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In Star Wars Rebels season 2 episode 3, Ezra Bridger removes his helmet to close his eyes and "uses the force" to target a walker during a sandstorm.

Is there any in-universe explanation for this?

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This is kind of like the trope where you take off your glasses to show you are getting more serious and focused.

Paraphrased from "The Glasses Come Off" trope:

A good way to show your character means business. When someone is about to get down to business, the first thing he has to do is take off his glasses.

Ezra taking of his helmet was a way to show the audience he was making extra effort to focus and clear his mind. He's not just kind of using the Force, he's taking a moment to stop, clear his mind, and really call upon the power of the Force.

Also, out-of-universe, this way we get to see his facial expressions, making it easier for audiences to relate to his emotions and feelings.

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    I disagree that this is the trope at play; it's not like he's worried he'll break his helmet in a fight like one would with glasses. It's all out-of-universe anyways, when the question asks specifically in-universe, to which I agree with your second to last paragraph: it's definitely about clearing his mind and trusting in the Force instead of himself.
    – Mwr247
    May 8, 2018 at 20:53
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He was choosing to trust the Force instead of himself/technology

The appearance this and other situations like it in Star Wars gives off is one of submission and humility. Choosing to put aside reliance on technology/self, and instead trusting in the Force to see him through.

The helmet shields him from the sandstorm, but also a degree of awareness to what's going on around him. With it on, he's still attempting to find his way on his own through its help. When he realizes that isn't working, he decides he needs to let go of his trust in it and himself and instead trust the Force to guide him. Removing one's hat/helmet is also a sign of reverence and a connection to the spiritual, so it ties into that motif as well.

This is similar to what Luke does in the X-Wing. With the targeting computer out, he's tempted to use it. But Obi-wan reminds him to trust his feelings, which comes from the Force: Luke, trust your feelings

And as a result, he decides to turn it off:

Targeting computer off

He didn't need to turn it off to trust his feelings and the Force, in the same way that Ezra didn't need to take off the helmet. But if he had left it up, he'd have been tempted to revert back to trusting it instead of the Force, and continue to allow it to obstruct his focus. But by removing it he can now fully focus on the Force, since it's only by that that he can succeed.


It's also less about him "removing his helmet to close his eyes", and more about the visual cue that closing one's eyes has in connection to the Force. Again, trusting the Force instead of self implies trusting less on your sight and instead focusing inward to listen to the Force and listening to it instead. We see this fairly often in Star Wars between Luke, Yoda, Rey, and etc.

Luke trusting the Force

We actually see Luke trust in the Force for the first time with a helmet on. But it didn't work at first because he was trying to see with the helmet on, which Obi-wan pointed out the whole point was he needed to stop trying to see at all, let go of trusting himself, and listen to the Force. While the audience isn't shown, if I were to wager a bet, I'd say his eyes were closed behind that blast shield that time when he finally gets it.

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