You could wear a dress, a business suit or go completely naked at Halloween—as long as you’ve got the right helmet on, every science fiction fan at the party will know who you’re dressed as. Although Naked Vader isn’t a thing most people can pull off, the fact remains: The helmet says a lot about the hero, villain, robot or warrior. Science fiction comics, books and movies are full of iconic helmets. From Magneto’s magenta helm to Zod’s possible rip-off, there’s a lot to discuss when it comes to sci-fi headgear.
Helmets in the Star Wars Universe
Love it or hate it, the Star Wars franchise makes any list of helmets based mostly on the sheer number of heads being covered. Is there any character that doesn’t don a helmet at some point? There’s the rebel pilot helmet with the yellow eye shades and the training helmet with the optional vision blocker. Cool as those might be, it’s the villain helmets that score in the memory of fans. Stormtrooper and Darth Vader helmets are iconic and recognized by people who’ve never watched the movie. Equally iconic, but less universally recognized, is the green-toned Boba Fett helmet that screams bounty hunter to anyone who’s seen the movies.
Photo of Boba Fett helmet by hyku via Flickr
When you pit a villain against the powerful mind of Professor X, you’ve got to give him something to work with. X-Men creators made Magneto a more formidable opponent by giving him the ability to protect his mind from psionic influence with a helmet. There’s nothing all that cool about the style of the helmet, but it’s worth noting that Magneto always has a spare. It’s been suggested that he can make the helmet out of any available metal, which means Professor X never has much time for one-upmanship if the helmet is destroyed. Surprisingly, Magneto’s helmet has a link to the real world; individuals can find cool motorcycle helmets at Bike Bandits to protect their own minds not from telepathic attacks but from run ins with pavement, trees or other vehicles.
Photo by PatLoika via Flickr
Not-so-Cool Starship Troopers
Not every helmet in the science fiction world is uber cool. The realistic infantry helmets worn in Starship Troopers were less futuristic battle helms and more glorified skateboard gear. It’s no wonder those troops were getting their tails kicked by a bunch of giant insects.
Photo by Pop Culture Geek via Flickr
Confusing Helmet Origins
In Man of Steel, Zod wears an alien-bug helmet that brings to mind various images of comic books and science fiction media. The helmet looked like the love child of Alien’s Space Jockey helmet and Morpheus’s dream helm from Sandman. There’s also at least a little resemblance to Doctor Who‘s Ood. Luckily, the helmet is removed and viewers get to see Zod as Michael Shannon for a lot of the action, reducing the constant annoyance of wondering why Superman is doing battle with one of the Endless.
Other Cool, Crazy Helmets
You can’t forget Iron Man in a list of helmets, in part because Stark’s headgear comes with the polite voice of a virtual butler-assistant. Other science fiction characters with memorable helmets include Judge Dredd, Robo Cop, Cobra Commander and Snake Eyes. Taking the headgear on this list into account, the cool factor of a helmet appears to be directly related to how much of the character’s face it covers.
Photo by luke.baldacchino via Flickr