Spaceballs' Dark Helmet Was Originally Even More Over The Top, According To Rick Moranis

Mel Brooks has a long and storied career of lambasting genre movies. From making a mockery of the Western in "Blazing Saddles" to laughing at Broadway shows with "The Producers," no piece of entertainment was ever safe from Brooks' sardonic wrath.

This includes science fiction, which Brooks took on in 1987 with "Spaceballs." A parody of movies like "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Alien," and more, the film approached tales of spaceships and robots with the same goofy aggression that all of Brooks' projects did.

According to a piece he wrote for LitHub, Brooks needed a new idea for a movie, having produced parodies of so many different genres. "So I thought, 'Science fiction! Now there's a genre I haven't wrecked yet..." Like most of Brooks' work, the film was hilarious. It simultaneously poked fun at the genre and celebrated it, not unlike "Young Frankenstein" before it. There were even jokes that carried over from "Blazing Saddles."

The movie mocked all sci-fi, but took particular aim at the "Star Wars" franchise, spoofing everything from the iconic opening crawl to the humorously long shot of a spaceship that followed it. They also heavily parodied Darth Vader, the iconic antagonist of the original "Star Wars" trilogy. This was done in the form of a character called "Dark Helmet," portrayed by the mild-mannered Rick Moranis.

Moranis was great as Dark Helmet, a thoroughly ridiculous and pathetic version of Vader. But apparently, in original drafts of the film, Dark Helmet was supposed to be even more absurd, so much so as to be physically inconvenient.

Just a helmet

Starring alongside the likes of the legendary John Candy and a very green Bill Pullman, Moranis did a good job making Dark Helmet stand out among the movie's strong comedic cast. Apparently, however, his physical appearance in earlier drafts of the film's script was going to be even more absurd, according to an interview Moranis did with The Hollywood Reporter. Moranis recalled:

"In the original script the description of the character was that the whole costume was one gigantic helmet. Then it got scaled back to just an exaggerated version of the Darth Vader helmet. It was very light — actually took one prop guy to maneuver it."

While the idea of Rick Moranis engulfed in a gigantic helmet is certainly humorous, one can understand how that could have created some physical limitations for the actor's performance, not to mention logistical issues on set. It's probably best they went with the costume they ultimately did, as "Spaceballs" was another in Mel Brooks' line of successes.

At one point, there were talks of Moranis reprising his role in a "Spaceballs" sequel, but those talks have come and gone. Moranis said:

"Mel wanted to do a sequel after it became a cult video hit. It wasn't a box office hit. It was a cult video hit, and MGM wanted to do a sequel. And my idea for it was 'Spaceballs III: The Search for Spaceballs II.' And I was unable to make a deal with Mel. I couldn't make a deal."

Even if a sequel doesn't happen, we'll always have Moranis' fantastic performance as Dark Helmet to help us remember how funny sci-fi can be.