- "He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. The armor's boots featured magnetic clamps, which could magnetically adhere the suit to a metallic surface. He weighed 120 kilograms in his armor, and was 2.03 meters tall in it. The armor also featured a remote to prep Vader's interceptor for combat.
Vision to SkywalkerEdit
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: 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.
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. Each of these apparitions would prove to come true.
Rebuilding Darth VaderEdit
- "There he is. He is still alive. Get a medical capsule immediately."
- ―Palpatine upon discovering Vader
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.
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, capital of the newly formed Galactic Empire. A DD-13 Medical Assistant Droid fitted him with cybernetic implants 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. Vader required a permanent breathing apparatus, a result of his encounter with the flames, altering his voice into a deep growl.
Living with the suitEdit
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.
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.
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.
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. The two did not meet again until the Battle of Endor six months later.
Aboard the Second Death Star Vader dueled Luke for the last time while in the presence of Galactic Emperor Palpatine. Towards the end of the duel, Luke retreated to a hiding spot and refused to fight anymore. To bring Luke out of hiding, Vader taunts Luke by threatening to corrupt Luke's sister, Leia Organa. Succumbing to his rage Luke burst from his hiding place and viciously attacked Vader beating him down and, in the final blow of the duel, cutting off Vader's right hand. Delightedly, the Emperor's exhorts Luke to complete his acceptance of the Dark Side by killing the defenseless Darth Vader and taking his place. Despite his fury Luke has an epiphany when he sees the damaged stump of Vader's right forearm and then sees the black leather and hears the whining servos of his own mechanical right hand. When Luke realizes he's already begun down the path to the Dark Side, Luke chooses to ignore his anger and fear and relents showing Darth Vader mercy. Angered at the loss of a potential Sith, 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.
The disfigured helmet of the infamous suit was scavenged from the funeral pyre, and eventually found its way into the possession of Vader's grandson, Kylo Ren. Ren kept the helmet in his private quarters aboard the Finalizer, where he communicated with it whenever he felt the "pull to the light."
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.
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.
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.
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. The mask was digitally printed and so became the first symmetrical version.
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.
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. Dave Filoni said Vader "has to have the cape," a costly simulation that meant other characters had to be redesigned with form-fitting outfits.
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Crisis on Coruscant" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Mission to Mos Eisley" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Flight of the Falcon" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Gambit on Geonosis" (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "A Hero Discovered"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Zander's Joyride"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "The Lost Treasure of Cloud City" (Appears in hologram)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Peril on Kashyyyk"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Crossing Paths"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Zander's Joyride"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Race on Tatooine" (Appears in hologram)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Duel of Destiny"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Return of the Kyber Saber"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – "Trouble on Tibalt"
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy
- Ultimate Factivity Collection: Star Wars (First identified as Dark armor)
- (Set: 75093 Death Star Final Duel)
- Star Wars Rebels (Set: 75150 Vader's TIE Advanced vs. A-Wing Starfighter)
- Star Wars Rebels: Rebel Power! (Picture only)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know (First identified as Vader's armor)
- Ultimate Star Wars (Referred to as life-supporting armor)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Entertainment Weekly's Ultimate Guide to Rogue One
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Rogue One: Rebel Dossier
- Backstories: Star Wars – Darth Vader: Sith Lord
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Lords of the Sith
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- ↑ Ultimate Factivity Collection: Star Wars
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- ↑ Darth Vader 5: Vader, Part V
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Ultimate Star Wars
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Overlords"
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Ghosts of Mortis"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Conspiracy"
- ↑ Journey Through Space (2015)
- ↑ Star Wars Rebels – "Twilight of the Apprentice"
- ↑ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4
- ↑ Breznican, Anthony (2016-01-15). 'Star Wars: Rebels' — A deep dive into the shocking new trailer. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on January 30, 2016.