C-3PO, for example, are abbreviated names for models of droids.
Stormtroopers also use letters and numbers for their names. For example, TK-5331 is a stormtrooper who was stationed on the planet Lothal and part of Squad Five. Later films used the reference FN for stormtroopers.
What do TK and FN stand for in Star Wars? TK is an imperial code naming system for stormtroopers. FN serves a similar purpose but has some distinctions.
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What Does TK Stand For in Star Wars?
Wookieepedia indicates that operating numbers or TK numbers are the alphanumeric codes assigned to stormtroopers and officers of the Empire. Two examples of TK troopers are:
The stormtrooper TK-626 is described as “a hardened school-bully” with “aggressive tendencies” who served on the planet Lothal before the Battle of Yavin.
Stormtrooper TK-421 was stationed on the Death Star in the Maintenance Unit but was later promoted to station security. TK-421 is central to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope because he was assigned to guard the Millennium Falcon after it had been captured. Luke Skywalker disguises himself as TK-421 to help rescue Princess Leia.
Clone troopers, which preceded stormtroopers, were not given names at birth. Instead, they were assigned identification codes much like TK numbers. For example, Clone Captain Rex was originally CT-7567 before earning his nickname.
Stormtroopers became the main soldiers of the Empire and were combined into units within the Stormtrooper Corps. Hence, they did not have a need for names and tended to lose their individuality through military service. TK actually refers to the unit within the Imperial military.
History Behind TK
When the Nazi political party formed in the 1920s, they organized a militia group to protect them. This military group was soon called Sturmabteilung, for Storm Detachment or Stormtroopers. This name was abbreviated as SA.
These real-life Stormtroopers were known as the Brownshirts for the uniforms they wore. They were known for carrying out acts of violence against political opponents in the early 1930s.
The SA was purged by Hitler, though, and replaced by the Schutzstaffel, or SS. The SS was a larger paramilitary organization that carried out violence during World War II. Both the SA and SS influenced the stormtroopers in Star Wars.
Clearly, George Lucas used World War II history for elements of Star Wars. The Empire casts a Nazi-like cloud over the galaxy, and the word “stormtrooper” derives from the real-life military groups that protected this political party.
TK really means Trooper Kore, and Star Wars fans have held discussions about these historical connections. One post clarifies how the Nazi Stormtroopers were formed in a Trooper Kore, core spelled with a K. So, Lucas probably used an extension of that wording/abbreviation.
What Does FN Stand For in Star Wars?
As Wookieepedia explains, the FN Corps is a subdivision of stormtroopers in the First Order military. Captain Phasma trained the FN Corps, and they were believed to be the top forces within the Army.
First Order Stormtroopers represent the post-Imperial era that came with the movie The Force Awakens. Just as TK serves as an operating number for the original stormtroopers, FN serves that purpose for the sequel movies.
Similar to New Hope stormtroopers, First Order troopers’ names are their operating numbers.
However, there are some differences between these troopers.
For example, First Order Stormtroopers were not clones or enlisted humans. The First Order abducted children to become this brand of stormtroopers. Once indoctrinated to be loyal to the First Order, these children lived their entire lives as stormtroopers.
First Order Stormtroopers tended to be younger and more emotional than their predecessors. They sometimes even yelled at one another, whereas the original troopers did not express their emotions.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Finn used a variation of a TK number. He was originally called FN-2187. Like other sequel stormtroopers, he had been raised to serve the First Order.
However, after his first battle on Jakku, FN-2187 was overwhelmed by his emotions and deserted the First Order. Hence, the emotional difference played a big role here.
The selection of FN-2187, in particular, was influenced by Star Wars: A New Hope.
The number 2187 is the detention block where Princess Leia was held prisoner on the Death Star in the original movie. 2187 is also a reference to a short film called 21-87 that George Lucas drew upon for his film series and ideas about the Force.
TK and FN in Star Wars
TK and FN are code systems to name and track stormtroopers from the original and sequel movies. TK has direct roots in World War II history, and FN continues that tradition.
Yet, FN has unique characteristics that set these troopers apart. FN not only attached itself to a major character in the Star Wars franchise, Finn, but also expressed a different type of stormtrooper.
Todd Wahlstrom is a creative and analytical freelance writer and life-long Star Wars fan. He has covered such topics as Darth Vader, the Jedi, Boba Fett, and AT-AT Walkers. Todd has published a non-fiction book, holds a Ph.D. in history, and enjoys hiking, running, and reading about science.