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Darth Vader: ROTJ
SL vader rotj full.jpg
Model SL-4231, Photo by Carol Semenchuk


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Description: Darth Vader: ROTJ
Prefix: SL
Detachment: Sith Lord Detachment
Context: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

See also: ROTS Vader, ANH Vader, ESB Vader


The 501st approval requirements are listed in black.

The Sith Lord Detachment defines additional, optional levels of costuming excellence. In the page below, items listed under "For level two certification" are recommended features that will greatly improve the quality of the costume. These items are not required for 501st membership, but are highly recommended. Items listed under "For level three certification" are some of the highest level accuracy features for those who strive to be screen accurate. These items are also not required for 501st membership.

Also note that these two additional "certification levels" DO NOT correspond to the Advanced Standards program of the Sith Lord Detachment, and you are encouraged to visit the Sith Lord Detachment Forum for more information.


For 501st membership, only the requirements in black need to be met.


  • Please note:
  • Visit the Frequently asked questions page for information on the Rubies Supreme Vader costume.
  • All uses of the term silver in this document imply a machined aluminum look.
  • Weathered or used aspects referred to in text, may not necessarily be depicted in photos.
  • Click pictures to enlarge and view details; the text only highlights the key aspects of each component.

This Visual Guide has been reviewed by the detachment staff and the LMO team and is certified for use as a minimum approval guideline for GMLs. GMLs are free to approve this costume type.
Required Costume Components

The following costume components must be present and appear as described below for approval .

SL vader rotj dome.jpg Dome
For 501st approval:
  • The dome is gloss black.
  • There is neither an indentation nor a sharp point in the front center of the dome brow between the eyes of the mask.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • Recommended:
  • The black paint used on the dome should match that used on the face mask and the chest armor.
  • The brow of the dome should sit above the brows of the mask, but still contouring to them and allowing them to be revealed. The distance between the brows should not exceed one half of an inch.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • For Higher Accuracy:
  • When viewed from the side, the bottom of the dome should slope downward to the back in order to hide the back edge of the face mask neck.
  • The mohawk should be rounded off and not as prominent as the mohawk on the ANH or ESB dome.
SL vader rotj face.jpg Face Mask
For 501st approval:
  • The face mask is painted in an alternating pattern of gloss black and gloss gunmetal/dark grey.
  • The face mask is asymmetrical.
  • The lenses are slightly bubbled and tinted amber/dark grey (eyes should not be seen through lenses).
  • The lower mouth vent is triangular with rounded corners, and is roughly the size of the upper mouth vent.
  • Large, black, diamond-shaped mesh is inset in both vents; additional black screen backing may be used to conceal the wearer’s face further.
  • The tusks are metal, silver, and have pointed tips.
  • The neck of the face mask rests on the chest armor.
  • No skin is visible from any angle (under or through the mask).
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The black and grey paints used on the face mask should match that used on the dome and the chest armor.
  • All features of the face mask (corners, edges, etc.) should have a sharp, crisp, and non-rounded look to them.
  • No neck brace should be worn with the face mask.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The eye sockets (areas bordering the lenses) should be painted black with the exception of the bridge of the nose.
  • On the wearer's right, the grey section of paint directly above the cheek should come to a sharp point on the side of the nose.
  • The small lower section of each cheek is painted black. To contrast the cheek on the wearer's left, and to match the cheek on the wearer's right.
  • The wearer's right side of the mask is higher than the left side (asymmetrical).
  • The neck of the face mask should sit on the top end of the cape hook and just above the cape chain (still allowing the chain to show fully).
SL vader rotj cape.jpg Cape
For 501st approval:
  • The cape is made of black wool (or wool equivalent), three-quarters circle, floor length, and lined with black satin.
  • The cape collar is black leather (or leather-like material), and is one and one half inches in width.
  • The cape is held closed with a plastic rectangular/oblong linked dark grey chain, which is attached to the underside of the collar.
  • The cape collar is worn such that the cape chain is showing. The cape chain is positioned so that there is an equal length of chain on either side of the cape hook.
  • There is no visible cape chain attachment device showing on the collar when in full costume.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The cape should be made of wool and the cape collar should be made of leather.
  • The cape collar should partially overlap onto the neck of the face mask.
  • The cape collar should not be visible in full costume when viewed from behind.
  • The cape chain should be fastened in the vertical middle to the underside of the collar.
  • The cape chain should not be fastened at the very end of the collar.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The outside of the cape should be constructed in either four or six panels (sections of wool).
  • An odd number of cape chain links should show (more specifically five or seven) and it should be hooked onto the cape hook on the chest armor via through the center of the center link.
  • The cape chain should contour to the curve of the neck of the face mask.
SL vader rotj chest.jpg Chest Armor
For 501st approval:
  • The chest armor is painted in an alternating pattern of gloss black and gloss gunmetal/dark grey.
  • The centermost raised section is grey, and all other raised sections are black.
  • The shoulder bells are entirely black, and are each attached to the chest armor by two straps.
  • There is a visible thin dull bronze cape hook on the vertical center line of the chest armor and it is located approximately one inch down from the top of the chest armor.
  • Allowed (but not recommended): The shoulder bells may be painted gunmetal/dark grey with black raised sections.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The black and grey paints used on the chest armor should match that used on the dome and the face mask.
  • The armor should be fitted with padding if necessary to ensure 1) the bottom of the armor does not rise up substantially off the chest, 2) the back of the chest armor does not stick out substantially through the cape, 3) the shoulder bells rest on and move with the arms, and 4) that the side of the chest armor and the top of the shoulder bells are almost flush.
For level three certification (if applicable):
SL vader rotj surcoat.jpg Inner Robe
For 501st approval:
  • The inner robe is made of the same material as the outside of the cape.
  • It is ankle length, and worn over the codpiece, but under the chest armor and belt, and the front sides are one to two inches away from the chestbox.
  • The side seams are open from the belt down.
  • There are three pleats/darts on each side of the inner robe that run perpendicular to the belt. These pleats/darts can run 1) from the belt to mid-chestbox level, which causes the material above to have three folds and continue up to or under the chest armor, or 2) from the belt to under the chest armor (shown in picture).
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The pleats/darts should start approximately one inch from the opening edge of the inner robe, and be spaced one inch apart from each other.
  • The arm opening should be large enough for the body suit to be seen under the arm.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The inner robe should be secured firmly by the belt so that the area between the belt and chest armor stays close to the wearer (pulled taut) and does not droop.
  • The opening of the inner robe should gradually get larger as it approaches the chest armor (the edges should not be completely vertical from the belt to under the chest armor.
SL vader rotj chestbox.jpg Chestbox
For 501st approval:
  • The chestbox is square, satin black, and worn right below the chest armor.
  • The black leather (or leather-like material) one inch wide straps are worn over the bodysuit, but under the chest armor and inner robe, and attach to the top and sides of the chestbox as shown.
  • The face of the chestbox consists of:
  • Two metal silver rods on each side that are machined as shown, and each are bracketed at the top and bottom.
    • The brackets at the top are black and each have an upside down “U” shaped cutout on the lower inner half of the bracket.
    • The brackets at the bottom are bronze in appearance and bear a finned design.
  • Three vertically stacked metal silver coin slots on the wearer's right. These coin slots should blink red.
  • A blue colored panel (upper) and a red colored panel (lower) are on the wearer’s left and each are mounted in a raised black area slightly larger than the panels themselves. These panels are unlit.
  • Along the bottom are four rocker switches which are mounted in a raised black section at their base and are, from wearer's right to left, three grey and one red.
  • Small metal silver switches are between each rocker, except the center rockers, and between the colored panels (three total).
  • Exotic (not aurebesh) text appears below each of the coin slots.
  • Allowed (but not recommended): The blue and red colored panels may be lit.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • In terms of width, the chestbox should extend just past the center-most black sections of the chest armor.
  • The straps should be made of leather.
  • The coin slots should not blink too rapidly (strobe) nor stay lit for more than a couple of seconds.
  • The surface surrounding the lit portion of the coinslots should be painted black.
  • Only the two metal silver switches between the rockers should resemble each another. All should have more of a chrome appearance as opposed to a machined aluminum appearance.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The chestbox should be slightly weathered and the straps should look slightly aged.
  • The black brackets should mirror image one another.
  • The outer edge of the wearer's right bracket and the inner edge of the wearer's left bracket should slightly protrude towards the top of the chestbox---the bracket on the wearer's left is identical to the bracket on the wearer's right (not shown in picture, as the wearer's left bracket is reversed).
  • The center of each coin slot should have square corners, and contains a semi-translucent red material.
SL vader anh suit.jpg Bodysuit
For 501st approval:
  • The body suit is made of black leather (or leather-like material), fitted to the wearer, and quilted in lines spaced one inch apart down the torso, arms, and legs.
  • A one, two, or three piece suit is acceptable.
  • An open mesh back is also acceptable for comfort and heat dispersal.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The body suit should be made of leather.
  • It should have a wrinkled/worn appearance.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The body suit should be made of three pieces: A top with only the sleeves quilted, a vest, and pants.
SL vader rotj gloves.jpg Gloves
For 501st approval:
  • The gloves are black leather (or leather-like material) and mid-forearm in length.
  • The upper surface is quilted in lines spaced one inch apart which run parallel to the arm and start just behind the knuckles.
  • The palm side has no quilted lines.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The gloves should be made of leather (more specifically, it should match the leather of the body suit).
  • The gloves should slightly flare out at the end opening on the outside (little finger side), but not on the inside (thumb side).
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The stitching on the gloves with the exception of the quilted lines should be external.
  • Excluding the thumb, there should be four pieces of material sewn together to make up each finger.
SL vader rotj belt.jpg Belt
For 501st approval:
  • The belt is made of black leather (or leather-like material) and is slightly smaller than two to two inches in width.
  • The lightsaber hook is silver, metal, and held to the backside of the belt on the wearer's left hip by two silver rivets (which are located towards the bottom of the belt).
  • The buckle is metal, and roughly the same height as the belt boxes.
  • The base layer of the buckle is black and rectangular.
  • The second layer is silver and in the shape of a "D."
  • There are five thin progressively smaller squared edge cutouts (the smallest is still a rectangular cutout and is neither a circle nor a square) in a triangular formation on the wearer's right.
  • The top layer of the buckle consists of a silver circle located on the center of the arc of the "D."
  • Allowed (but not recommended): The cutouts on the second layer of the buckle may have rounded edges.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The belt should be made of leather.
  • The belt should have incised lines one eighth of an inch from the top and bottom.
  • The base layer of the buckle should not be gloss black.
  • To the wearer’s left of the buckle, there should be a metallic stud/rivet on the horizontal centerline of the belt, no more than one inch away from the buckle.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The buckle should be slightly weathered around the edges.
SL vader esb rotj belt box.jpg Belt Boxes
For 501st approval:
  • The belt boxes are black and centered vertically on the belt one and one-half to two inches from the buckle, and mirror image one another.
  • Wearer's right box is shown.
  • The back side of each box is removable and meets flush with the rest of the box.
  • From the center outwards each box has:
  • two opaque green rectangular light panels (bordered by a thin raised black section) above a half strip of braid-reinforced transparent hose inset in a rectangular cutout,
  • a cylindrical opaque red light,
  • and six silver posts with smooth sides (not shown in picture) in two vertical columns of three.
  • All lights are constantly lit.
  • Allowed (but not recommended): The red light may be a small domed opaque light.
  • Allowed (but not recommended): The red light may also be set in a noticeable chrome ring.
  • Allowed (but not recommended): The six silver posts may have grooved sides.
For level two certification (if applicable):
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The belt boxes should be metal.
  • The belt boxes should be slightly weathered.
  • A chrome ring (the bezel) should actually be present at the base of the red light, but is barely noticeable when the light is on.
SL vader rotj saber.jpg Lightsaber
For 501st approval:
  • The lightsaber should be a Master Replicas or custom built based on the Graflex 3-Cell flash handle to match the hilt used in ROTJ.
  • The metal has a machined aluminum appearance.
  • The grips extend all the way to the middle section.
  • A lever is not present on the box on the middle section.
  • There are no connecting wires towards the top of the lightsaber.
  • There are circular cutouts on the upper half of the lightsaber; some have a black object screwed into them bearing a hex shaped cutout in their center.
  • There is a D-ring at the top and the bottom of the lightsaber.
  • The lightsaber should only be required as long as it's in compliance with the applicant’s local laws.
  • Optional: Due to the availability of the ROTJ lightsaber, an ESB lightsaber may be used as a substitute (see the ESB CRL for those lightsaber requirements).
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The lightsaber should be capable of being belt worn with the emitter facing upwards (detachable blade or no blade).
  • The lightsaber should be the ROTJ version.
  • The lightsaber should be a 1:1 scale of the lightsaber used in the film.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • The lightsaber should be slightly weathered.
SL vader rotj cod.jpg Codpiece
For 501st approval:
  • The codpiece is a padded-construction and faced in black leather (or leather-like material).
  • It is worn over the bodysuit, directly below the belt, and under the inner robe.
  • It covers the front of the groin area and extends to the hips.
  • In its center, there is a slight rectangular inset with rounded corners that is edged with rolled piping.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The codpiece should be made of leather, have a wrinkled/worn appearance, and not be thicker than one inch.
  • The area of the codpiece under the belt boxes should be no taller than one-third of the area under the belt buckle.
  • A piece of leather with a smoother look (when compared to that of rest of the codpiece) should seemingly emerge from the backside at mid-height and gradually become more noticeable as it overlaps the bottom front of the codpiece.
For level three certification (if applicable):
SL vader rotj shins.jpg Shin Guards
For 501st approval:
  • The shin guards are gloss black.
  • Each shin guard covers the leg from the ankle to the knee, and at least one half the leg when viewed from the side.
  • The knee is shaped like a cut diamond.
  • Below the knee are six small square protrusions in a horizontal line (three on each side).
  • On both sides of the raised area along the center, a long "U" shaped cutout starts at mid-armor height, and gradually increases in depth.
  • The shin guards are attached by two straps that go around the boot.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • Both shin guards should slightly contour to each leg (right and left specific shin guards).
  • The right shin guard is taller than the left.
For level three certification (if applicable):
  • On both shin guards, the “U” shaped cutout on the wearer's left is longer.
SL vader anh boots.jpeg Boots
For 501st approval:
  • The boots are made of black leather (or leather-like material) with a medium gloss shine and are lace-less.
  • They come to just below knee height, have a rounded toe, and a smooth textured appearance.
  • There is no noticeable zipper in full costume.
  • Note: The strap/buckle pictured at the top is not required; this area is covered in full costume and may or may not be there based on the style of boot.
For level two certification (if applicable):
  • The boots should be made of leather.
  • The sole should not exceed one and one-half inches in the heel or three-quarter of an inch in the front.
  • Internal lifts (if used) should not be noticeable.
For level three certification (if applicable):
Personal tools
The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.