Check Out This Recreation of Darth Vader's Original, Streamlined Helmet

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 - 3:33PM
Star Wars
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 - 3:33PM
Check Out This Recreation of Darth Vader's Original, Streamlined Helmet
Darth Vader's helmet is probably one of the most recognizable faces on Earth, rivaling even the rosy-red cheeks of Santa Claus and the cheery visage of the world's supreme overlord, Mickey Mouse. Vader's graced everything from bobbleheads to goddamn pieces of toast, and now Kylo Ren is even worshiping the burned-out husk of that helmet in his room. But the earlier sketches of Vader's mask were quite different from what we know and fear today, and a prop studio called Kropserkel couldn't resist bringing those sketches out of the realm of 2D and into our world.

The legendary Ralph McQuarrie, one of the concept artists who worked with Lucas to create the props and costumes in the film, made one of the earliest sketches of Vaders' mask and helmet. It was much more streamlined and evil-looking than the one we know, with a very pronounced widow's peak and swept-back design. There's more of a jutting, almost snout-like sort of mouth, and the cheeks are much smoother than the sharp-edged, triangular shapes that make up the final product:

Ralph McQuarrie's original design for Darth Vader made into a fully wearable helmet.


The official, canon helmet looks a bit less overtly frightening: the eyes are more round and less menacing, the mouth and cheeks look more mechanical and angular, and the face looks more abstract than the almost demonic original design. The canon Vader helmet looks more like a robot overall, playing into Obi-Wan's line that he's more machine than man now. Here's what the folks at Kropserkel have to say about the whole process of translating concept sketches into a final product:

Opening quote
When a conceptual artist first commits a design to paper, it is the earliest development sketches that are the purest to his imagination when translating from nothing but the spoken word for his guidance. Artists like Ralph McQuarrie are selected by their style to develop and refine raw concepts that are otherwise trapped in the mind of someone without the ability to bring them to life visually.
Closing quote

 
And speaking of rejected art, we just got a look at one of the rejected designs from artist Olly Mossfeaturing Vader's #1 Fan, Kylo Ren:



This design was created for Mondo, which creates limited-edition screen-printed posters for "our favorite classic and contemporary films, television shows and comics." Take a closer look at Kylo's visor and mask—that's actually the subtle silhouette of a Star Destroyer. And that color palette, rather than being inspired by a retro album cover, resembles the sand and heat of Jakku. According to io9, the design was rejected because Mondo didn't have the rights to use the "billing block"—the big wall of text that lists the cast, director, etc.

So cry some more, Force Awakens fans—there's no place on Earth you can get a poster or T-shirt with that design. Maybe the trademark laws are looser in a galaxy far, far away...
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