In the Star Wars movie A New Hope - we see stormtroopers with helmets like the following:

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Then in the Star Wars movie The Clone Wars - the helmets are shown as T-visors:

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My question is: Why did the stormtrooper helmets change from the t-visor to the curved eye-sockets?


2 Answers 2


I have seen something where the Kaminoans didn't know too much about human biology and created the helmets thinking they would do the job.

The Phase I armour proved uncomfortable for the troopers to fit in, which was due to the Kaminoans unfamiliarity with human ergonomics.

Ultimate Star Wars

However over time this proved not to be the case and the designs were modified. Starting with the Phase 2 armour where the T shaped visor started to become more rounded and reminiscent of the helmets worn by Stormtroopers.

The Stormtrooper helmet removed the down part of the T and further rounded the eyes out.

This either provided a bonus in vision, though as all helmets contained HUD this would probably be negligible.

Or they wanted the storm troopers to look different enough from the clone troopers to show that these are the soldiers of the new Galactic Empire, replacing the clones that would represent the old, decadent, bureaucratically crippled Republic.

  • To correct: This either provided a bonus in vision, though as all helmets contained HUD this would probably be negligible. This is generally incorrect. I won't go into detail unless you ask for it, but HUD either doesn't add to one's vision of the battlefield, or it does not render the bonus from larger visors negligible. They don't contradict either. I do agree they want stormtroopers to look different, but that would be on the aesthetic side. Parts that are meant to serve a functional difference won't be changed for that reason. Feb 5, 2016 at 7:42
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    The eyeslits in the initial clonetrooper helmets are nearly identical to the slits in Jango Fett's Mandalorian helmet, which is the obvious inspiration (ThelronCheek's answer shows this is true in an out-of-universe sense). So whatever Ultimate Star Wars is talking about there, it's probably not the eyeslits--maybe it's the recessed area underneath them on either side in the cheek area, which isn't present on Jango's helmet or on the later Stormtrooper helmet, or maybe it's talking about some aspect of the body armor.
    – Hypnosifl
    Apr 6, 2016 at 23:19

The accepted in-universe answer of the original designs being uncomfortable due to the Kaminoans unfamiliarity with human ergonomics is far less interesting in my opinion than the out-of-universe explanation that fuels it.

According to the StarWars.com Databank (as pulled from the Way Back Machine in July of 2011):

(emphasis mine)

The titular clone troopers of Episode II were designed to strongly hint at their eventual evolution into the Empire's stormtrooper ranks. As envisioned by creator George Lucas, the prequel trilogy would showcase the evolution of fighting forces, starting with battle droids that were clearly flawed. The clone troopers were the next step in the evolution, and Concept Artist Jay Shuster worked on the armor designs. "It follows the formula for a lot of the prequel trilogy," says Shuster. "Take something pre-conceived in the existing trilogy and de-generate it."

That Boba Fett's armor had some connection to the stormtrooper pedigree had long been a vague assertion in Star Wars lore. Design Director Doug Chiang's concept art focused on this connection, melding features of both armors into the finished clone trooper design. R. Kim Smith and Michael Patrick Murnane built a concept model of the clone trooper which implied that this first generation armor was thicker and bulkier than the lighter armor worm by the stormtroopers. This design concept was carried through by the Episode III Art Department, that further progressed the look of the clone troopers closer to the stormtroopers of the original trilogy, including variant designs that gave obvious nods to the sandtrooper, scout trooper and snowtrooper designs.

Far more than a silly in-universe excuse about a race of futuristic biology experts known galaxy-wide as expert cloners getting confused about how their clones move in their armor, this is about George Lucas wanting to devolve the original stormtrooper helmet into something resembling Boba Fett and then inching closer to the original stormtrooper design with each iteration.

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    It isn't, however, unreasonable that the people who produced the armour wouldn't get it right initially because they had a design that looked functional on the drawing board but actual combat experience demonstrated didn't work as well. After all, humans are experts at producing humans and you can point to lots of things that sound good in theory or look good in concept but fail in practicality. Look at how militaries still can't come up with the perfect helmet. Nov 14, 2019 at 1:49
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    @KeithMorrison - The Kaminoans had a decade to clone, raise, train, and outfit the soldiers, readying them for combat. While improvements over the next several years is not unreasonable, the idea that the Kaminoans were unfamiliar with human ergonomics and therefore produced bad armor the first time around is. Either way, it's a clunky explanation for what was clearly an attempt to make early troopers more Fett-like and then evolve them toward OT stormtroopers. Nov 14, 2019 at 21:54
  • Simply repeating what you said doesn't improve your argument. Nov 15, 2019 at 13:43
  • It does exactly what I intended it to do. ibb.co/bL1z9L0 Nov 15, 2019 at 14:51

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