We all the know the moment when Anakin Skywalker first dons the black helmet and becomes Darth Vader happens at the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, but a new addition to the canon shows Anakin donning an early prototype of the mask long before he fell to the Dark Side.
In Star Wars Adeventures #13, a new Clone Wars-era story written by Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinetcan aimed at younger readers but still an official part of canon, Anakin and Padmé discover that beloved actress Risha Synata is actually a Separatist operative who plans on flooding a theater filled with Republic-loyal politicians with deadly gas. The plan — from Count Dooku, no less — calls for Risha and her leading man to wear gas masks, prompting Anakin to challenge her on stage.
As it turns out, Risha is a big fan of Jedi and Sith history, so the play being put on features Jedi-inspired costume design. Thus, Anakin has to put on the costume meant for the lightsaber-wielding villain and, well, it looks pretty familiar:
With the exception of the blue lightsaber, Anakin’s cape, rebreather mask, and helmet all bear a striking resemblance to the one he’ll eventually don as Darth Vader. However, the scene does raise some questions about the Vader mask. Is the design just based off of standard-issue gas masks? Or was it a special design used by Dooku’s forces? Whatever the case, it’s now canon that Anakin dressed up like Vader years before he actually became him. Oh, the irony …
Star Wars Adventures #13 is available now from IDW Comics.