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Does any one know the reason Stormtroopers always wear helmets everywhere they go? They even wear them in their ships.

I'd also like to know if they are worn when they go to sleep.

Stormtrooper Helmet

  • 49
    Maybe they wear the helmets so you don't know when they're asleep on the job. ;) – Andrew Thompson Aug 18 '16 at 12:38
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    If you accidentally step on a Sith Lord's cape, you don't want him to know what your face looks like. – PoloHoleSet Aug 18 '16 at 15:51
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    To protect them when they bang their heads on the scenery starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Unidentified_head-bumping_stormtrooper – Bob Tway Aug 18 '16 at 16:25
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    Jeremy French said it best: "...faceless goon..." It's not just a helmet: It's a mask. It hides their identity. It denies their victims the opportunity to see them as individuals. It denies them the opportunity to see one another as individuals. They're just appendages of the empire. Might as well be droids. – Solomon Slow Aug 18 '16 at 23:03
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    @Law29, my thought exactly. It's a relict from the clone wars when it would be unhelpful to awkward if they took their helmets off and all still looked the same. – Turion Aug 19 '16 at 7:43

10 Answers 10

91

Why, because it's part of the on-duty uniform.

The helmet isn't a hat and it doesn't just protect the head, it has many functions including communication and sensors.

From the Wikia

Its reinforced combat helmet featured an integrated comlink, audio pick-up, two artificial air-supply hoses, and a broadband communications antenna powered by a single power cell.

The helmet featured built-in filtration systems that extracted breathable atmosphere from polluted environments.

The helmet's visual processor assisted the wearer in seeing in darkness, glare, and smoke, though it limited the wearer's field of vision.

When firing a blaster, the helmet's visor polarized against the glare. A built-in heads-up display also provided targeting diagnostics, power levels and environmental readings at the corner of the wearer's eyesight, and one could access data on various military subjects and civilian organizations on the helmets display.

In addition, motion sensors alerted the wearer to any enemy the soldier might have missed.

Seeking to discourage nonessential chatter which was strictly off-limits while on-duty, stormtrooper helmets recorded everything that was said by the user, sending it to monitors to review after downloading the data off of the armor's memory.

As for when the Trooper is asleep...there is no reason for them to do so as they would be off-duty.

  • 32
    For an armoured helmet it's not very good. Seeing as they get beaten by teddy bears wielding rocks 🤔 – user46509 Aug 18 '16 at 12:12
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    @ATB it's almost impossible for armour (unless it's very thick) to protect against blunt force trauma; what can it do but transfer the force through. Armour protects against sharp impacts. – user20310 Aug 18 '16 at 12:23
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    Also, don't forget that these are "teddy bears" who can easily heft rocks the size of their torsos. That suggests that they may be striking with more force than we're initially thinking because of their size. – FuzzyBoots Aug 18 '16 at 14:10
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    I think the only plausible explanation is Ewoks are the most capable warriors in the galaxy. They handily defeat not only the Empire's most elite troops (who previously have defeated the heroes), they themselves have also defeated the heroes and were it not for trickery of the Force would have eaten them. People just don't want to believe it since they look so cuddly! Must be another defense mechanism to get their victims to lower their guards. – TVann Aug 18 '16 at 14:29
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    "A built-in heads-up display also provided targeting diagnostics" that don't work. – user31563 Aug 19 '16 at 1:50
60

Out of universe:

It is an example of the faceless goon trope (warning: TV Tropes link)

The reasons for this trope are largely matters of convenience. Most obviously, the faceless goon does not display emotion; hence, he does not display humanity. It's much easier to accept characters as evil (and by extension, feel no tug of sympathy as wave after wave of them get wiped out by the heroes) if you are able to forget that there's actually a human being behind each mask. Not showing any pesky emotions to undercut their menace also adds quite a bit to the creepiness factor.

In universe: Assuming that star wars human psychology is similar to earth human psychology.

Such helmets also provide for deindividuation, which make the storm troopers feel less personal identity and as such less responsible for their actions. It also makes individual storm troopers unrecognizable to civilians and adversities.

In canon, we can see this in the story of FN-2187 (Finn). The deindividuation fails for him. He does feel responsible for his actions. Among the first things he does to assert his individualism is to remove his helmet.

This is in addition to the protection and enhancement that is discussed in the other answers.

  • 4
    Well, Finn taking off his helmet is also a tiny bit influenced by the necessity of the viewer connecting with the character. Even before he takes of the helmet, he is conveniently "marked" with blood smears so we can tell him apart from the others. ;-) – DevSolar Aug 19 '16 at 12:34
  • In addition to unrecognizability, you are also unable to see their face or emotions, perhaps leading one to think they are an emotionless killing machine or the like. – user151841 Aug 19 '16 at 15:29
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    Inability for their enemies to see them as human also lets their enemies kill them without remorse. Since the rebels just see a row of helmets, they have no emotional qualms about killing them all, while the stormtroopers are forced to look into the unmasked rebels' eyes as they shoot them. Psychologically, this is a design flaw in the 'deindividuation' strategy, and it is just one more reason that, inherently, star wars is just, kinda dumb. – GreySage Aug 19 '16 at 22:00
11

Also, because I just answered this in another, almost similar question:

The point is, like with Naval Officers wearing an uniform which looks like this and includes the full uniform, the hat, the rank bar and the code cylinders used to enter restricted space / stuff:

Image of Naval Officer

The Stormtroopers are wearing their own uniform which includes a helmet and complete set of armour and are not permitted to remove any of this. I admit, at some points, you see Officers (like at the meeting in EPIV) not wearing their hat, but I assume that's not common when on duty.

Also, to underline my "it is protocol to wear the entire uniform on duty" statement, here is a quote from EPVII:

CAPTAIN PHASMA: FN-2187. Submit your blaster for inspection.

FN-2187: Yes, Captain.

CAPTAIN PHASMA: And who gave you permission to remove that helmet?

FN-2187: I'm sorry, Captain.

CAPTAIN PHASMA: Report to my division at once.

So taking off the helmet is not allowed, because of protocol.

  • 1
    Totally dissaggree to this. As Firefigthers we also had for our uniforms (out of operation of course) a hat like that one on your picture, and we were taught that the hat has to be took of when ever we are inside for meetings or that alike. (What is conform with your claim seeing officers sometimes without a hat) So the helmet beeing part of hte uniform isn't a sufficient reason. – Zaibis Aug 19 '16 at 10:08
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    First of all, I assume being a firefighter, does not have a glimpse of comparison with being a O, C or HC rated officer in the Imperial Navy in the Star Wars universe. However, I agree with you that it makes sense that hats are not worn during meetings like in EP IV, but on any other occasion, they're part of the uniform whilst on duty. At least until you are taking EP VII into consideration where officers are commonly seen without the hat. Stormtroopers are considered enlisted of the GE, so they have to comply to regulations whilst on duty, a.k.a. wear full inform if ordered to do so. – Devaron Aug 19 '16 at 12:42
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    @Devaron most military uniforms and civilian uniforms in (for lack of a better word) military-like organizations (police, fire fighters, etc.) have the rule of removing your cover (hat) when indoors. For example, see the US Navy's uniform regulations on headgear see section 1101.4. So yes, I think being a firefighter does probably have a glimpse of comparison to being in the Imperial Navy in Star Wars, especially about when you are supposed to wear your hat. – Captain Man Aug 19 '16 at 20:56
8

In addition to all of the above, Stormtroopers are generally armed even when indoors.

During my time in the US Air Force, all personnel removed their hats on entering a building - EXCEPT if they were armed.

Armed personnel kept their hats on at all times.

You are carrying a loaded weapon. You shouldn't be dicking around with your hat. You should be concentrating on whatever task it is that requires you to be armed. Removing your hat and keeping track of it distracts you from that task, and from the additional task of keeping that loaded weapon safe.

The "hat on armed personnel" thing also makes it easy to see who is armed in a given (indoor) situation. This is a good thing to know, and can be seen from across a crowded room, even when the weapon itself (often a pistol in a holster) is not visible.

Add to that the communications equipment inside the Stormtrooper helmet, and you can see that it makes sense for on duty Stormtroopers to always wear their helmets.

4

Because as @Paulie_D states above, they have different built-in modifications. Sensors, communication array and they ofcourse do offer a little protection against physical harm. Even though they were not perfect in every aspect, they seem to help in a variety of situations, following this conversation from Episode VII:

UNDER THE GRATING

Finn pulls the grating over them as Rey works on the controls.

REY: You think this'll work on the Stormtroopers?

FINN: Yeah. Their masks filter out smoke, not toxins.

3

Protection The helmet is THE armor piece. If you have to fight and you have to chose only one thing to protect, it is the head. Ancient Greeks fought naked with only a helmet.

Features As others have said, there are a lot of features in the helmet for communication, vision, air filtering, limited protection against space vacuum...

Fear It is also a psychological weapon. It's a way to dehumanize the stormtroopers. That way they all look the same. It hides the emotion of the stormtrooper. The expression of the helmet is scary, like the one of the samurai. A battalion of stormtroopers shows a scary face even if the soldier under the helmet is scared to death.

  • 6
    "Ancient greek fought naked with only a helmet." Please don't make the mistake of thinking that 300 is a historical documentary! :) Ancient Greeks certainly did wear armour, because if you want to stick someone with the pointy end then you aim for the nearest most stationary target, and that means the torso. Troy is a bit more realistic in that respect. – Graham Aug 18 '16 at 15:03
  • Troy with Brad Pitt is totally inaccurate. Yes through Antiquity (wish is quite a long period) Greeks used armor but the naked warrior with a helmet, a shield and a spear did exist as it is mentioned in ancient text and represented on ceramics. And they were really naked, no leather underwears and cape for slow mo – Rigop Aug 18 '16 at 15:57
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    Sure, Troy is very inaccurate, but at least they paid lip service to reality. :) As for the naked warrior, there was a tradition of nudity for athletic events. Lots of things are pictured on ceramics which didn't actually exist - most notably, male figures are realistically muscled, but with a level of "rippedness" which is actually not physically possible. Their ceramics are bit more realistic than D&D artwork, but not necessarily by very much! Basically it's fantasy art, not documentary evidence. – Graham Aug 18 '16 at 16:14
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    No one in their right mind would fight naked even back then. Back then it was even common knowledge that even a scrape could mean a death sentence: more people died from disease in war than from actual combat. – whatsisname Aug 19 '16 at 17:02
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To hide their individualism. To be effective as a mass, one must forego themselves as unique.

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    Do you have any references to this? Or any sort of reason to explain why you think this? – CBredlow Aug 18 '16 at 19:43
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Building on some of the other answers here, its a very functional helmet, even for a lot of indoor situations:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZVDf4zVsyvg/VECv6nkpZWI/AAAAAAAAA2g/zHzhYEb1oqg/s1600/RiddellTKBP.jpg

0

SW is a fantasy making up its own rules. It doesn't have to follow Earth's naval traditions.

I fast forwarded Star Wars and didn't see any senior officer, unless you count Vader, in headdress. There's a shot a couple of seconds long just before Leia is escorted to Grand Moff Tarkin that shows what is apparently a junior office on the bridge wearing a cap. He addresses a senior officer and walks off. All junior officers and enlisted, such as the guys who carry the detection gear to the captured Falcon who I assume are enlisted since it looks like they're actually working, wear caps.

In ESB and ROTJ, also on fast forward, everyone in Imperial Service is wearing headdress all the time, senior officers and junior officers and enlisted, notably including the Emperor. Again this is apart from Vader, cheeky little beggar that he is, who manages to be seen in both films without his helmet on.

Maybe Tarkin had a personal dislike for hats that didn't keep his ears warm and so he allowed the same privilege to his senior staff. Tarkin enjoyed his comfort and would wear his slippers while on duty if he thought no one could see. In the next two films Tarkins is dead and we're looking at different imperial units.

If we do want to compare SW to the real world:

  1. Commanding Officers have some discretion over what is proper uniform. For example, commanders get to choose when hot and cold weather uniforms are worn, when and what headdress is appropriate, whether mess dress is to be worn to an event.
  2. Some commanders have been known not to enforce regs. The CO's superiors will deal with this as needed.
  3. Stormtroopers are more marine than sailor.
    • Despite being a Naval Service, Royal Marines, unlike sailors, wear their berets (or caps or helmets) all the time, inside a ship or not.
    • Indoors or outdoors US marines under arms always wear covers.
-1

The Stormtroopers actually prefer to wear them. They've got no dental plan (the Empire isn't a very good employer). Many of them have had teeth knocked out in training, or on the job. (Lots of them have rather flat noses, too, for the same reason.) For their remaining teeth, well, let's just say that Empire Drill Sergeants spend more time making sure their recruits can shoot than that they can floss properly. On the whole they find it easier to pick up women with the helmet on, than off.

protected by Community Aug 18 '16 at 19:45

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