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Most clone trooper armors went through two phases. However, the clone pilot armor was shown to have gone through three.

Phase 1:

Phase 1 clone pilot helmet

Phase 2:

Phase 2 clone pilot helmet

Phase 3: Phase 3 clone pilot helmet

Why is it that they go through three phases? An in-universe and out-of-universe answer would be appreciated.

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Both Helmet 2 and helmet 3 were introduced with the phase 2 armour.

The "Closed" style (#2) was used for ships (such as the V-wing) that lacked life support systems, hence, their face was completely covered to protect them from the elements and to provide oxygen.

The "Open" style (#3) was used for ships that DID have life support systems. The pilot could breathe freely inside the cockpit, thus not needing any more than a visor.

The Helmets used by X-wing pilots and Tie Pilots match this: The X-wing had life support systems, but the Tie did not.

X-wing pilot helmet

enter image description here

while there is no out of universe explanation, I can think of at least a couple reasons:

  1. Seeing the pilots face makes the entire scene more personal. Seeing the faces of pilots (even if they all look the same) before they are shot out of the sky is more relatable than just people in masks.
  2. The first clones we see are in Revenge of the Sith are in the open style helmet. This could be a gentle reminder to the audience that the clones are humans.
  3. We also see them talking with obi-wan in the opening scene. Maybe a reminder that clones and Jedi are friends?
  4. The only time we see helmet #2 is in the clone wars TV series. Maybe the visual directors wanted a different look for the clone pilots in the series (possibly to show the evolution of their armour?)

Source

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    Also I have no evidence or anything by which to substantiate this, (that is aside from common sense) the open-style vs. closed-style helmets may be related to survival in the vacuum of space after the destruction of your craft (and your miraculous survival). Recall Episode 3, during the battle of Coruscant, Anakin wants to postpone boarding General Grievous's ship to rescue one of his squad who's ARC fighter was destroyed, with the pilots intact body clearly visible. – user4493605 Sep 22 '16 at 14:23

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