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Vader's armor

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"He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]

Vader's armor, also known as Dark armor, was a suit of cybernetic armor worn by the Sith Lord Darth Vader. He was encased in the armor as a result of grave injuries he sustained in a lightsaber duel with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar.

DescriptionEdit

The armor's belt and chest plate held the controls for the life support system, ensuring that Vader's body received enough oxygen, nutrients, and medicine; through this system, Vader could endure nearly any environment, including the vacuum of space.[1] In addition to its life-support functions, the Sith Lord's helmet contributed to giving him a frightening appearance, and could be removed to use a feeding tube in his private chamber due to his inability to eat normally.[4] The helmet created Vader's menacing growl due to his natural voice being very weak from vocal-cord damage, and contained neural needles that painfully connected with the top of Vader's skull and spine, to form one interconnected unit. Without these, Vader could not use his artificial limbs.[1] The armor had ten protective layers, while Vader had four artificial limbs as a result of his injuries on Mustafar and at the hand of Dooku on Geonosis.[5] The armor's boots featured magnetic clamps, which could magnetically adhere the suit to a metallic surface.[6] He weighed 120 kilograms in his armor, and was 2.03 meters tall in it.[2] The armor also featured a remote to prep Vader's interceptor for combat.[1]

HistoryEdit

Vision to SkywalkerEdit

AnakinVaderVision-GOM

A vision to Anakin Skywalker

During the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano discovered the Mortis monolith, a gateway to another planet, while answering an ancient Jedi distress code. The trio then entered the world of Mortis, where they met a family of Force wielders:[7] the Father, the Daughter, and the Son. The Father had called Skywalker to the planet, believing him to the prophesied Chosen One. The family then put Skywalker through a series of trials, to test whether or not he was the Chosen One.[8]

During a confrontation between Skywalker and the Son, the Son offered to show Skywalker a vision of the future. During the vision, Anakin saw his wife in distress, the deaths of many Jedi, the evasive Darth Sidious unleashing his full power, his duel with Kenobi, and the destruction of Alderaan. The vision concluded with a ghostly image of Anakin's future cybernetic helmet.[9] Each of these apparitions would prove to come true.[10]

Rebuilding Darth VaderEdit

Ani01

Vader, having his suit installed

"There he is. He is still alive. Get a medical capsule immediately."
―Palpatine upon discovering Vader[src]

After his fall to the dark side of the Force and rebirth as Darth Vader, Anakin was sent to the planet Mustafar, where he murdered the entire Separatist Council, ending the Clone Wars. In the aftermath of the slaughter, Vader dueled his former Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader lost the fight after having both legs and his left arm severed by Kenobi. Vader then tumbled down the volcanic planet's surface, near a river of lava, where his body burst into flames. Kenobi left his former apprentice presumably dead.[10]

Unbeknownst to Kenobi, Vader's new Sith Master Darth Sidious would soon arrive to his apprentice's aide. Vader was shuttled to the Grand Medical Facility on the planet Coruscant,[11] capital of the newly formed Galactic Empire. A DD-13 Medical Assistant Droid fitted him with cybernetic implants[12] while a 2-1B surgical droid picked away any remaining chars of clothing and flesh from the Dark Lord's body. An FX-9 Medical droid supplied Vader with blood transfusions during the surgery.[7] Vader required a permanent breathing apparatus, a result of his encounter with the flames, altering his voice into a deep growl.[10]

Living with the suitEdit

Then you will die

Vader's suit sustains heavy damage.

Darth Vader wore the armor for over two decades, until his redemption and death. He initially hated the armor, but after living with it for several years, he embraced how it isolated him from the rest of the galaxy, allowing him to concentrate on becoming a pure instrument of the dark side.[1]

Three years prior to the Battle of Yavin, Vader engaged in a duel against his former apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, inside the Malachor Sith temple. During the duel, Vader's helmet suffered considerable damage, disabling Vader's vocal modulator and exposing his right eye. Vader eventually stumbled out of the temple alive, albeit exhausted and short of breath.[13]

Vader would continually have to meditate on the dark side for extended periods just to operate the suit at peak efficiency, prior to the Battle of Scarif, he spent some time in a bacta tank in his castle on Mustafar before donning the suit again to meet Director Orson Krennic.[14]

Shortly after the Battle of Hoth, Vader dueled his son, Luke Skywalker, aboard Cloud City, a mining city floating within the clouds of Bespin. Luke caused minor damage to his father's suit after slashing him on the shoulder. Vader retaliated by severing his son's right hand.[15] The two did not meet again until the Battle of Endor six months later.[16][17]

Dvbones1

The final blow to Vader's suit

Aboard the Second Death Star, Vader and Luke dueled one last time, this time in the presence of Galactic Emperor Palpatine. During the fight, Vader tempted his son with the dark side of the Force, before threatened to corrupt Luke's sister, Leia Organa. Enraged, Luke viciously attacked his father and cut off his prosthetic hand, causing him to collapse. Despite the Emperor's demands, Luke refused to murder his father. Angered, the Emperor tortured Luke with Force lightning, before eventually deciding to kill him. Vader intervened and ended his master by throwing him down a reactor shaft. During the conflict Vader's suit was critically damaged by the lightning, and Vader died before ever escaping the destruction of the Death Star. Following his death, Luke burned the armor in a funeral pyre on the forest moon of Endor.[16]

Post-destructionEdit

HelmetWarrantyVoided-TFAT2

Vader's burned helmet, 30 years after the Battle of Endor

The disfigured helmet of the infamous suit was scavenged from the funeral pyre,[18] and eventually found its way into the possession of Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren.[19] Ren kept the helmet in his private quarters aboard the Finalizer,[18] where he communicated with it whenever he felt the "pull to the light."[19]

Behind the scenesEdit

Darth Vader's armor was designed by Ralph McQuarrie, who deemed it necessary for Vader to wear a breathing mask after reading the portion of the Star Wars script stating he would cross through space between ships. George Lucas subsequently created the backstory that Vader needed the suit and mask after falling into a volcano during his duel with Kenobi.[20]

Costume designer John Mollo made one suit for actor David Prowse to wear, which was produced on a budget of $1,173. Brian Muir sculpted the mask. Mollo was inspired by McQuarrie's artwork, but was also influenced by samurai armor, as well as the World War I–era trench armor and Stahlhelm helmet.[20]

For The Empire Strikes Back, the suit was redesigned to be more comfortable, with spares for looser parts of the costumes. The helmet had minor changes to fix the domed top more securely, and the triangular chin vent was made larger so Prowse could breathe and see more easily. A helmet made of tinted acrylic was made for Prowse's stunt double Bob Anderson to see through more than just the eyepieces. The costume was barely altered for Return of the Jedi, although Fred Hole and Brian Archer designed and built a new helmet for the unmasking scene.[20]

Anakin Skywalker actor Hayden Christensen wore the suit for the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith: molds of him were used to create the latest version of the armor by Don Bies and his team. Ryan Church designed the interior of Vader's helmet, which was shown in the film for the first time.[20] The mask was digitally printed and so became the first symmetrical version.[21]

The suit's voice was provided by James Earl Jones, while Ben Burtt provided its infamous breathing sound by recording himself using a scuba-diving apparatus. Burtt also worked to make sure Jones's voice sounded like it was reverberating out of a helmet.[20]

Star Wars Rebels art director Kilian Plunkett said they could not experiment too much with Darth Vader's appearance, and that even the helmet hearkened back to McQuarrie's version.[22] Dave Filoni said Vader "has to have the cape," a costly simulation that meant other characters had to be redesigned with form-fitting outfits.[23]

AppearancesEdit

Non-Canon appearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

In other languages

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