Soon, while watching radar, Dark Helmet saw a runaway Princess Vespa of Planet Druidia in range and, realizing she'd be the perfect pawn in acquiring more air for Planet Spaceball, proceeded to kidnap her. Her father, King Roland, proceeded to make an offer with Lone Starr and Barf to rescue her for 1,000,000 spacebucks.
Once Lone Starr got in position, he and Barf jam Spaceball I's radar with a giant jar of raspberry jam. As the jam leaked all over the radar screen, Dark Helmet proclaimed that his old enemy, Lone Starr, must be trying to foil their scheme. Spaceball I then pursued the Eagle 5, before it went into hyperactive. Dark Helmet ordered Spaceball I to go into Ludicrous Speed to catch up. This only resulted in the ship passing over the Eagle 5, and Dark Helmet crashing into equipment as a result of a sudden stop.
At the suggestion of Colonel Sandurz, Dark Helmet used 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 proved fruitless until they ditched the giant combs, and Helmet used the Schwartz to track Vespa down to Yogurt's lair. He lured Vespa and her robot Dot Matrix into his grasp by disguising himself as her father.
Helmet demanded 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 gave in, and divulged the code: 1-2-3-4-5. Thus, Vespa was locked in a dungeon with Dot instead of undergoing the surgery. However, Lone Starr and Barf traveled to Planet Spaceball and rescue her.
After Spaceball I opened the air shield, it transformed into Mega Maid and began sucking the air up from Druidia into a giant vacuum cleaner. However, Lone Starr foiled the plan as he used the Schwartz to switch Mega Maid's vacuum from "suck" to "blow," blowing all the air back onto the planet. He proceeded to infiltrate Spaceball I in search of a way to destroy the ship.
Once Lone Starr entered the room containing Spaceball I's self-destruct button, Dark Helmet dueled him to keep him from pressing it. During the fight, Helmet tricked Lone Starr into giving him his Schwartz-ring. However, Yogurt told Lone Starr that the Schwartz is actually in him, so when Helmet aimed the Schwartz of his ring at Lone Starr's "two best friends," Lone Starr deflected it with a mirror, pushing Helmet into hitting the self destruct button with his helmet.
Dark Helmet met his ultimate end after he, Sandurz, and Skroob failed to reach escape pods before Spaceball I exploded, landing them on the Planet of the apes.
In the animated series
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.
Here he is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Dark Helmet is a parody of the Stars Wars franchise's Darth Vader.
- 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 roommate. 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 roommate, 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.
- Another connection to Candy and Moranis is Ghostbusters. John Candy had previously worked with director Ivan Rietman and actors Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in Stripes. Reitman and Ramis had seriously considered Candy for the role of Louis Tully, and early draft storyboards showed drawings of Candy fleeing a "Terror Dog" in one of the film's iconic scenes. However, Candy backed out of filming, and Rick Moranis was ultimately cast as Louis Tully. John Candy, however, did a cameo in Ray Parker Junior's music video Ghostbusters, which was the monster best-selling title soundtrack.
- In the animated series, Dark Helmet is much shorter, as opposed to him being nearly as tall as President Skroob and Colonel Sandurz in the film.
- It's possible that Dark Helmet has redeemable features, as he sticks his tongue out and makes mean faces at President Skroob in one scene. This suggests that, deep down, he hates working for President Skroob.
- Because of this, he could be considered the central antagonist.
- Dark Helmet's rank on the 5-Bad Band would be the Dragon, since he is the right-hand man of the series' main antagonist, President Skroob.
- From the side, his helmet looks a lot like a massive version of the Stahlhelm, the German soldier helmet used primarily in the second world war.
- Helmet's line "Ready, Kafka?" Is a reference to the book 'Metamorphosis' by Franz Kafka, written in 1915. It tells the story of a man who turned into a giant insect overnight.
- In 2017, the original screen used helmet worn by Rick Moranis was put on auction. It sold for around $10k.
- The helmet was made of vacuum formed plastic for the exterior, with a construction helmet inside to fit Rick Moranis' head. The visor or faceplate was screw hinged so it could move up and downand featured vents for breathing. The mouthpiece was made out of a shower drain and the eye lenses were tinted see through plastic.
- Rick Moranis voiced the character again in Season 5, Episode 21 (entitled "Spaceballs") of The Goldbergs. In the episode, Adam Goldberg starts a Mel Brooks fan club after watching Spaceballs, but Jackie mistakes his club advertisement for political satire. Near the end of the episode, he encounters Dark Helmet in a dream sequence. The two battle it out with Schwartz-rings, until Helmet accidentally drops the script for Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. Helmet uses his figurines to act it out, which Adam loves. Adam and Helmet agree to work together to make the sequel before Adam wakes up.
- "What the hell am I looking at?"
- " Evil will always triumph because good is dumb."
- "I am your father's, brother's, nephew's, cousin's, former roommate."
- "How many Assholes we got on this ship anyhow?" (...) "I knew it, I'm surrounded by assholes!"
- "I see your Schwartz is as big as mine."
- "No, you fool. We're following orders. We were told to comb the desert, so we're combing it."
- coughing through helmet* *coughing through helmet again* "I can't breathe in this thing!"
- "What? You went over my helmet?"
- "What's the matter, Sandurz? Chicken?"
- "Ludicrous speed, GO!"
- "What have I done?! My brains are going into my feet!"
- "So, the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That's the stupidest combination I ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!"
- "Fuck! Even in the future, nothing works."
- "Smoke if you got 'em."