With the opening of new Star Wars movies, we have seen the return of the sci-fi franchise’s original cast members. However, according to Radio Times, one actor from the first trilogy hasn’t been invited back — David Prowse. While it might have been James Earl Jones who provided the voice, and Sebastian Shaw whose face we saw at the end of Return of the Jedi, it was Prowse physically playing Darth Vader.
With the Sith lord set to come back to theaters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Prowse could have resumed the role. But not only was the octogenarian not hired back, he wasn’t even aware Darth Vader was going to be in the film.
Prowse told Radio Times, “I didn’t know anything about Darth Vader coming back actually.” He then voiced disappointment at not being asked to come back. “It’d be nice to be offered the job again, because I’m still fit and healthy, and I’m still Darth Vader in and around the country. I get loads and loads of requests, you know, to do loads of personal appearances, both as myself and him.”
So why isn’t he coming back? Well, it’s probably because Prowse has had an uneasy relationship with the Star Wars filmmakers:
In 1978, Prowse, in a speech given at the University of California, Berkeley, allegedly spoiled the ending of The Empire Strikes Back, and revealed that Darth was Luke’s father.
In 2009, Prowse complained he hadn’t been paid residuals for The Return of the Jedi.
In 2010, he appeared in an anti-George Lucas documentary, The People vs. George Lucas. Prowse claims he was barred from official Star Wars events after that.
In 2015, in an interview with the Sun, he said, “Those behind the film cut me out and have continued to ignore me for years. So do I have any interest in watching [The Force Awakens]? No, I don’t.”
So while Prowse might have had an interest in returning, it would appear there is too much bad blood. While that might frustrate him, he did acknowledge the benefits to having been the man in the mask, saying, “I get loads and loads of requests to do these personal appearances, and if I want, I could be somewhere different in the world every weekend. Well, it’s incredible.”
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