Did David Prowse Really Know Vader Was Luke's Father When He Spoiled It?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: David Prowse revealed a secret he was entrusted with when he told a crowd of fans that Darth Vader was going to be revealed to be Luke Skywalker's father.

As I have discussed in a few different forms over the years, George Lucas did not originally intend for Darth Vader to be Luke Skywalker's father. However, eventually he came up with the idea and it was a closely guarded secret for 1980's The Empire Strikes Back.

That's why it is so shocking with the website, The Retroist, came across this 1978 article where David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader, seemingly revealed to a group of fans the truth about Luke's parentage!

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Note that Prowse says "possible plot," but that's so oddly on point that it has led to people suggesting that Prowse literally spoiled the ending of Empire Strikes Back two years before it came out!

Now, if you want to suggest that a spoiler that turns out to be correct IS a spoiler whether intended or not, then fair enough, he did, in fact, spoil the film, but obviously the REAL question is whether Prowse knew what he was talking about and THEN spoiled it or if this was just a lucky guess.

I'm going with lucky guess.

The director of Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kirshner, said that Prowse was never told:

The actor who played Vader did not know that Luke was his son; when we did the scene, the only one who knew was Mark, and I told him right before we shot it. We didn't want anybody to know, so i had the page with the real dialogue put away. So the actor playing Vader was saying other words; I gave him other words. He was saying something totally different, which of course we replaced later.

When promoting his autobiography, Prowse says that he did not know:

That was not the only time he was kept in the dark.

David had no idea he would be revealed as the father of hero Luke Skywalker in the second film, The Empire Strikes Back, until he saw it on the big screen.

Security was tight around the scripts after information leaked out early in filming and Lucas may have wanted to keep the film's big twist closely guarded.

"They must have given me some completely different line, because it was all going to be overdubbed," David said.

"When I went to see the movie I suddenly discovered I was Luke's father.

"That's my favourite scene of all."

Prowse was interviewed in 2006 about the big "I am your father" reveal and he also said he had no idea:

In the Empire Strikes Back you also didn’t know the line ‘no Luke, I am your father’ was going to be in the movie. You said ‘No Luke, Obi-Wan is your father’.

No, I never said that. I just said ‘come and join me and the Dark Side’. I had no dialogue referring to Luke’s father. I have never seen a script for the Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. Everything was kept a secret because they were afraid things would leak. I think only George, Gary Kurtz and Mark Hamill knew.

What do you think about the fact that Darth Vader is Luke’s father?

I think it’s a wonderful twist.

And what about the fact that they didn’t tell you?

I think it’s a lack of trust. They were afraid I was going to say something in an interview. While if you’re one of the main characters the last thing you would do is give such information away. I was very careful so I hated the lack of trust.

Considering that the screenplay was still being written at the time that Prowse spilled the beans, I'm sticking with lucky guess.

So the legend would be...


Thanks to the Retroist for the newspaper article and thanks to Phantom42 for the interview links!

Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film. Click here for more legends specifically about Star Wars movies!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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