If David Prowse Voiced Darth Vader It Would Have Been The Worst Thing Ever
Darth Vader has one of the most recognisable voices in any film - that menacing voice, those scary deep breaths. He is one of the most famous villains in film history - partly because you can't see his face (until the end, that's an anti-climax), and so his voice becomes even more important. Darth Vader's journey, from light to dark and then to light again is the common thread throughout the Star Wars series.
But did you know the man underneath the mask was actually David Prowse, a 6ft 5 bodybuilder from Bristol?
He filmed all Darth Vader's scenes but was dubbed over by classically trained actor James Earl Jones in post-production. David didn't even know that his voice wasn't going to be used in the final cut until he saw Star Wars: A New Hope! And thank God for that. Take a look at what it would have been like if they'd used his voice.
George Lucas chose David for his height and build, but had never intended to use his onset vocal performance, as his distinctive Bristol accent is frankly just not scary. It's like a dodgy home made equivalent with his tones.
"Is that it?" one producer remembers thinking when he heard Prowse's voice in Darth Vader's costume, clearly unimpressed.
Lucas wanted a darker voice for Darth Vader in terms of timbre, revealed James Earl Jones, and the rumour is that he thought first of Orson Welles, before deciding he was too well-known.
In Jamie Strangroom's YouTube series These Are The Actors You're Looking For! he tracks down some of the less well-known stars of Star Wars to have a chat. In David's Hollywood Cabin, Jamie talks to the real Darth Vader about how he feels no ill-will towards being dubbed over.
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Orite my lovely! Credit: Lucasfilm
In the video, Prowse reveals his bodybuilding prowess helped out the producers when they were talking about how to throw the Emperor off the balcony in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He said he could do it easily as he won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship in 1962, 1963 and 1964 - he only needed one take to make Ian McDiarmid go flying.
When he came to film Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, knowing all his lines were going to be dubbed anyway, he played around with the dialogue.
When Han Solo and Princess Leia fly the Millennium Falcon into an asteroid field to escape the clutches of Darth Vader in the second film, instead of the infamous line, "Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral, I want that ship," David said, "Haemorrhoids do not concern me, I need a shit."
Props to the other people in the scene who kept a straight face!
C'mon George, this guy definitely deserves a cameo! In the meantime, Star Wars: Rogue One is screening at cinemas now.
Words Laura Hamilton
Main image credit: Lucasfilm
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