Let’s get the Dave Prowse George Lucas feud explained as fans pay tribute to the Darth Vader actor. What exactly happened between them?
The Star Wars community was recently shaken to learn of Dave Prowse’s tragic passing at the age of 85.
Audiences best knew him as the man behind the mask of Darth Vader himself in George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy.
While the villain was voiced by James Earl Jones, it’s Dave who brought the character’s iconic physicality to the screen. He was loved by fans of the saga, as Agent Thomas Bowington echoed in his statement:
“Dave was dedicated to meeting the fans for decades and lots of fans’ first ever guest they met was Dave in the early days of Comic Cons and collators’ events. Dave was larger than life and he will be so very much missed. Our love and thoughts go out to his family.”
In the wake of his passing, fans have begun to remember the feud between the actor and the franchise’s creator, George Lucas.
Dave was actually banned from official Star Wars activities back in 2010, but the issue dates further back than that. So, let’s explain…
Dave Prowse George Lucas feud explained
As you’ll very well know, the Star Wars trilogy which commenced in 1977 wasn’t exactly short on surprises, with The Empire Strikes Back arguably boasting one of the most shocking reveals in cinema history.
It has gone on to be influential, imitated and parodied endlessly throughout popular culture.
Lucasfilm wished to keep the “I am your father” moment under wraps ahead of and upon the sequel’s initial release for obvious reasons.
However, Den of Geek notes that Dave teased the reveal to the press beforehand, saying: “Father can’t kill son, son can’t kill father, so they live again to star in Star Wars IV.”
The information appeared in at least one newspaper and encouraged Lucasfilm to try harder to keep plot details hidden from the press. Although, Dave later claimed that he didn’t know about the reveal and that it was simply a lucky guess.
Later, in 1982 and a year prior to the release of Return of the Jedi, a UK newspaper leaked that Darth Vader would die and the book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe highlights that Dave was blamed for the leak.
The previous source adds that this led to Dave being left out of many of the third film’s scenes and when the helmet did come off to reveal Vader’s true face, it was Sebastian Shaw’s face underneath.
Diving deeper into the issue of the leak, Dave recalled that a journalist called him one day to discuss his career as a weightlifter. However, the journalist began to talk about Star Wars at some point. Dave has since spoken about the moment:
“He turned up at my gymnasium that evening and halfway through he says, ‘You know you’re being killed off in this movie, don’t you? And another guy’s playing the dying Darth Vader?’ I said, “They wouldn’t do that – they wouldn’t go and unmask somebody else after I’ve played the part for six years.’ He asked if I had a call sheet, and he looked at it and it said: ‘Dave Prowse, Darth Vader, Studio 1,’ and underneath it ‘Sebastian Shaw, Anakin Skywalker, Studio 10’.”
Dave remembers that the Daily Mail published a piece headlined “Darth Vader to be killed off in the next movie, in an interview with David Prowse” the next day, saying “and that ruined my association with Star Wars.”
He added: “I was ostracized while on the movie, the producer and director wouldn’t work with me, and Lucas wouldn’t speak to me. I had six weeks of purgatory.”
Den of Geek addresses that Dave and George lost touch after the trilogy’s production but notes that Dave was blocked from appearing at official Star Wars conventions in 2010 due to his participation in a documentary which took aim at George called The People Versus George Lucas.
George Lucas pays respects to Darth Vader actor
The BBC highlights that George Lucas has paid tribute to Dave in the wake of his passing, saying that he had “an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence”.
He added that Dave was “up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure… He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen. May he rest in peace.”
In other news, did you spot Morai in The Mandalorian?