Question about Darth Vader on Star Wars...

I was wondering if James Earl Jones was even on set during the filming of the Star Wars series? He was just the voice, and someone else was just the body of Darth Vader.

Who got paid more? The body didn’t have any lines and the voice didn’t have any camera time.

The body must of had a funny voice - I picture it to be like Curly from the Three Stooges.

The body of Darth Vader was David Prowse. Jones was never on set, in fact didn’t get screen credit. Jones himself didn’t think he deserved a credit.
Prowse, for his part, didn’t find out a different voice was going to be used until after filming. He did read the lines, though. His delivery was described by Carrie Fisher as “Darth Farmer” due to his country English accent. Prowse also didn’t find out Vader was Luke’s father until he saw the film in the theater.
Sebastian Shaw played the Vader’s face in ROTJ, and the sword fighting instructor stood in for a few fight scenes in ESB.

The real Darth Vader:

Darth speaking in Prowse’s voice:

A lot of tall men can walk around wearing a cape and helmet. Only one person in the world sounds like James Earl Jones. Who do you think got paid more?

For a real giggle, check out this youtube video:

It consists of Vader Star Wars scenes with James Earl Jones dialogue from other venues dubbed in.

How could that be? I thought Prowse was still doing Vader’s dialog during filming?

In this video, James Earl Jones says he got paid only seven grand for his voice acting in Star Wars. Considering his talent and the level of recognition he has today, when he first said “seven thousand dollars,” I was expecting him to finish with “per day,” or maybe “per line!” I guess he wasn’t as big a name in 1977.

I’m sure they had to pay him a lot more for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi after the success of the first one. :stuck_out_tongue:

Lucas wrote different dialog for Prowse to say while filming that scene. Apparently, Prowse had a reputation as a blabbermouth, and Lucas didn’t trust him to keep the big reveal from Empire under his hat. IIRC, instead of, “I am your father,” Prowse said, “Obi Wan was your father.”


Several sources mention that the line was “No, Obi-Wan killed your father”

Thanks Miller and GIGO.

I think it had less to do with Prowse’s alleged reputation and more with the fact that this secret was HUGE and if he spoke the true lines, everyone on set would be aware of it, and the likelihood of a leak in general would jump exponentially. The DVD documentary has Kershner recount how the only one who knew was Mark (since his reaction had to be genuine), and that JEJones didn’t even believe it when he spoke it in ADR (thinking it was a Vader trick and not the truth).

Even if it was “per day”, the ADR sessions wouldn’t have been more than 1 or 2 days anyway. And JEJones already had an Oscar nomination by then, so he may not have been a box office superstar, but he was held in high esteem. I think the amount of $ was more a reflection of how little confidence the studio had in the final product, and I’d wager he got a more generous salary for the sequels.

Then again, one was on set every day for months, while the other put in probably 2 days worth of work, max. Jones’ contribution is unquestionably essential to the character, but I think it would be a mistake to underestimate how difficult convincing pantomime can be.

THAT is hilarious! He sounds like Rick Moranis in Spaceballs!

What I didn’t realise until I saw the DVD documentaries was that Chewbacca had actual lines of dialogue, which Peter Mayhew spoke on set. Though I’m sure he knew it would be replaced with growls.

Well, Prowse did speak the lines, so it’s not strictly pantomime. Still, acting behind a mask and thus being unable to rely on facial expressions does require similar skills.

Hell, he probably got ten times as much just for “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

(nah, forget it)

IIRC, they only told Mark a few minutes before doing the scene. I swear I also read somewhere that Prowse DID end up “blabbing” about Obi-Wan. Heh.