Netflix Recommendation: “I Am Your Father” Is Another Piece To the Star Wars Story
Any fan of Star Wars is extremely aware of who David Prowse is. The British actor played Darth Vader in the three original Star Wars movies yet his face was never seen. At the end of the original trilogy, in Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader’s identity was going to be revealed and this was also going to be Prowse’s big moment. Unfortunately, much like they ultimately did with the voice of Vader, Lucas and company hired another actor to play the part at the big moment, leaving Prowse as nothing more than someone behind the mask. As a young man I had heard most of this story and felt bad for Prowse; kind of. I mean, here’s an actor that gets to play the most iconic villain in all of cinema history yet not many people would be able to point him out in a crowd. Documentarian Toni Bestard’s main focus, however, isn’t getting to the bottom of who David Prowse really is, but why he was ultimately blacklisted from the Star Wars family and also that he may have been the creator of the biggest twist ever seen on screen.
Bestard gives us the usual “it all began” story for Prowse’s life: how he started out as a competitive body builder, how that led to roles in classic films such as ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Clockwork Orange’, and how he ended up snagging the role of Darth Vader, but Bestard is just as curious as I was when watching it how Prowse was excommunicated by Star Wars director George Lucas and whether or not re-dubbing his voice with that of James Earl Jones, or shooting Vader’s reveal with actor Sebastian Shaw, was a slight against Prowse or just what was right for the films. While Bestard clearly leans heavier in one direction, he leaves it open-ended enough, and allows those involved with the movies to have their say, that the decision of what might have really happened is ultimately up to the viewer to decide.
“I Am Your Father” is yet another piece of the Star Wars puzzle, and one every fan of the films should watch, but it does just as much building Prowse up as a human being as the history of the films did to bring him down to just a character actor. We see his history with the Green Cross Code and how he remained a family man through and through. Never one to feel sorry for himself, Prowse still appears to be a gentle giant and that makes everything that happened to him feel that much worse. Even in the Star Wars community, George Lucas is somewhat of a villain: this documentary doesn’t do much to change that.
It’s hard feeling bad for someone that played a character in a movie, but it’s just as hard not sympathizing with David Prowse.