Star Wars script shows how Darth Vader’s big Empire Strikes Back moment was kept secret

Star Wars script shows how Darth Vader's big Empire Strikes Back moment was kept secret
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back. Pic credit: Lucasfilm

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back had one of the biggest twists in any movie at the time of its release.

After introducing the evil Darth Vader in the first Star Wars movie, and having him kill Obi-Wan Kenobi, it was clear he was a very bad man.

The movie also had Obi-Wan explain that he trained Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker, but that Vader had killed Anakin.

It was all a lie.

Star Wars: ‘I Am Your Father’ moment

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke and Vader battled as the young Jedi tried to save his friends. Luke Skywalker lost his hand and then Vader stopped the attack.

Darth Vader asked Luke Skywalker to stop fighting and to join him. He then revealed the truth and told Luke that he did not kill his father. Darth Vader said, “I am your father,” and Luke let himself fall, preferring that fate to joining the Dark Side.

Only two or three people knew this twist, and David Prowse, the man who portrayed Darth Vader was not one of them. Prowse, who died last year, had a personal copy of his The Empire Strikes Back script.

That script is up for auction and it includes the page that showed what he read when he was acting in this iconic scene.

The Empire Strikes Back script

Here is a look at what Prowse’s script said:

“There is no escape,” Vader said. “Don’t make me destroy you. The Emperor is strong with The Force – but The Force runs strong in the Skywalker line and together we will overthrow him. I will complete your training and we will rule the Empire as equals.”

It then had him reach out to Luke in place of the line “I am your father.”

Luke screamed “No,” and the script continued:

“Luke, we will be the most powerful in the Galaxy,” Vader said. “You will have everything you could ever want … do not resist … it is our destiny.”

That is when Luke fell.

Empire Strikes Back script
Empire Strikes Back script. Pic credit: Courtesy Auctioneer of East Bristol Auctions

This was all actor David Prowse knew until he saw the finished movie. While Prowse was the actor who portrayed Darth Vader in the movie, he did not voice the character.

James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader and his lines were very different from the ones in the script. Jones was one of the few people – rumored to be only three or four in the Star Wars movie cast – who knew the big twist.

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