One of the biggest rifts in movie history is the fall out between the man who played Darth Vader, Dave Prowse, and George Lucas. Now Prowse has released a book entitled Straight From The Force’s Mouth that recounts that history… and he spoke to Yahoo Movies about it this week…
Prowse was of course known for other things in his career than just Star Wars – he was a bodybuilding champion, in A Clockwork Orange and became known as The Green-Cross Code Man here in the UK, however it never got bigger than Darth Vader. And how could it?
You see, almost since day one, Lucas and Prowse had a stormy relationship. On the first Star Wars, A New Hope, Prowse was upset when he saw it and realised it wasn’t his broad Bristol accent (see the video below) coming from under the mask but rather the thunderous tones of James Earl Jones. Then, on Empire Strikes back he was upset because Lucasfilm told him false dialogue for the climatic ‘I am your father’ reveal, which he didn’t know about until he attended the premier, he also was annoyed because most of the fighting in Empire was handled by British fencing champion Bob Anderson and finally he was replaced by Sebastian Shaw when Vader was unmasked at the climax of Return of the Jedi.
Because of this he has always been very outspoken about how he was badly treated by Lucas. To this day he maintains he saw very little or no royalties from Return of the Jedi.
However, he was always a big part of the Star Wars fan experience, attending conventions big and small around the globe. Until, that is, a documentary called The People Versus George Lucas by Alexandre O Philips was released. The documentary was a deliberately one-sided look at the Star Wars Special Editions and how George Lucas ruined them by dabbling. In the interview Prowse appears, talking about Lucas. In a very unfavourable light.
“You have no idea where these interviews are going to go and this one found its way into this documentary,” Prowse tells Yahoo.
“Obviously Lucas didn’t like it, and as soon as the film hit, they put the block on me.” By ‘block’ this means he’s not allowed to be at any official Star Wars events, ” How can you have a ‘Star Wars’ convention without Darth Vader?” Prowse ponders.
On talking about filming the movies and how he was deceived about his role in the saga, who Vader really was and what he would sound like, Prowse says: “The thing that hurt was it was all done without telling me. It was all done in a very underhand way. I didn’t like it one little bit,” he said.
The first big fall out between him and Lucas came when, during filming of Jedi, The Daily Mail published a story saying Vader would be played by Sebastian Shaw and would die at the end of the movie. Today this day Prowse maintains he didn’t say anything of the sort as he didn’t know these things at the timem never-the-less he was outcasted from the movie and barely used by a furious Lucas for the remainder of the movie. In fact Lucas and Jedi director Richard Marquand never spoke to him after it.
“Lucas regards me as a blabbermouth,” said Prowse.
A sad story indeed, but one that there certainly seems to be two sideds to. Maybe someday we’ll get that elusive interview with George Lucas and get his side of the events.
For the full interview go here