The Unexpected Prop Star Wars Borrowed From Doctor Who

When it comes to props and costumes in films and television, the old adage "reduce, reuse, recycle" is fully embraced. It's fairly common practice for set designers to raid the prop closets from retired productions and borrow pieces for their own needs. There's even a recurring newspaper prop that is has been reused enough in various television shows and films that a compilation of all its appearances was put together in a video. 

While most prop recycling you'll never notice, some props and costumes are recognizable enough to easily notice in multiple works. Such is the case with a certain "Doctor Who" costume that went on to be used by a familiar but minor character in the "Star Wars" franchise.

A Real Suit Becomes Sci-Fi Staple

Eagle-eyed fans of the sci-fi classics should be able to spot a costume shared by both "Doctor Who" and "Star Wars." It's a yellow flight suit with a beige flak vest, known as a Windak suit. In "Doctor Who," the costume was worn by several characters during the 1966 episode "The Tenth Planet." When time came around to find costumes for "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," it seems the style of that flight suit fit the look necessary for the character of Bossk, (played by the late Alan Harris). 

Bossk first appeared in "The Empire Strikes Back" alongside other bounty hunters like Boba Fett who were hired by the Empire to hunt down Han Solo. The character would later appear in "The Clone Wars," as well as various video games and comic books. Though not a prominent character in the films, like many obscure "Star Wars" characters, Bossk has a loyal fanbase.

History of the Windak Suit

According to Senior Aerospace BWT, the Windak flying suit was originally manufactured in the 1960s for the Royal Air Force for the purpose of high altitude flying, with its design roots going back to World War II. With that kind of history, it's no wonder that the suit has traversed through many a science fiction prop closet, inspiring other looks and being adapted for various roles. 

Before its appearance on "Doctor Who," the Windak suit was worn by characters in the British sci-fi film "First Men in the Moon." There's just something about the cut of its cloth that feels right when seen exploring other planets. 

But the "Star Wars" universe is clearly the most heavily influenced by the Windak suit. While the original version is worn by Bossk in "The Empire Strikes Back," it's obvious that the Rebel Alliance's orange jumpsuits worn by X-wing pilots were inspired by the same design. We'd even go so far as to say that the costumes from "The Mandalorian"  have that certain Windak-meets-space-cowboy vibe. 

As the "Star Wars" television universe expands with shows like "The Book of Boba Fett," it's possible that the Windak suit's legacy will continue to grow. Some things never go out of style.