George Lucas and David Prowse, the British actor and athlete who donned the Darth Vader mask and who died this Saturday at the age of 85, did not have a close relationship. They met when he first cast Prowse as the villain in Star Wars after the actor opted for this role over Chewbacca.
The interpreter felt betrayed when he learned that his voice was going to be replaced by that of James Earl Jones in post-production. On top of that, it was another, Sebastian Shaw, who would put a (disfigured) face on the villain in the iconic moment when he removed his mask.
If to all this we add that Prowse was accused of leaking to the press that his character died in Return of the Jedi (something that years later would be shown to be false), we can understand why his relationship with Lucas was not the best.
However, after the death of the actor, Lucas wanted to remember him and claim his importance in the creation of Darth Vader, one of the most iconic villains on the big screen.
In a statement on the official Star Wars website, the filmmaker has assured the following: “David gave Darth Vader a physical dimension that was essential for the character. He made Vader jump from the leaves to the big screen, with a imposing stature and a moving performance that blended with the intensity and background of Vader’s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable and tragic figure. Rest in peace. ”
Thus, Lucas recognizes, as the fandom already did, the fundamental role that the actor played in the creation of the emblematic character, despite the fact that the voice and the face were carried out by other people.
Lucas has not been the only one who has wanted to pay tribute to the British in networks. Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker in the saga, has also said goodbye to Prowse with a message on networks, in which he has highlighted his multiple achievements beyond the mask of Vader.