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What a difference a voice makes. James Earl Jones lent his signature baritone to George Lucas’ evil creation, Darth Vader, and one of cinema’s most iconic villains was born. But what if Lord Vader were voiced, instead, by Jim Cummings, the voice actor best known for lending his pipes to the gentle, hungry Winnie the Pooh. Well, Star Wars would have sounded a lot like the above clip.
The clip has been around for a while, but is so amusing, we wanted to share in case you hadn’t caught it yet. Cummings is appearing at Connecticon 2013, reading actual dialogue from the Star Wars trilogy (with a few Pooh improvisations). YouTube user Ian James shared the above footage. It’s the best version we could find, with the strongest audio of Cummings’ terrific line reading. Listen to the crowd go nuts at the 35-seocnd mark, when Cummings says, "Honey." It’s the equivalent of hearing Jimmy Page begin to play the opening guitar riff to Stairway to Heaven.
Pooh’s voice doesn’t fit Vader’s visage. Neither, however, did the voice of David Prowse, the actor in Vader’s suit for the duration of the shoot. Here’s footage of Prowse speaking Darth Vader’s lines before Jones added the husky menace in post-production:
Of course, giving Vader a new voice over the years has become a fun exercise for the YouTube generation. Here’s Darth L. Jackson (with a NSFW take on the classic overlord):
And one of my personal favorites, Darth Schwarzenegger:
Sadly, J.J. Abrams won’t have Darth Vader to play around with as he plunges into Star Wars: Episode VII. To that end, we have been waiting for a new Star Wars villain to step up and fill Darth’s massive black boots. Darth Maul was a good start, but Lucas removed him from the series before he had a chance to cast his long, dual-lightsaber-wielding shadow. Could Adam Driver create a villain so cruel and evil, we’re still talking about him 40 years after his debut? We’ll find out soon enough.