We're going to give you a brief history of the design of Darth Vader's costume.
Kylo Ren may have been well and truly obsessed with his grandfather Darth Vader, but the rest of the world got there well before him. To be exact, it was in 1977 when Vader stepped into the Tantive IV and threw a few Rebels about – maybe choked one of them- and, as he did so, he stepped into movie infamy as one of the greatest villains ever.
|Early concept of a young Starkiller dueling Vader|
“A villain like Darth Vader is simply a cinematic flash of genius, destined to be a great film icon forever. The reason we fear him so much is because he partly reflects ourselves.”
How did the concept of Vader develop?
When Lucas was throwing around ideas for his Journal of the Whills concept, he wrote down the name of General Vader who he noted was an Imperial Commander. The character was described as a tall, grim-looking general. Lucas also wrote down ideas for “Knights of the Sith” and a character called “Kane Starkiller” who was a cyborg.
Eventually, Lucas fashioned the character as a “Black Knight of the Sith” who served the “Master of Sith.”
Initially, Vader did not have his famous helmet. Lucas had suggested his face be obscured by a black silk scarf. This was during 1975, at which time Lucas asked Ralph McQuarrie to turn this concept into a drawn character.
When McQuarrie learned that Vader (as it was then in the script) was to cross through the cold vacuum of space to enter Leia's spaceship, he added the mask. Obviously, the reasons for Vader needing the mask were made more interesting later on.
McQuarrie delivered duly delivered some concept art:
|Early Darth Vader concept designs|
Mollo was inspired by samurai influences (which would have pleased Lucas given his penchant for Akira Kurosawa movies) and the Nazi uniform and armor that was used in the trench battles of World War I.
In keeping with this minor Nazi influence, Stormtroopers were named after specialist German soldiers from the same era (random Counterpoint: Vader was not German for Dark Father).
Lucas had other ideas and tried to hire the great filmmaker Orson Welles (speaking of Welles, check out our Theory About Director Krennic's name) with no success. Welles did eventually voice the robot Omicron in The Transformers Movie.
This was just as well for James Earl Jones got the gig and Vader's final ingredient was found. Jones recorded his lines in two and a half hours and received a small cheque for his time. Jones also chose to not receive an on-screen credit as he thought his role was too small – which was eventually rectified when Star Wars become a global smash again with The Empire Strikes Back.
That claustrophobic breathing…
Who was that old guy that played Vader in Return of the Jedi?
During A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, David Prowse did the bodywork for the character and Bob Anderson did the heavy lifting/stunt work.
It is Shaw who stands as a Force ghost with Yoda and Obi-Wan in the original form. He was eventually replaced by Hayden Christiansen in the Special Edition via the wonders of CGI.
In the real world, the specific prop was an old promotional mask that was used for the promotional tour that took place after the premiere of A New Hope. In the movie realm, the mask and helmet that Kylo Ren is holding when he talks to his grandfather Vader in The Force Awakens appear to have been retrieved from the pyre.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.