11 Things You Never Knew About Darth Vader
May the force be with you...
1. Orson Welles Was Almost Vader's Voice
Much to David Prowse's dismay, James Earl Jones was in fact the voice of Darth Vader. But it seems there were other choices in the mix. One of the earlier cuts of the film had a narration by Orson Welles, who at that time was also in the running to voice Darth Vader. We can only imagine what might have been if Welles was given the part instead of James Earl Jones. As the story goes, George Lucas was simply following his intuition when he made the choice. And while we may wonder, we're all ultimately very happy with Jones' portrayal of Darth Vader.
2. Darth Vader Isn't Just One Actor
Just who is the man behind the mask? Well, you might need to rephrase the question, as there have been many men behind Darth Vader. We all know that James Earl Jones is the voice of the most infamous Sith Lord in the galaxy, but just who is underneath the armor? In the original films, most of the body-acting was done by David Prowse. In Return of the Jedi, as most of Vader's scenes involved fighting, a stuntman donned the suit for a decent amount of the Darth's screen time. Other than that, Hayden Christiansen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the prequels, also donned the suit, after literally begging George Lucas to let him portray Darth Vader in all his glory.
3. No One Knew About Luke And Vader's Relationship
Believe it or not, the greatest secret in the Star Wars universe was seriously well-kept, even on set of the Empire Strikes Back. In order to keep the father-son relationship of Vader and Luke a secret, George Lucas inserted different dialogue during that fateful scene in Cloud City. The only person on-set other than Lucas who knew was Mark Hamill, who was told the real lines JUST BEFORE filming, so he would react appropriately. Unfortunately, David Prowse (the actor in Vader's suit) probably should have been told too, as he has criticized Lucas saying his body language would have been drastically different if he had known the true plot.
4. Anakin Skywalker And Darth Vader Weren't Always The Same Person
Initially, George Lucas had no plans of making Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker the same person. Lucas did not make that famous plot point a reality until after A New Hope was finished. In fact, it was during the writing process of The Empire Strikes Back that George Lucas decided that Anakin and Vader should be on in the same. Who knows what was originally planned? Was Anakin possibly still alive somewhere? Were there plans to bring Anakin back? Maybe it was Anakin Skywalker who was initially supposed to further Luke's Jedi training, only to be killed by Darth Vader, setting up what was the initial title for the third movie: Revenge Of The Jedi.
5. Darth Vader – What Does It Actually Mean?
While the name for Darth Vader had come up in the writing stages for A New Hope, it turns out that fate was on George Lucas' side. "Darth Vader" in it's native German translates directly to "Dark Father." So while perhaps German speakers could have guessed the twist that was revealed in Empire, being pretty obvious for them, it turned out to be a happy coincidence when George Lucas decided that Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker should be one person. Looks like it just wouldn't have made sense otherwise.
6. James Earl Jones Is Not Credited
If you look at the movie credits for the original trilogy, you might notice that there is someone missing...someone kind of important. When Star Wars originally came out, literally everyone thought it would be a huge flop. No one could have expected just how wildly popular it became. So much so, that James Earl Jones, among others, decided not to be named in the credits. Why, you ask? They didn't want to risk their then-budding careers with what was almost certainly going to be a bust! Can you imagine?
7. Darth Vader Wasn't In A New Hope All That Much
The film that introduced us to one of the most evil men in the galaxy turned out to not really be in the movie all that often. It may be surprising, but Darth Vader only has around twelve minutes of screen time in Star Wars: A New Hope. That's really not a lot of time when you stop and think about it. Thanks to fantastic movie-making, his presence is felt throughout the entire film, but we don't actually see him very often outside of a few key scenes.
8. He Wasn't Supposed To Have A Helmet
While Darth Vader 's helmet is famous around the world, according to early incarnations of the character, it was not supposed to be a permanent fixture at first. George Lucas apparently envisioned the character with a black silk scarf that would cover his face. Early sketches showed one iteration with a helmet that might be used in space or when transporting between ships. Ultimately, the call was made to make the helmet and mask apart of the character itself. What do you think Darth Vader would look like without his signature helmet?
9. Vader's Helmet Was Historically Inspired
Speaking of helmets, Vader's wasn't just drawn up out of thin air. There was some very real and historical inspiration for that iconic headgear. Darth Vader's costume designer, John Mollo, apparently took inspiration from real-life second world war Nazi uniforms. When looking for inspiration for an antagonist, that's probably the best place to start looking for designs. There is just this innate sense of dread you get from those designs, especially after seeing all those World War II documentaries!
10. George Lucas May Have Ripped Off Jack Kirby
According to some, George Lucas took the entire idea of the father-son relationship of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker from comic book legend Jack Kirby. The claim is that there was a meeting between the two creative giants before Star Wars was in its formative stages. Jack supposedly lets it slip that he's working on a series that we now know as "New Gods" where a character Orion is fighting a larger-than-life enemy who turns out to be his father. While other claims suggest that the idea of Vader and Anakin didn't come about until after A New Hope had even come out. The comparisons between the two storylines do seem to be quite striking.
11. His Story Isn't Over Yet...
Darth Vader's story is over, right? Well, no actually. Darth Vader's actions are still resonating out across the galaxy like a supernova. For example, The First Order is a result of his decision to kill his master, Darth Sidious, in order to save the life of his son. His grandson, Ben Solo, or Kylo Ren, is deeply affected by the legacy of Anakin Skywalker, which has shaped and will continue to shape his actions as the Skywalker Saga continues with Episode VIII. Even the story of his birth has massive repercussions. There are fan theories that claim Supreme Leader Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis, the Sith Lord who mentored Palpatine. If this is true, it would make sense why he was able to sway Ben Solo to the Dark Side. The possibilities are endless here. Anakin Skywalker is the central character of the whole saga, and his actions will continue to dictate the motives and plots of the movies to come.