Darth Vader’s Actual ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Helmet Sold for $900K at Auction

True Star Wars fans know that the original actor that wore Darth Vader’s Helmet was actually David Prowse. Prowse wore the suit in the original trilogy with only a few exceptions. Most notably, it’s not Prowse’s voice that you hear on the silver screen. George Lucas wanted a “darker voice” for the role and one that didn’t have Prowse’s West Country accent. Lucas instead brought in James Earl Jones. Prowse also had a problem with the lightsaber duels between Vader and Luke Skywalker—he kept breaking the poles that stood in for the lightsabers. Fight choreographer and stuntman and fencing coach Bob Anderson took on that responsibility. But it was Prowse, with his intimidating physicality, that donned the helmet and wore the suit, and even had the honor of throwing the emperor off the balcony in the final scenes of Return of the Jedi. That physicality was won through Prowse’s years of weightlifting. In 1962, Prowse won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship. He also represented England in the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Western Australia. The owner of The Dave Prowse Fitness Centre in Southwark, London, Prowse also trained Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman in 1978. With that kind of a background and stature, Prowse—though he was never heard or seen onscreen—was the perfect Sith Lord.

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The real question is whether you think you can pull of that intimidating presence? If you think you can, then you might want to take a shot at owning one of the original helmets worn by Prowse when he portrayed Darth Vader. Icollector has a listing for a “screen used signature mask and helmet from Star Wars: Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back.” The helmet shows production use in some parts and is missing a couple of its original pieces, but the helmet us undoubtedly that of Darth Vader. For $250,000 to $450,000, you can have the opportunity to see through the tinted lenses and breath through the metal mesh of the respiratory vent. With a little bit of the Force, you just might be able to fill the dark lord’s shoes—or helmet, as it were.

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darth vaders helmet side view