The stormtrooper driving the Imperial tank through the marketplace of Jedha wore a helmet that was specifically asked for by Star Wars creator George Lucas. And the director of Rogue One, Gareth Edwards, has confirmed that this stormtrooper helmet is “unique.”
The existence of a hand-picked George Lucas helmet in Rogue One was mentioned by Edwards back in November, prior to the release of the film. And now it looks like this tank driver stormtrooper helmet was what Edwards was talking about in the first place.
In a 360 video released on January 3, on the offical Star Wars Facebook page, Edwards talks specifically about how the tank worked in real life, and that this kind of stormtrooper is the only trooper with this kind of helmet. “George Lucas came to visit in preproduction and one of the things he pointed at was a stormtrooper helmet. So, in like the last minute, we decided to make that stormtrooper helmet unique…and give them these helmets that he liked.”
In the final film, the tank-driver stormtrooper is only glimpsed for a second, but the design is vaguely reminiscent of concept artist Ralph McQuarrie’s early designs for both Boba Fett and Darth Vader.
Exactly why this particular retro-ish helmet design tickled George Lucas specifically remains a mystery.