Darth Vader is one of the best on-screen villains of all-time, in one of the biggest film franchises ever. With that kind of exposure you would think that you know everything there is to know about the Sith Lord. You might, but that is no need to Force choke me just yet. With Star Wars: The Last Jedi just around the corner, it is time you get better acquainted with Emperor Palpatine’s bestie. Here are 10 facts about Darth Vader that only the biggest Star Wars fans might know.
1 Orson Welles was supposed to voice Darth Vader
It is hard to imagine anyone voicing Vader except James Earl Jones, but it’s true. According to Jones, Orson Welles was George Lucas’ first pick for the voice of the Sith Lord, but feared that his voice was too recognizable to audiences. Whether this would have worked is anyone’s guess, but it would have drastically changed the voice of the Sith Lord for the worse.
2 Vader is only in A New Hope for 10 minutes
He is one of the most-cherished characters of the franchise, but Vader was only in A New Hope for 10 minutes. It is hard to believe that is all the screen time he got, but 10 minutes was all it took to leave his mark on audiences. Of course, his role grew in subsequent films.
3 Darth Vader is the only human character to appear in every Star Wars film in some way
Here is another that is hard to believe, from a franchise with so many memorable characters. He was young in the prequels, was a Sith Lord in all three of the original trilogy, and his helmet showed up in The Force Awakens. He even made an epic appearance in Rogue One. Will the Vader trend continue in The Last Jedi and beyond? With Kylo Ren’s obsession with his grandfather, you can bet we will continue to hear about Vader for many more films.
4 The final scene from Rogue One involving Vader chasing the Rebels for the Death Star plans wasn’t supposed to be in the final cut for the film
Some will say that this was the best scene from Rogue One, and it’s hard to argue that. The scene was great, and featured the Sith Lord slaughtering Rebels at whim. It is no surprise as to why the entire Galaxy feared him. But this scene almost didn’t happen. When test audiences were show Rogue One, they felt that it needed more. That is when the idea was brought up to Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy four months before the release date of the film. She loved it, and the rest is history. The end of the film was recut, and CGI helped us with Leia. It was a finale that led right into the beginning of A New Hope, and gave fans the continuity they needed. The scene took only three days to shoot.
5 Vader was originally supposed to wear a black scarf instead of a helmet
It is hard to see the Sith Lord wearing anything except his trademark helmet, but in early concepts, he was supposed to wear a black silk scarf covering his face. Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie drew designs of the helmet for Vader to wear as he traveled from ship to ship, but nothing more. It was later decided that he would wear the helmet all the time. Lucas wanted the helmet and armor to have samurai influences, while costume designer John Mollo added in Nazi uniform design elements as well.
6 Darth Vader’s children were kept top-secret on set
Keeping big film secrets on-set is not something that only The Force Awakens director does. George Lucas didn’t want any of the cast and crew to know that Vader was Luke and Leia’s father. They went through amazing measures to prevent anyone from finding this detail out. Mark Hamill recently stated that he, Lucas, James Earl Jones, and Irwin Kershner knew the twist. Hamill was threatened not to leak the twist to anyone, including Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. David Prowse, the actor inside of the Vader suit, even spoke a different line (“Obi-Wan killed your father,”) on set to keep the secret safe until the film hit theaters.
7 Vader has no father
I know this is one that most Star Wars fans know, and it is even stated in The Phantom Menace, but it is a detail that should be visited again. Shmi Skywalker tells Qui-Gon Jinn that Anakin has no father. This would infer that he was born of immaculate conception, and can be the Chosen One the prophecy foretold. In the expanded universe, Palpatine and his master Darth Plagueis are toying with midichlorian manipulation about the same time that Anakin is conceived. They are trying to create a being who is born purely from the Dark Side of the Force. If Anakin is this child, their plan backfires. Anakin goes on to destroy the last remaining Sith when he kills the Emperor and then subsequently dies.
8 Darth Vader is tied with C-3PO for most limbs lost on-screen
Losing limbs is commonplace in Star Wars movies, but two characters are tied for most limbs lost. They would be the Sith Lord and the droid C-3PO. With 3PO having a red arm in The Force Awakens, it could be assumed that he took the lead from Vader, but we are talking about limbs lost on-screen. As long as the gold rust bucket doesn’t loose another limb, he and Vader will forever share the title.
9 It took 13 people to bring Vader to life
This might sound like a fact that is hard to believe at first. The man in the suit most of the time is David Prowse. He is voiced by James Earl Jones, and Bob Anderson did the fight scenes in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. If you then wrap all three different actors who played Anakin Skywalker, then you have 6 people. In different spin-offs, games, and other movies he has been voiced by seven additional actors. This makes the grand total of people who were Vader to lucky number 13.
10 Imperial Propaganda said that Anakin Skywalker died during the battle at the Jedi Temple
As said in the book Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, immediately following Revenge of the Sith, only Obi-Wan and Yoda know of Anakin’s betrayal and fall to the Dark Side. In fact, most of the galaxy believe that the Chosen One died heroically trying to defend the Jedi Temple. Later, Imperial propaganda would back this up, as Vader desperately tried to erase all existence of Anakin Skywalker. He was consumed by hate and longed to forget his past. He loathed his previous Master, Obi-Wan, and wished to forget his embarrassing defeat.
The Empire also had the galaxy believing that it was the Jedi who plotted to overthrow the new Galactic Empire, and were to blame for the Clone Wars. Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side remained unknown, which is why it comes as such a surprise that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. The entire galaxy believes that Anakin died years ago.
Do you know of any other great facts about Darth Vader that we didn’t talk about? Let us know in the comments section below.
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