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When Anakin Skywalker was badly burned and maimed during his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi, it was clear that quite a bit of medical technology would be needed in order to keep the young Jedi alive. While we’ve never stopped to wonder what the cost of the undertaking would have been, somebody has. You’d probably guess that becoming Darth Vader would be an expensive endeavor, but you probably wouldn’t have guessed it would cost over $18 million.
According to Shade Station, the total price tag for transforming from a crippled Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader comes in at $18.3 million. Surprisingly, the most expensive part of the setup is the suit itself, which comes in at $12 million all by itself. The situation seems to be that making a suit of this type airtight would be quite expensive. As we see throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, TIE fighter pilots have to wear pressurized suits while they are piloting the crafts in space, so the crafts are not pressurized themselves and do not have any sort of life support system. Since Darth Vader is able to pilot the crafts as well, without the use of any additional equipment, then his suit must have all of those capabilities already. This puts the suit on par with that of an existing NASA spacesuit.
The next highest chunk of cash covers Darth Vader’s prosthetic limbs. He lost both legs and an arm in his battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi. While the prosthetic limbs themselves come in at a relatively minor $180,000 total for all three, even though they would have to be top of the line devices in order to get the range of motion that Darth Vader shows throughout the films, maintenance and medical costs are estimated at $1.8 million for each one over their lifetime.
Finally, Darth Vader’s breathing apparatus comes in at $45,000 since it appears to contain an active heart and lung machine that literally keeps the dark lord of the Sith alive. His voice modulator rings up $1,000 in costs. His helmet is another high tech piece of machinery. Since it contains a heads up display that should give him targeting information and night vision, similar to a helmet that can be used by pilots of the F-35, it would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $600,000.
For what it’s worth, it appears to have been money well spent as Darth Vader did a fairly good job keeping the Galactic Empire in line from within the terrifying costume.