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Darth Vader is one of the most famous and enduring fictional characters in all of pop culture history, he’s so fundamentally badass that fans of the character and series will happily write off the fact that he murdered dozens of kids in that one scene, because who cares, look how cool his armour is! Few people realise though, how hard it was to bring Vader to life at all.
Now it’s a little known fact that it took four different men to bring Darth Vader to life on the big screen, James Earl Jones provided Vader’s booming voice while Sebastian Shaw was brought in as Vader’s face for his final moments in Return of the Jedi. Vader’s lightsaber skills on the other hand were the work of fencing master Bob Anderson and finally, Vader’s intimidating physique was handily provided by body-builder, David Prowse.
Though all four men undeniably contributed massively to the mythos of the character, it has been noted in the past that David Prowse felt that his contribution often went overlooked in favour of the one made by James Earl Jones. Ironically, Jones initially didn’t want to be credited for his role as the voice of Vader because he felt like he hadn’t really done anything, referring to what he’d done as little more than “special effects”.
In fact, Prowse had no idea that all of his lines in A New Hope were going to be dubbed over and only found out at the last possible second, much to his annoyance. The official reason given by Lucas was that Prowse’s strong Bristol accent didn’t fit with the intimidating physical presence Vader had, even though the voice literally belonged to a 6ft 6 inch tall bodybuilder, then again, we can’t really argue with how badass James Earl Jones made Vader sound. For those of you who are curious, this is what Vader sounded like with Prowse’s dialogue.
But we digress, after A New Hope, because Prowse was now fully aware that all of his lines were going to be dubbed over anyway, he reportedly began to mess up his lines on purpose because who the hell was going to argue with Darth Vader? You see because the actors starring alongside Prowse still needed to know when to say their dialogue, he was still required to utter his lines from within the suit. However, because as mentioned, he knew that anything he said was going to be cut out and replaced by the sultry, sensual tones of James Earl Jones anyway, Prowse would sometimes just say whatever he felt like.
For example, in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, while recording the scene in which Vader says:
“Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral. I want that ship, not excuses.”
Prowse instead said:
“Hemorrhoids do not concern me, I need to shit!”
Because come on, and let’s be honest here, in the exact same situation we’d have all done exactly the same thing. Sadly though, Prowse fell out with George Lucas and he’s now no longer welcome at official Star Wars conventions. Prowse, actually ended up annoying the hell out of LucasFilm by signing all of his autographs “Dave Prowse IS Darth Vader”. When LucasFilm invariably objected and asked him to stop, Prowse asked them “who’s name is next to Darth Vader in the credits on the movie?” to which they meekly responded, “yours”.
But we digress, considering that it’s Disney that now owns the entire series, it’s even more unlikely that we’ll ever see the uncut version of the Star Wars trilogy featuring all of Prowse’s hilarious made-up lines before they were dubbed over. Which is a shame, because we’d pay a lot of money for that.