(Warning: The following contains potential SPOILERS for past Darth Vader-related content, as well as some potentially no longer accurate information that can be traced back to the now defunct Expanded Universe. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests to you is wise.)
Now, with a certain helmet-shaped piece of Darth Vader's armor having played a small yet potentially crucial role in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (probably), it's not overly surprising that the legendary Sith Lord's iconic black outfit has been getting a little more attention than usual of late. Indeed, that is doubly true, since...
Darth Vader's Armor Is Hiding Some Huge Secrets
As it turns out, the iconic intergalactic henchman formerly known as Anakin Skywalker is hiding more than just his horribly scarred and dismembered body under that ridiculously awesome black get-up. Y'see, there's a whole lot more back-story behind Darth Vader's armor than you might think — and it seems that now might just be the perfect time to take a look at the secrets hiding beneath that nifty black cloak.
Here, then, are seven of the most intriguing secrets hiding inside Darth Vader's armor...
7. It's A Lot More Than Just Armor
Specifically, it's primarily a complex and sophisticated portable life-support system — that just so happens to have been designed to strike fear into the hearts of the Emperor's enemies. Which means that if Darth Vader's armor were to be damaged — in, say, a climatic battle against the Emperor to determine the fate of Luke Skywalker, and to uh, return the Jedi — then it would stand to reason that he would be unable to survive.
Which might just explain why Anakin was able to survive falling into a pit of lava, but not being on the receiving end of an electric shock from the Emperor.
6. It Forced Anakin To Change His Fighting Style
Now, did you ever happen to notice how Anakin's style of fighting changed dramatically between his wayward youth as a heroic Jedi warrior and his productive adulthood as a founding member of the Empire? Well, as it turns out, that had less to do with shifting continuity between 1977 and the 2000s, and more to do with the impact of Darth Vader's armor.
It seems that becoming an armored killing machine with cyborg limbs kind of messes up your lightsaber battling style — and in Anakin's case, forced him to substantially adapt it to compensate for the fundamental changes that were made to his body.
Which may well have contributed to the fact that...
5. Anakin Was Not A Fan Of The Armor
So much so, in fact, that he tried to wean himself off it on several occasions — with predictably ineffective results. Anakin's determination to remove Darth Vader's armor at the end of Return of the Jedi, though, makes a whole lot more sense when considered in the light of a lifetime of pain, claustrophobia and alienation — with the armor presumably having come to very literally represent the Dark Side to Anakin.
Speaking of claustrophobia...
4. There's A Reason Darth Vader Had A Meditation Chamber
And it sure wasn't because he was super into tantric breathing exercises. Instead, Anakin was rendered so troubled by the claustrophobic nature of Darth Vader's armor that he had pressurized meditation chambers — like the one above — built simply so that he could remove his mask and survive.
It's a pretty big length to go to simply to get some fresh air, sure, but it may well explain why Vader was always in a foul mood. After all, if you were locked in a suit of armor that symbolized your betrayal of everything you held dear for 99 percent of the time, wouldn't you be?
That being said...
3. Darth Vader's Armor Was Incredibly Advanced
With the ability to provide complete temperature control — whether in the frozen wastes of Hoth or burning heat of Tatooine — Darth Vader's armor was an incredibly sophisticated piece of survival gear. What's more, with most of Vader's limbs having been removed, and his senses having been dulled by lava, the suit acted as a remarkable bionic... everything. From sight and hearing through to the simplest forms of movement, Vader was entirely reliant on his armor's technological wizardry to function.
Which, considering he lived in a galaxy with distinctly 1970s-looking technology, is pretty darned impressive.
Although, as it turns out...
2. Emperor Palpatine May Well Have Built Design Flaws Into The Armor
While Darth Vader's armor was in many ways a remarkable technological achievement, it was also fundamentally flawed in several key ways. Not only did it not allow Vader to live anything close to the regular life of, say, an Imperial officer, it also required constant maintenance, leaving Vader in constant need of Imperial medical assistance.
Both of which, it might be speculated, will have suited the man who arranged for Vader to receive his armor — Emperor Palpatine — to a tee.
On the plus side, though...
1. Darth Vader's Armor Basically Made Him Iron Man
Sure, the very nature of his existence was an endless living hell from which no joy could be taken, but with increased strength and durability, a whole heap of helpful gadgetry, and the ability to block a lightsaber blow with his wrist guards, there's also a pretty solid argument that Darth Vader's armor basically made him a Force-strong Iron Man.
Which, horrifying existential pain and physical discomfort aside, is kind of the ultimate geek dream, no?
What do you think, though?
Would you like your own set of Darth Vader-style armor?