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When Luke removes his father's mask near the end of Return of the Jedi, he removes just the top part. He leaves the part that goes from Vader's neck to his chin. That part sticks a few inches out from his chin.

You can see the bottom part sticking out from 1:03 to 2:10 in this video snippet.

Now look for his chin piece at the very end of that video snippet; from 2:20 onward. It's missing in the 4-second cut where Luke realizes his father is truly dead and bows his head down in grief.

Where is his chin piece?

It's not visible in some earlier cuts of that scene that focus on Mark Hamill's face because Sebastian Shaw's chin is below the bottom edge of our view. (e.g. - The cuts from 1:47 to 1:50 and from 1:55 to 1:58.) It is visible in other earlier cuts where the camera is far enough back to show more of Sebastian Shaw. (e.g. - The cut from 2:07 to 2:13 shows his chin piece sticking out.) This is likely just a production error, but is there a story behind it?

Did Richard Marquand finish filming that scene after somebody removed a part of Sebastian Shaw's costume? (This video about the behind the scenes making of Darth Vader mentioned Marquand filmed that scene in just a few takes in one day.)

Was the oversight corrected in later releases?

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    This seems like little more than a minor production error. – Valorum May 15 '17 at 0:16
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    There's no such thing as production errors in Star Wars! Clearly, there must be some tiny droid that came along and stole a portion of Vader's suit while they were talking. I'm sure this droid has a name, an action figure (with detachable stolen chin-bit!) and a twelve page backstory on some obscure now-Legends Star Wars fan site. It's simply a matter of finding the source... – Steve-O May 15 '17 at 1:37
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    @Steve-O Give me a few minutes to write a Wookiepedia article about the little guy and then I'll post an answer citing it. – Z. Cochrane May 15 '17 at 1:58
  • @zabeus Hah! Good luck with your Wookiepedia article and answer! – RichS May 15 '17 at 2:58
  • No droids! The Force took it away ;-) – TimSparrow May 15 '17 at 7:44
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It was simply a Special Effects Failure (TvTropes Link). They happen.

If you are interested in understanding how directors and editor deal with small continuity errors like that, I'd recommend this Youtube video: Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter? (8 mins).

In short, they focus on the emotion of the scene (among other things) before the scar continuity*. In this case, I imagine that Lucas (or whoever cut the scene together) felt that this was the best take that Hamill did, and the lack of a chin-bit for a few seconds was not an egregious enough error to negate that.


*Scar continuity is the idea that things stay consistant between shots, like once an actor has received a scar in the film's timeline, he has it for the duration of the film. There is a whole article on this idea that I read once which explained it a lot better, but I can't find the link anymore.

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