Victorian Star Wars

Hmm, this looks like someone doing a steampunk version of Star Wars, doesn't it? Wrong! These are real antiques.
This pair of early rescue masks, shown above, dates from between the mid-1800s and World War I. They look a bit familiar, right? Almost a 100 years before Darth Vader and 3-CPO hit the big screen in “Star Wars” in 1977, these two smoke helmets were worn by firefighters carrying our rescues in smoke-logged buildings. The buzz among collectors is that George Lucas’s designers must have found inspiration in these smoke helmets and other like them. In fact, one well-known 19th-century manufacturer was named Vajen-Bader—you could easily get the name Vader from that.

The mask on the left is German; the one on the right is French. Maybe the resemblance is coincidental, or maybe George Lucas and/or his designers saw these masks at one time or another. Link -Thanks, Ben Marks!

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Pure coincidence. Vader's look was based on Samurai helmets with elements of a skull. The inspiration for C3PO was the Maria robot from Metropolis. Shortly after the first film came out I bought some fan/effects magazines that had interviews with all of the concept artists and they stated as much. I'm sure there's more documentation out there than just my recollections as a 13 year old.
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