The story of the Disney era in Star Wars is one that creates a lot of controversy and division between fans. It is strange that overall competently made films (at least from the technical point of view) were so divisive. For example, the infamous Last Jedi was quite a big disappointment for fans who even threatened the director of the film with physical harm. It was a film driven by the creative force of someone who wanted to turn Star Wars into something new.
What many do not understand is that fans of the universe do not really want anything new. The Force Awakens was basically a copy-paste version of the original trilogy. It had virtually the same plot as The New Hope and even had a very similar cast of characters with the main lead turned into a strong young lady. People loved it because it was so similar to what they have seen before.
Now, The Last Jedi decided to subvert our expectations and started to break some canon ideas and themes that were universally considered fundamental for Star Wars. Was it a good decision? In hindsight, we can say that it was not. However, the film looked great and tried to bring something alien and possibly good to the universe. All of that was pushed back or retconned by The Rise of Skywalker.
Interestingly enough, there is evidence that the movie wanted to go even deeper in the nostalgia territory by bringing back some iconic designs from the original trilogy. Let’s not forget that the latest installment in the Star Wars saga was full of references to the first trilogy. From designs of spaceships to cameos of older characters, the movie was oozing nostalgia and banked hard on having diehard fans coming in and paying for tickets.
We can argue that the damage was done and that the movie wouldn’t have been as successful as some hoped. On the other hand, many have to admit that it was a cool attraction with awe-inspiring visuals and outstanding cinematography that definitely highlighted the glory of designs that were conceived decades ago. One of such designs was supposed to be implemented in the appearance of the antihero of the series Kylo Ren.
His helmet was very much different from what Darth Vader used to sport in the old trilogy. However, the concept art for the movie released recently reveals a very Vader-like design of the helmet. It was supposed to be the new piece of armor for Ren after he smashed his old one helmet to pieces in The Last Jedi.
Luke D. Fisher, the concept artist, showed a couple of his early works that show a very different helmet that looks much more like something that Vader used to wear. With elements of old-school cybernetics and cool shape, it definitely has a lot of similarities with armor made for Anakin Skywalker. The artist also hinted that there was a movie scene in which Kylo Ren actually has this exact helmet.
The movie ultimately was changed to make it clear that the latest Star Wars installment ignores what The Last Jedi tried to do and even reverses it to please some of the hardcore fans. The scene in which the broken helmet is being restored is exactly that — a blow thrown at The Last Jedi.
To be completely honest, the art book that was released alongside the movie has a lot of cool visuals and designs that were excluded from the film in its final iteration. The helmet design that looks a lot more like something inspired by either samurai or the world war II era is just a lone example of such designs that ended up on the floor of the cutting room. Sadly, we probably never see these designs on the screen.