In 1978, Darth Vader's actor spoiled the Empire Strikes Back's ending to a local newspaper

Illustration for article titled In 1978, Darth Vaders actor spoiled the Empire Strikes Backs ending to a local newspaper

In 1978, David Prowse, better known as Darth Vader's body, spoiled The Empire Strikes Back to a cheering crowd in Berkeley, California...two years before Empire came out. But did Prowse actually know the ending, or was this sheer coincidence?

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Here's how vinvectrex from The Retroist describes the above clipping:

[M]y mother was good to keep an eye out for Star Wars news – and when this particular item showed up in our local paper, she cut it out for me. I still have it to this day. And, it was my first introduction to spoilers. In late 1978, David Prowse revealed that he was Luke's father – two years before Empire Strikes Back hit theaters. In retrospect, I wonder how George Lucas felt about this. Since there was no internet in 1978, he probably never knew that David was running around spilling the beans.

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The thing is, Prowse probably wasn't aware of Vader's paternity shenanigans. When it came time to film Vader and Luke's battle on Bespin, the script called for Vader to tell Luke, ''Obi-Wan killed your father''; James Earl Jones' real reveal was dubbed in later. So that leaves a strong possibility that Prowse was fabricating spoilers for an adulating crowd of hundreds (he does mention that the paternity twist comes in the third film). Either way, it's pretty hilarious, and the fact that he guessed right is icing on the cake.

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DISCUSSION

Is it coincidence? That's hard to tell.

Everyone involved in the production of the first three films has been extremely contradictory regarding how they were made. On the one hand, you have Kurtz, who said there was only going to be one film. On the other hand, you have Hamill, who said Lucas asked him to play Luke in a sequel trilogy and on yet another you have Lucas saying that he only intended there to be six films.

On the one hand you have Prowse spoiling Vader was Luke's father two years early. On the other hand, you have several others saying that Vader and Anakin weren't the same person until several drafts into the script of ESB. It really isn't much different.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the element of Vader as Luke's father probably already had made it into the script (since filming began in early 1979 and this is supposed to be from late 1978) and that Prowse simply caught early wind of it by luck.