Kylo Ren had possession of Darth Vader’s helmet throughout the Sequel Trilogy, with the iconic headgear acting as a symbol of how much the corrupted Ben Solo idolized his grandfather. One pretty big question around it was never answered, though: how the heck did Kylo get hold of it in the first place? It’s unlikely to be a family heirloom Leia passed down to him as a kid, but this newly unveiled concept art for Star Wars: The Force Awakens may finally provide an explanation.
As shared by Lucasfilm art director Christian Alzmann on his Instagram page, the gorgeous art captures Luke Skywalker holding his father’s helmet in his hands. “Very early concept art for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Alzmann wrote in his caption. “Trying different ideas.”
Check out the artwork for yourself below:
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It’s known that early versions of Episode VII featured Mark Hamill’s Jedi master in a much bigger capacity, before he ultimately ended up with a brief silent cameo in the final film. We don’t know the full story around this image, but the sight of Luke inspecting the helmet is one that carries a lot of weight.
Imagine a scene in which the older, world-weary Luke looks at the mask of Vader, reflecting how history is repeating itself with his nephew, who has likewise fallen to the dark side. The visual itself also has classical Shakespearean vibes, like a space-age version of Hamlet.
Maybe we can infer, then, that Luke always kept the helmet with him after his father’s redemption and death in Return of the Jedi and somehow Ben came to get it in earlier forms of the storyline. Though things didn’t play out like this in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s still interesting to see this glimpse into an alternate, very different set of events.