David Prowse death: Darth Vader actor feuded with Star Wars creator George Lucas over leak of major spoilers
Iconic Darth Vader lines such as 'I find your lack of faith disturbing' or 'I am your father' were not spoken by Prowse but by James Earl Jones
David Prowse, a former British bodybuilder who played the physical role of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died, his manager confirmed. Bowington Management tweeted, "It’s with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and millions of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85."
It's with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world, to announce that our client DAVE PROWSE M.B.E. has passed away at the age of 85. #DaveProwse @starwars #DarthVader #GreenCrossCodeMan #iconic #actor #bodybuilder #MBE pic.twitter.com/dL2RmdIqg8— Bowington Management (@BowingtonM) November 29, 2020
The man, famous for playing Darth Vader in the 'Star Wars' series, however had a complicated relationship with creator Geoge Lucas and the 'Star Wars' franchise. Turns out he had 'burned too many bridges" after a series of events that increased the rift between him and Lucas.
While Darth Vader is an important character in the 'Star Wars' universe and the arc of this character is pretty tragic, what happened to Prowse seems even more tragic. Turns out, while he only played the physical role, his lines were dubbed over by James Earl Jones. Iconic Darth Vader lines such as “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” or “I am your father,” were not spoken by Prowse but by Jones instead.
Prowse was not informed about this development until after the premiere of 'A New Hope' and this is what triggered off animosity between Prowse and Lucas. Years later, when 'Return of the Jedi' was being planned, Prowse heard that the actor who would play Anakin Skywalker aka the unmasked Darth Vader was not him but Sebastian Shaw. Before 'Return of the Jedi', another major event that caused the rift to widen was Prowse leaking some major spoilers a couple of years before the release of 'Empire Strikes Back' at an autograph signing. He accurately guessed that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father and in an inebriated state, revealed to fans, "Father can’t kill son, son can’t kill the father. So they live again to star in Star Wars IV.”
This major spoiler not only made its way to journalists but to Lucas himself as well. So he was also considered a security threat as he was not even given Darth Vader's original line “No Luke, I am your father” while shooting 'Empire Strikes Back'.
Instead, the line he had said was "Obi-Wan Kenobi is your father." This also happened to be the case for other cast members who were not let in on this major secret. Actor Mark Hamill was the only one who was informed about this and only the day before he shot the scene at that.
Things did not end there. Prowse was also blamed for spoiling the movie 'Return of the Jedi' after having revealed the death of Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker in the film. 'How Star Wars Conquered the Universe', a book about the verse, had quoted Prowse as being the source of the leak - a taboo in the 'Star Wars' franchise.
In fact, the leak was attributed by Prowse to a sneaky journalist and he said, "And that ruined my association with Star Wars. I was ostracized while on the movie, the producer and director wouldn’t work with me, and Lucas wouldn’t speak to me. I had six weeks of purgatory.”
That is how Prowse ended his association with Lucas and 'Star Wars'.