Star Wars (partially found David Prowse Darth Vader vocal performance from space opera film trilogy; 1977-1983)

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David Prowse in the Darth Vader suit.

Status: Partially Found

David Prowse was an English bodybuilder and character actor who was known for winning the British heavyweight weightlifting championship in 1962 and went on to win several other heavyweight weightlifting championships for the next two years[1] and trained Christopher Reeve for his role as Superman in the 1978 eponymous theatrical film on the character[2] and also trained actor Cary Elwes for his role as Dread Pirate Roberts for the 1987 adventure film The Princess Bride.[3] Prowse also made several on-screen appearances such as Frank Alexander's manservant Julian in the controversial 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, a minotaur in the 1972 Doctor Who serial "The Time Monster" and the Black Knight in the 1977 fantasy comedy Jabberwocky. He died on November 28th, 2020, at the age of 85.


In 1976, Prowse would play Darth Vader, the villain in the science fiction blockbuster Star Wars (that was released a year later). Prowse donned the Darth Vader costume and spoke the character's dialogue during filming with the cast nicknaming him "Darth Farmer" because of his accent. A rough cut of the film was screened in February 1977 with Prowse's dialogue. Originally the plan was for Prowse to redub his dialogue in post. But due to the high cost of Prowse flying to Los Angeles to do so and wanting a "darker voice," veteran stage actor James Earl Jones ended up redubbing Prowse's dialogue in post-production. The film was released in May 1977 with Jones' performance as Darth Vader and the film became a huge critical and commercial success and the character went on to become listed as the greatest movie villain of all time by the American Film Institute in 2003. Prowse's performance of the character's stature would be praised by movie-goers and the film's director George Lucas[4] and would praise Jones' performance of the character. While Prowse's vocal performance of the character wasn't heard, he did return to play the character in the two sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi and even voiced the character during filming of those films, with some sources saying that he wouldn't say his lines and would say something else, knowing that his voice for Darth Vader wasn't gonna be heard. Prowse almost got to play Darth Vader's real identity Anakin Skywalker in Return Of The Jedi, but actor Sebastian Shaw was casted at the last minute, despite Prowse allegedly being told that he would be seen and heard.[5] Jones would go onto to voice the character in various merchandise and the occasional film in the franchise until his retirement from voicing Darth Vader in 2022.[6]


While it is confirmed that the cut of Star Wars with Prowse's performance is still intact and archived at the Lucasfilm archive, none of his scenes have ever been released. The only time any of his audio as Darth Vader was heard, was in the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy that was released on the DVD release of the Star Wars original trilogy in September 2004. The clips shown in the documentary were from the opening scene from A New Hope after the Empire have intercepted a ship by the Rebel Alliance. These clips were uploaded to YouTube in 2010 by user "Menorenodutt" and went viral. Nothing from Prowse's performance from The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi have been released.


Clips of Prowse's performance as Darth Vader from Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy.

See Also