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It’s hard to think about the Star Wars franchise without Darth Vader immediately coming to mind. Both visually distinctive and appropriately terrifying, Darth Vader shined as the main antagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy and quickly became one of pop culture’s greatest villains. We have David Prowse and James Earl Jones to thank for bringing this iconic character to life, but what if filmmaker Steven Spielberg had scored the role instead?
Steven Spielberg founded Amblin Entertainment 40 years ago, so of course whoever’s running the production company’s Instagram account would be into the idea of the big boss playing Darth Vader. Alas, while Spielberg had already made it big in Hollywood ahead of Star Wars: A New Hope’s release as the director of Jaws, he just didn’t have the acting chops to bring Vader to life. Still, at least his buddy George Lucas let him wear the Vader costume years later, an honor that hasn’t been bestowed on a lot of people.
But again, it took two actors to give us the Darth Vader we know and love to hate rather than just one. In the original Star Wars trilogy, David Prowse physically portrayed the character, while James Earl Jones voiced him. Jones later vocally reprised the role in Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One and the Rebels animated series, while other actors who have donned the Vader suit on camera include Bob Anderson (who did stunts on the Original Trilogy), Spencer Wilding and Hayden Christensen.
That’s right, in addition to playing Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Hayden Christensen also got to go full Darth Vader in the latter movie. He’s also reprising the role for Disney+’s upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which is set 10 years after Episode III. As for Steven Spielberg, while playing Darth Vader wasn’t in the cards, he did get to contribute to the Star Wars franchise as a “guest director” on Revenge of the Sith.
Still, it’s not like Steven Spielberg hasn’t had enough to keep himself occupied over the years, even if you look solely at his directorial credits. His most recent movies include Bridge of Spies, The BFG, The Post and Ready Player One, and his West Side Story remake is set to arrive on December 10. Spielberg is also gearing up to work on a movie loosely based on his childhood, and while he’s no longer directing Indiana Jones 5 (Logan’s James Mangold has inherited those duties) like he did the first four movies, he is still attached as an executive producer.
Meanwhile, if you’re curious about news concerning upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows, stay locked on CinemaBlend for the latest updates. The newest on-screen offering, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, premiered on Disney+ on Tuesday, with new episodes following every Friday. Use this link to sign up for the streaming service if you’re not already subscribed.