David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader at the first Star Wars Trilogy, never revealed his face during the films. He could have done it only once at "Return of the Jedi", but something happened. Another actor did that sequence and that fact marked David Prowse life for ever. Thirty years later, a young filmmaker discovers why the producers took that decision, and is determined to pay Dave a deserved tribute, almost impossible.Written by
Toni Bestard & Marcos Cabotá
Arguing that Darth Vador is the evilest villain of movie history and a universal figure, this wet dream of nerdy guerrilla aims at giving character actor David Prowse the place in the Star Wars pantheon that George Lucas, Hollywood's evilest villain, has denied him by replacing him with another actor when the time finally came, at the end of Return of the Jedi, to drop the mask off and die. The concept is to set the record straight by re-shooting the scene in question, this time with Mr. Prowse. The director of the piece is obviously very proud of his idea, so proud that he promptly becomes insufferably self-satisfied, but one can acquire a wealth of useless knowledge before pressing the stop button, which one is ashamed to confess he did.
The first shocker comes with the fact that George Lucas was supposed to direct Apocalypse Now, but he dropped out to make Star Wars, which is a great loss if you imagine Apocalypse Now's final 30 minutes with Ewoks. The horror. the horror.
A tall and muscular man, Mr Prowse was a personal trainer at Harrod's in 69, where he was scouted and cast to play the Frankenstein creature. Hé then played the Green Cross Man, a British superhero teaching children to cross at zebra lines. "Walk straight across!", he enthuses in a somewhat gayish voice at the end of a vintage TV ad.
Through trials and tribulations, he got the role of Darth Vador, with one caveat: his West County accent sounded funny for a galactic villain. One has to side with George Lucas on this one: an universal villain from the future could only sound American, so Edouard James Olmos dubbed Mr Prowse, whose voice, he remarks with legitimate amusement, has become deeper with age and is now pretty close to Olmos'.
Firmly establishing himself between a sycophant and a conspiracy monger, the director then gets to the heart of the matter: the father issue. No one knew about Darth Vador being Luke Skywalker's father during shooting, the soundbite having been added in post-production (no doubt one of the foundations of the legend according to which quite about anything can be fixed in post-prod). But wait! Mr Prowse had foreseen this development and mentioned it casually during an interview! He got ostracised by Lucas Films in retribution. Did one mentioned that George Lucas was evil incarnate?
A scene at a Star Wars convention – event to which Mr Prowse is never invited – shows a crowd of whatever-they-are-called (Warsies?) wearing short pants, Superman t-shirts over beer bellies and heavy spectacles, questioning the bleebedeeblup midget about Darth Vador.
So was Mr Prowse the man who talked too much? Interviews of two producers prove inconclusive. The nice guy says it was not right to deprive Mr Prowse of his big death scene, because an outside source leaked the father thing to the press. The bad guy says George Lucas has nothing to do with Mr Prowse's banishment, because outside people are in charge of the conventions and stuff. Hmmm.
At that point, the ax unsurprisingly falls: Lucas Films does not approve of the re-shoot. The director gets all whiny while managing not to alienate Hollywood's most evil villain completely. At that point, one's thumb hits the Stop button. Not much of a Warsy
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