Newly revealed concept art for Kylo Ren’s helmet in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bears an even closer resemblance to Darth Vader’s. The character carried the villainous torch throughout the new Star Wars trilogy, buoyed by a trio of powerful performances from Academy Award nominee Adam Driver. And aesthetically, Kylo Ren quickly became well-known for his devotion to the Dark Side and grandfather Anakin Skywalker, from the helmet down.
However, Kylo Ren’s original helmet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which he smashed to pieces in The Last Jedi, bore only a cursory resemblance to that of Darth Vader. The crudely constructed mask with the silver inlays and smaller helmet gave the character his own distinctive look, while also paying homage to the Sith lord he so desperately wanted to emulate. In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo Ren emerged with a reforged version of the helmet he’d destroyed in the previous movie that was now sporting red cracks. But it turns out that he could have donned something completely new.
Concept artist and sculptor Luke D. Fisher revealed a pair of designs for what could have been Kylo Ren’s new helmet on his Instagram page. The facial portions show a sleeker, modernized version of the mask seen in the first two movies. The overall design of each helmet is more angular, and one of them features buttons and red lighting on the side, which gives it a much closer resemblance to Darth Vader than the original design. Check out both of the designs in the photos below.
One of the most notable features of what could have been Kylo Ren’s new helmet is the slanted edges around the back, the samurai-like feature that helped define Darth Vader’s look in the original Star Wars trilogy. It would have represented a more pronounced effort by Kylo Ren to reproduce his grandfather’s uniquely imposing appearance. In the end, the movie went in the other direction and even deleted a scene featuring Kylo and Vader’s helmet.
Ultimately, it was probably the right move for the filmmakers to have Kylo Ren restore the helmet he destroyed in The Last Jedi rather than lean in further to looking like Darth Vader. Ren’s fascination with his grandfather, yet inability to truly reach the Dark Side to his level, was a massive piece of his characterization. The relatively rudimentary design of his original helmet reflected that. It also would have made it less palatable for Ren to ultimately reach a redemptive story arc at the end of The Rise of Skywalker. That doesn’t, however, take away from Fisher’s impressive designs that had strong ideas wrapped into them.