Darth Vader donned his iconic suit from his defeat on Mustafar to his death on the Death Star II, a little over 20 years. Was he wearing the exact same suit that whole time? Did he have any backup suits or suits he could change into for laundry day?

I'm looking for an answer in Disney canon, but Legends is useful supplementary information (an ideal answer would have both).

  • 22
    Not posting this as an answer because I can't back it up; but don't forget that Vader is Anakin, someone who loves to tinker with things. Even if it's the same suit, he'll probably have tweaked it and upgraded it constantly, effectively leading to the Ship of Theseus problem.
    – Flater
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 7:57
  • @Flater - that's essentially exactly what the emperor says in the panel I posted in my answer, and Thunderforge references the SoT
    – NKCampbell
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 15:54
  • 2
    The stormtroopers were not holding their noses, so I'd say no.
    – einpoklum
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 18:49
  • As far back as Episode V "The Empire Strikes Back" you can see that at least he takes his helmet off now and then; here's some stills from that movie. so it's not accurate to say he wears "the exact same suit that whole time".
    – Lee Mosher
    Commented Jun 2, 2019 at 16:04
  • 1
    Congrats on getting your second Great Question gold badge! Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 22:48

3 Answers 3


The Disney canon novel Thrawn: Alliances makes it clear Vader has more than one outfit in chapter 8:

Vader would need his armor cleaned in more time-consuming detail. Fortunately, he had another full set in his quarters that he could wear while the Chimera's techs restored this one.


In the canon Marvel series "Darth Vader" (pre-ANH) and collected in Vol 2: Imperial Machine), Vader engages a lost Jedi in battle and is severely 'damaged'. In the artwork, you can see that his armor is practically ruined.

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Palpatine says as much and comments that his [Palpatine's] droids will easily repair the armor and that Vader is free to tweak the suit as he [Vader] sees fit.

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One could argue that the use of the word "repair" rather than something like 'new', 'replacement' indicates that the core of the suit is essentially the same. Additionally- the statement "the armor is YOU" indicates a sense of permanence

  • 22
    I guess whether repaired armor is still the original armor gets into the realm of the Ship of Theseus, but if Vader doesn't have backups, repairs rather than replaces damaged components, and is told "the armor is YOU", then that suggests to me that it is essentially the same suit. Commented May 30, 2019 at 19:39
  • 1
    @Thunderforge - It will be worth deep investigation of the new canon virtual series "Vader Immortal" which apparently takes place in his castle on Mustafar - you may find a closet of suits hidden somewhere!
    – NKCampbell
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 19:40
  • 11
    Isn't the suit also a life support system? In which case changing the core of it would be a major medical procedure, but repairing the peripheral parts something a mech droid could do. So same core suit, different body kit?
    – user
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 8:25
  • Awesome. It seems like someone draw the comics just to answer this question here.
    – Taladris
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 0:43

VFX supervisor John Knoll gives an explanation that is not canon, but it seems applicable:

While not strictly official, Knoll even had some story reasoning in his own mind for the slightly different armor and outfit in each movie.

"I figure he's got more than one version of those outfits. The reason the armor looks a little grungier and dented up in A New Hope is you're not going to wear your nice armor into battle. You're gonna wear your beater armor into battle. Then, if you're going to go talk to the Emperor or something you put on the nice shiny one, show some respect," Knoll said with a smile.

  • "you're not going to wear your nice armor into battle". I really like this quote. It's the attitude of someone who does not fear loosing. If I was going into battle, I'd wear the best and newest armor I had. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 15:46
  • 2
    [...] you're not going to wear your nice armor into battle. The raison d'être of armour is to save your life. If you are going to a battle, your wear your best one. And it does not seem that the Empires is short of resources to provide a new one once the old one gets any kind of battle damage.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 19:07
  • @SJuan76 The real world existence of ceremonial armor vs combat armor disproves your theory.
    – krb
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 21:46

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