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Celebrating the Power of the Dark Side

Behind the design of the second official UK coin inspired by Star Wars™.

Following the success of the first coin in The Royal Mint’s Star Wars-inspired Character Duos collection, a coin dedicated to the popular mechanical double act of R2-D2™ and C-3PO™, it was only fitting that we maintain that level of star power with an equally iconic pairing for coin two. Fortunately, we have achieved this goal in spades with our follow-up design dedicated to the most evil twosome in the entire Star Wars galaxy – Darth Vader™ and Emperor Palpatine™.

For the reverse of the coin, it was important that the design faithfully represented two of cinema’s greatest villains and was a fitting tribute to these icons of science fiction. Produced in collaboration with Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd., our Product Design team utilised imagery taken directly from Lucasfilm’s official library, resulting in a design that is truly authentic to the films.

Ffion Gwillim, a seasoned product designer with previous experience of working with licensed, third-party imagery, was the person tasked with transposing these visuals into numismatic designs. Knowing her audience and the level of fandom associated with the Star Wars devotees, she was able to produce a design that worked on the face of a coin, whilst still staying true to the source material, taking care not to lose the finer attributes of each character’s appearance along the way. The final design is not only a tangible piece of numismatic art but also an accurate depiction of these iconic Star Wars characters.

For Darth Vader, this includes intricate details such as the programming buttons on his chest plate and suit regulation control boxes on his belt – even the contrasting materials of his suit are visible, with each layer notably different to the one beneath it. Similarly, virtually every scar and wrinkle of Emperor Palpatine’s haggard face is on display for all to see, framed by his hooded cloak, which makes him instantly recognisable as the evil puppet master of The Empire. Meanwhile, his crooked cane is also included in the design, reinforcing this attention to detail. As an added treat for the eagle-eyed fan, the background of the design is the very window that sits behind Emperor Palpatine’s throne during the iconic final battle in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi™. Rounding off this visual smorgasbord of Sith imagery is the unmistakable Star Wars logo at the bottom of the design.

Much like the Droids coin that kicked off the collection, the Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine design also includes a unique lenticular feature that provides two additional images within the overall coin design for fans to enjoy. In this instance, the feature includes a miniature representation of the iconic Death Star that memorably appeared in the original Star Wars movie in 1977, and is subsequently destroyed at the climax of the film. Arguably one of the most iconic pieces of set design in movie history, the Moon-like space station is as synonymous with sci-fi cinema as it is the Galactic Empire and is a fitting addition to the design. Included within this lenticular feature is the insignia of the Galactic Empire, also known as the Imperial Crest, which is a symbol that will be very familiar to diehard fans of the franchise.

Whether you are a wannabe Sith Lord in the making, a Star Wars superfan or simply a lover of all things cinema, the Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine 2023 UK Coin is a must-have release to add to your collection. Available in a variety of editions, including gold Proof, silver Proof and Brilliant Uncirculated editions, as well as special colour-printed editions, this coin can be ordered now by clicking here.

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