ByTom Perkins, writer at
If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.
Tom Perkins

All popular icons originated from somewhere, all of them came from a funny piece of concept art that you could never imagine seeing on the silver screen and today I wanted to share those with you, I bring you the true origin of the Stormtrooper.

If you aren't familiar with any other pieces of Star Wars related concept art and can't think visually of any Star Wars designs that couldn't have not appeared on the big screen then let me do the honours by sharing this piece of 'Luke Starkiller' at the time, in a duel between the man but more machine himself, Darth Vader.

Yes, I must say in comparison to other pieces of concept art, this isn't too different from the famous final pieces that we have grown to love, but I do believe the most substantial differences is Luke's costume, the buttonless panel on Darth Vader's costume and the fact that his breathing apparatus seems to extend a lot further outwards than it does now, but nonetheless, this is still quite similar.

This may come as a bit of a shocker, but the infamous Galactic Empire if you did not know is actually based off of Nazi Party from the Second World War. Yep, that happened. There are in fact a lot of similarities between the party and the Empire. For one, Stormtroopers share the same name with 'Nazi Stormtroopers' and Chancellor Palpatine mirrors Adolf Hitler in the fact that Hitler appointed himself to be a Dictator through his use of Emergency Powers like how Palpatine used his. So it's hardy surprising that their could be links between the costumes of Star Wars and real life soldiers.

Rights for the image belong to The History Channel.
Rights for the image belong to The History Channel.

Pretty weird right? Wrong. Super cool! I joke I joke, it's both.

So if you thought wielders of the force were the only people going to use lightsabers (besides Han) then you are most indefinitely incorrect my good reader, in early concepts Stormtroopers were supposedly going to use what almost looks like a lightsaber if compared to the previous photo of Starkiller and Vader. I mean I'm still adjusting to new look of the look of them, let alone even being able to comprehend this!

In this piece the look of the Stormtrooper doesn't look too different but still it departs from the original that we know now, I mean the troopers on the right hand side even have Shields, there isn't even a gun in sight! There also seems to be a panel like Darth Vader's, but clearly that was taken/made smaller in the final draft of the costume.

This is definitely the weirdest departure from their look. I mean in a lot of concept art I've seen, most of the characters seem to be wearing breathing apparatus, my best guess is that this is before the idea of their ships allowing you to breathe freely came into play so obviously they would need to breathe somehow and this was Lucas's solution. It looks a lot like this design was then incorporated in the Rebel's helmet for 'Star Wars: A New Hope' though.

But even from these small sketches I am already picking up a lot of resemblances from the Nazi's stormtrooper helmets, it is rather clear that this is where the inspiration came from. I mean looking at these concepts it seems like the only thing that actually stayed with the Stormtroopers from the beginning was the full face mask, that doesn't and hasn't changed to this day.

Another quick look at early concept designs.
Another quick look at early concept designs.

Once George Lucas and the team had finished designing the final look of the Stormtrooper and was shown to us on the big screen, we have become so attached to it that it almost seems sad seeing the infamous character changing once again into the new and Official Stormtrooper that has been redesigned for the purpose of the revamped Star Wars Universe starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

When looking at original costumes and comparing them to the early drafts, I noticed some real distinct differences, the chest plate now has what almost looks like it is meant to resemble a man's chest, the troopers are no longer carrying lightsabers and shields with their blaster rifles resembling the design of original WW2 weapons, the breathing apparatus no longer is present and their are two different designs for the knee pad.

The thing that has been done perfectly by Disney is that with these new costumes, they still have captured the original feel of the what the originals are they're different but they're not, like Mark Hamill said,

"I mean everything's changed, but nothing's changed"

Yes a few things have changed like the chest plate has reverted back to how did in those pieces of concept art I showed earlier with the flat shell, the knee pads are now both the same, the guns have stayed but have changed colour and the helmets have lost a lot of its detail to being more subtle in the way it's presented, which is a shame but I honestly have to say this design just has 'Modern' written all over.

I mean everything on the helmet is still there, most details of the original have been redesigned to blend in with other parts of the helmet, made smaller or just completely gone.

All in all the Stormtrooper has gone through a lot of change and I can honestly say that it is worth it, we have a fantastic final piece and I am looking forward to finally seeing them on the big screen come December 18th, 2015.

This was just a brief run through of the evolution and I do hope you learnt a little, it was a pleasure to write it, Star Wars has played a massive part of my life and I've loved it for as long as I can remember.

Have an awesome day.


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