1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+
What's Up With Prowse?
Some of you may have seen the following quotes by Dave Prowse (who
played the body of Darth Vader) recently. IMDB sums up the report
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Prowse claims that he
was the victim of a kind of reverse racism. Since there were no
black members in the original cast, Prowse claims, the Lucas production
company "were worried to death about black people boycotting the
movie. "The only thing they could do at that last stage was to
take my voice off and give Darth Vader an obvious black voice."
In Return of the Jedi (1983), Sebastian Shaw was seen as the unmasked
Vader/Anakin Skywalker. That, said Prowse, "was really to stop
me from getting into too strong a negotiating position for future
Cinescape also reported the following quote from Prowse about Darth
Vader in Episode 3:
"I think the fans will object if I don't get offered the role,"
Prowse told the Canadian Press.
We generally try not to slam people on this website, but in a word,
there?s only one way to describe these statements: moronic.
Let?s first tackle the claim that Vader needed an "obviously black
voice". Can you honestly listed to James Earl Jones? voice and say,
"Oh, yeah, that?s a black guy." NO. I think O.J. Simpson?s lawyers
established that fact rather bluntly. How about Prowse insinuating
that he was slighted by them not using his voice? Actually, who
DIDN?T they dub is an easier question to answer. Boba Fett, the
pilots, Aunt Beru, Dr. Evizan, etc etc etc were ALL dubbed. None
of them were the real actor?s voices. In fact, Lucas fully intended
to dub Anthony Daniels? voice up until the last minute. Secondly,
Peter Mayhew could have just as easily been Darth Vader as David
Prowse was. It is well known that Lucas gave them the choice of
who to play, and Prowse picked Vader. Would Prowse be complaining
if he had been Chewbacca? I can just imagine his response now:
"They were worried to death about animal lovers boycotting the
movie. The only thing they could do at that last stage was to
take my voice off and give Chewbacca an obvious animal voice."
Uh-huh, yeah. I think Lucas, at the time, was more worried about
people coming to the movie AT ALL rather than black people boycotting
it. And if you were trying to prevent black people from boycotting
it, why on earth would you give the BAD GUY the black voice? It
doesn't make any sense. Finally, if you put up Prowse?s British
accent and voice against James Earl Jones?, who would YOU have picked?
Yeah, I?d have picked JEJ, too. His voice is much more deep and
menacing, which is just what the character needed. Not an "obvious
David Prowse acts like he is the one and only person who could
ever be Darth Vader. In fact, he signs autographs "Dave Prowse IS
Darth Vader" as if nobody else helped out. I offer to you the following
quotes from Mark Hamill in Starlog #72 from 1983:
"Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader?s fighting,"
Hamill reveals. "It was always supposed to be a secret, but I
finally told George I didn?t think it was fair any more. Bob worked
so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It?s ridiculous
to preserve the myth that it?s all done by ONE man. As a matter
of fact, when I shot the fight scene with Darth Vader for Empire,
Dave was in America with Tony Daniels touring science-fiction
conventions promoting the re-release of Star Wars."
Despite the stuntman substitution, Hamill was persuaded to pose
for publicity photos with Prowse in the rehearsal hall. "I thought
that was NONSENSE," he charges. "They had us pose in rehearsal
clothes with our swords crossed. I had actually been rehearsing
all morning with the ?real? Darth Vader, and then Dave just came
in for the photo session."
If you ask me, Prowse is starting to believe his own hype. It takes
more than one man to portray Darth Vader. Ben Burtt added the unforgettable
breathing of Vader. Ralph McQuarrie designed the incredible costume.
James Earl Jones gave him the indispensable voice. Bob Anderson,
and other stuntmen, gave us those legendary fight sequences. What
has David Prowse given the character of Darth Vader? A body to fill
the suit and continual high publicity whining about getting the
Prowse also says that Sebastian Shaw was given the role of the
unmasked Vader because it "was really to stop me from getting into
too strong a negotiating position for future movies." Hmmm. What
position would that be? After all, Anakin would be DEAD in any later
movies, and Anakin is really YOUNG in the prequels. Where does Prowse
fit in ANY future movies? The actors all sign away their likeness
when they joined the film, so it?s not like he wouldn?t get more
money from action figures. Let?s face it, Prowse?s face isn?t what
they had in mind when they wanted to portray Anakin. Get over it.
Lucas didn?t even know if there would even be a sequel to Star Wars
when Prowse was originally cast. He may not have even planned to
unmask him at that point.
As for his comment that "the fans will object if I don't get offered
the role," I strongly beg to differ. In Episode 3, Vader will need
to be at his prime. He must destroy thousands of Jedi. He must Battle
Obi-Wan Kenobi. He must be in extremely violent action sequences
that remind us why he?s the Dark Lord of the Sith and one of the
most feared individuals in the galaxy. Prowse isn?t a swordmaster.
Prowse isn?t a stuntman. Prowse isn?t nearly in as good physical
condition as he was 20 years ago. He recently got out of hip surgery.
What can he bring to the character that someone else can?t?
I think he should take notes from Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba
Fett. Jeremy is absolutely cool with the fact that other people
played Fett. He acknowledges that the voice was dubbed. He?ll flat
out tell you that the costume is what makes Fett popular and not
his acting. He played the role, had fun, and has moved on. He even
says that he probably couldn?t play Fett in Episode 2 because he?s
out of shape, unlike Prowse. Prowse should be grateful that he?s
able to travel the world, charge $15 bucks for his autograph, and
meet people and go places he might not ever have otherwise. He has
Star Wars and Lucasfilm to thank for that. I?m sure Lucasfilm has
royally screwed him over in the past, but life is too short to dwell
on it. As Brian says, "Always look on the bright side of life."