Dark Helmet is one of the main villains of Spaceballs. He tries to act as a spoof of Darth Vader, but deviates strongly for comedic purposes (eg, Helmet looks shorter and acts nerdier than Vader). In the movie, he was played by Rick Moranis, who did not return to the role in the animated series.
In the movieEdit
Dark Helmet tries to assist President Skroob in gathering more air for Planet Spaceball. He is first seen boarding Spaceball I, then using the Schwartz on a henchman's crotch for going "over [his] helmet" by contacting the President before he did.
Dark Helmet sees a runaway Princess Vespa of Planet Druidia in range and, realizing she'd be the perfect pawn in acquiring more air for Planet Spaceball, proceeds to kidnap her. Her father, King Roland, proceeds to make an offer with Lone Starr and Barf to rescue her for 1,000,000 spacebucks.
Once Lone Starr gets in position, they line the Eagle 5 with Vespa's cruiser, and in the process decide to jam Spaceball I with a giant jar of raspberry jam. As the spread leaks all over the radar screen, Dark Helmet proclaims that his old enemy, Lone Starr, must be trying to foil their scheme. Spaceball I then pursues the Eagle 5, before it goes into Hyperactive (parody of Star Wars' Hyperspace). Dark Helmet orders Spaceball I to go into "Ludicrous Speed" to catch up. This only results in the ship passing over the Eagle 5, and Dark Helmet nearly getting a concussion as they abruptly come to a stop.
At the suggestion of Colonel Sandurz, Dark Helmet uses an "instant cassette" of Spaceballs to track the heroes to the Moon of Vega. An attempt by the henchmen to "comb the desert" for them proves fruitless until they ditch the giant combs, and Helmet uses the Schwartz to track Vespa down to Yogurt's lair. He lures Vespa and her robot Dot Matrix into his grasp by disguising as her father.
Dark Helmet demands King Roland that he give the code to Planet Druidia's air shield, or else he will have Vespa undergo a nose job that would undo the one she received for her 16th birthday. Roland gives in, and divulges the code: 1-2-3-4-5. Vespa gets locked in a dungeon with Dot instead of undergoing the surgery. Lone Starr and Barf travel to Planet Spaceball and rescue her.
After Spaceball I opens the air shield, it transforms into Mega Maid and begins sucking the air up into a giant vacuum cleaner. However, Lone Starr foils the plan as he uses the Schwartz to switch Mega Maid's vacuum from "suck" to "blow", blowing all the air back onto the planet. He proceeds to infiltrate Spaceball I in search of a way to destroy the ship.
Once Lone Starr enters the room containing Spaceball I's self-destruct button, Dark Helmet duels him to keep him from pressing it. During the fight, Helmet tricks Lone Starr into giving him his Schwartz-ring. However, Yogurt tells Lone Starr that the Schwartz is actually in him, so when Helmet aims the Schwartz of his ring at Lone Starr's "two best friends", Lone Starr deflects it with a mirror, pushing Helmet into hitting the self destruct button with his head.
Dark Helmet meets his ultimate end after he, Sandurz, and Skroob fail to reach escape pods before Spaceball I explodes, landing them on the Planet of the apes.
In the animated seriesEdit
Dark Helmet was once Panakin Crybaby but became Dark Helmet because he needed the president to make a helmet for him to cover up a bump on his head.
- Dark Helmet lowers his voice when closing his helmet, and speaks at a normal tone after opening it. Rick Moranis decided himself to do this.
- Rick Moranis also improvised all the dialogue in the scene where Dark Helmet plays with dolls of himself and the heroes. Some of this dialogue reveals that Dark Helmet has a crush on Princess Vespa.
- Dark Helmet claims to be Lone Starr's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roomate. When Lone Starr asks, "What does that make us?" Helmet answers, "Absolutely nothing, which is what you are about to become!" However, if you listen closely, it sounds possible that Helmet claimed to be Lone Starr's former roomate, since Lone Starr's father's brother's nephew's cousin could actually be Lone Starr.
- Spaceballs marked the fourth time that Rick Moranis worked with John Candy, the actor who played Barf. First, they both became regular cast members in SCTV. Then, they both played secondary roles in Brewster's Millions. Later, Moranis landed the male lead role of Little Shop of Horrors, and Candy made a cameo. Unlike all those other works, though, Moranis and Candy never share a scene.