Star Wars is arguably best known for its horrific villain, Darth Vader. The space-dictator commanded the screen with a mighty voice and terrifying Force powers, but that was all brought to life by actor and bodybuilder Dave Prowse. It was announced today that Prowse had died, aged 85.
Although the star had not been on screen as Darth Vader since 1983, his presence will forever be known as the man who originally brought the evildoer to life.
However the actor almost got pigeonholed into played Chewbacca by George Lucas before filming began.
In an interview in 1980, Prowse spoke about being cast in the film franchise.
He explained that he received a call from his agent, who told him he had been requested to go meet George Lucas in 20th Century Fox studios.
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Prowse then explained: “So I went to the 20th Century Fox offices and George Lucas says: ‘Look I’m making this film, it’s space fantasy.
“’I’ve got two parts I’d like you to consider.’ So, I said tell me what they are, and he said, ‘well the first part is the part of a character called Chewbacca.’”
Confused by this term, Prowse responded: “I said what the hell is a Chewbacca!
“[Lucas explained] it was almost like a furry type of gorilla who’s on the side of the goodies.”
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Prowse later explained why he was more attracted to the role of Darth Vader over Chewbacca, saying: “Chewbacca is likeable but Darth Vader is a much more established character. He has actually become a cult figure of the science fiction world.”
In an interview with the BBC years later, Prowse explained: “You always remember the bad guys.”
Prowse’s agent, Thomas Bowington, commented on his death, saying: “May the force be with him, always!
“Though famous for playing many monsters – for myself, and all who knew Dave and worked with him, he was a hero in our lives.”
The agent called his death, which occurred after a short illness, “a truly and deeply heart-wrenching loss for us and millions of fans all over the world”.
Prowse’s on-screen co-star, Mark Hamill, recently posted a tribute to the late actor, as well.
The 69-year-old wrote on his Instagram: “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.
“Actor – Husband – Father – Member of the Order of the British Empire – three time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP.”