Darth Vader’s original mask and helmet (Image: David Prowse, official Facebook)
If you thought that the gnarled Darth Vader helmet owned by Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was suspiciously well-preserved — well, you may have been right. This week on Facebook, David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original trilogy (with his voice overdubbed by James Earl Jones), posted a picture that he described as “the actual Vader helmet and mask after Return of the Jedi.” Check out the photo above!
In comparison, here’s the artfully burned mask and helmet that belongs to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in The Force Awakens. Unlike the actual prop, it seems to have melted into one piece of twisted metal, without the chipped paint and fur-like detritus (fiberglass, perhaps?) of Prowse’s costume pieces. Then again, Prowse’s picture isn’t dated, and most of the original Star Wars props haven’t held up well over 30-odd years (see, for example, the original Yoda puppet parts as they look today).
In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader’s body — armor, mask, and all — was burned in a funeral pyre by Luke Skywalker, Luke’s final act of honoring his father. How Kylo Ren was able to acquire the helmet is one of The Force Awakens’ unsolved mysteries — although now we can be pretty sure that he didn’t get it from David Prowse.