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In Star Wars: A New Hope (ANH), what is the purpose of the blast shield helmet that Luke uses? He uses it as part of his light saber and force training, but is that really it's purpose?

I can understand the specific use of such a helmet for Jedi younglings in training when there was a Jedi order, but during ANH there was none. It seems as though it was just lying around on the Millennium Falcon.

Luke Skywalker wearing a blast shield helmet

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    Luke's dialogue suggests the eye-covering can be raised or lowered at will. – user1027 Mar 14 '12 at 20:38
  • In light of the canon confirmation of both its purpose and owner in my answer I was wondering whether you might consider a change of acceptance. – Valorum May 14 '17 at 11:20
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I always thought it was a welding helmet, the "glass" must allow some light to pass on high energy levels.

Meanwhile, the only reference I found is Blast shield on Wookieepedia :

A blast shield was a sheet of dura-armor shaped to preference and fitted with grips for grasping. It was capable of deflecting fire, blaster energy, and more. The shield, however, was rather heavy and unwieldy.

Appearances

  • Han Solo at Stars' End (First appearance)
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Luke's helmet on the Millennium Falcon)

So it may be custom made, specially designed for Jedi training. Then it would be Obi Wan who brought it aboard the Millennium Falcon.

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    I think the welding shield reference is most likely. The helmet bears markings that are clearly not the insignia of the republic or jedi so it most likely had uses before that. Anyone who's used a welding shield knows you can see nothing except the sun and welding ark through one. – Philip Couling Mar 14 '12 at 13:11
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    Looks to me like they took the first helmet they found with a faceplate, and painted over it to block the light. – Izkata Mar 14 '12 at 14:10
  • A welding helmet has the added bonus that it might help keep you safe while you are blindly swinging a rod of plasma in front of your face. – Joshua Shane Liberman Mar 15 '12 at 16:27
  • @couling - The markings are also seen on the helmet of a rebel pilot whose screen-time got edited out. – Valorum Dec 9 '14 at 15:30
  • I thought it might be a welding helmet but I don't think so any more. We've actually seen two people wear safety goggles while working on the Millenium Falcon. Leia and Chewie (who was actually welding). None of those were blast helmets. – Michael J Swart Jan 20 '15 at 19:52
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Actually, a friend of mine that is a pilot happens to use a similar helmet for Instrument flight rules training, its purpose in that case is to prevent the pilot from reacting instinctively to the view of the outside, which is far closer to the use in star wars. However, it more closely resembles a welding helmet, though if he can't see through it, then it does not fit the purpose.

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    This is the least fun part of IFR training, but the most useful. – SingularityCo Mar 16 '12 at 13:47
  • It's possible there is a display inside with an outer visual sensor that's adjusted for extremely bright light, so it would act like a welder's shield. – Keith Morrison Mar 10 at 20:32
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It forces Luke to use Force sense the attack and where it is coming from instead of using his eyes to see the sphere and try to react as the laser shoots out.

There are other scenarios where the blast shield is useful

  • Just proir to ejecting to protect the face from shapnel and explosive forces.
  • When skimming the corona of a star(slingshot maneuver used in various battles in the EU)
  • Taking a nap while in the cockpit.

I am pretty sure the blast shield is a common accessory on fighter helmets if it is not standard.

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UPDATE:

The new (canon) novelisation of Star Wars: A New Hope indicates clearly the the blast-helmet belongs to the ship and was clearly not intended as a Jedi training device.

The old man rose to his feet, smoothing his brown robes as he searched the hold for something. Ah—a helmet.

“I suggest you try it again, Luke,” he said, placing the large white helmet on the kid’s head. Its blast shield was down, effectively blinding him.


The "blast shield" appears to be precisely that, a shield that can be folded down to protect your eyesight from the visual effects of bright lights such as plasma explosions or flying toward a sun while still providing a small amount of normal visibility.

The Radio Play describes it thusly:

Kenobi : Here, we'll start with you wearing this flight helmet. Now, lower its blast shield into place.

Luke : With its blast shield down like this, I can hardly see


As you can see from the images below, the markings on the helmet (and indeed the prop itself) match a pilot's helmet that was edited out of a later scene and used by a female x-wing pilot. In place of the smoked plasteen blast shield, she has a yellow anti-glare eye shield. This could be evidently be removed by sliding it up into the body of the helmet.

Rebel pilot wearing matching helmet

Since the helmet is of a modern design it seems more likely that the helmet belongs to Solo rather than Obi-Wan. That said, given that it was (according to the Junior Novelisation) being stored at the "Engineering station" and given the extensive weathering on it, it certainly seems possible that Solo and Chewie were also using it for welding rather than as a pilot helmet.


The authors of the Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare apparently considered including an extensive description of the use (and misuse) of the helmet blast shield in their book:

A day before the third hop, they collected our helmets and brought them back with blast shields you could flip down over your face. I’d like to meet the glit-biter that put these things together — the shield was huge, and when I flipped it down the hinge practically pushed the bridge of my nose back into my skull. They told us to keep the blast shield up until it was time to fire the charges, snap it down, then pop it back up when the flash had dissipated. They said next hop they’d wire a HUD in there, but for now it was just plastoid.

The fold-down 'helmet blast shield' is also mentioned in the EU book X-Wing: Rogue Squadron

Suddenly the starfield went black and the simulator pod hissed as it cracked open. The canopy lifted up and the sound of laughter filled the cockpit. Corran almost flicked the blast shield down on his helmet to prevent his three friends from seeing his embarrassed blush. Nope, might as well take my punishment. He stood and doffed his helmet, then shook his head. “At least it’s over.”

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  • is there more reference for the edited out pilot shown? Everything about that image looks fan made imo – NKCampbell Mar 10 at 18:37
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    @NKCampbell - That's Poppy Hands. Her character was named Sila Kott. She ended up on the cutting-room floor for ANH, presumably because her reading of the lines was awful; youtube.com/watch?v=PTBe2gSDqm4. They ended up recycling some of the footage into RoTJ with a dubbed voice. – Valorum Mar 10 at 18:44

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