The 1977 red carpet premiere of George Lucas’s Star Wars should have been the moment of greatest triumph in Dave Prowse’s life. Instead it proved to be the cruelest betrayal. This became horribly clear minutes in when Darth Vader – the character George Lucas had sought out the 6’ 6” Englishman to portray – spoke for the first time. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness – that’s not me. I wonder what they’ve done?’” Prowse, who has passed away after a short illness at age 85, would recall. What Lucas had done was hire James Earl Jones to redub Vader’s dialogue, originally delivered by Prowse in his West Country accent and muffled by that iconic black helmet. Apparently it was the rural twang that really got in the way. Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia, is said to have referred to Prowse on set as “Darth Farmer”. “It wasn’t until afterwards that I tackled George,” Prowse lamented. “He said, ‘We got James Earl Jones to come in’.” The tragedy of David Prowse’s life was that he loved Star Wars almost as much as Lucas. The movie’s A-list cast had worked tirelessly to escape the shadow of the Jedi juggernaut. Through the Eighties, Harrison Ford, in particular, seemed to turn puce with irritation whenever Han Solo was mentioned. Prowse, though, adored Star Wars and Darth Vader. And when he and Lucas had a falling out – not directly related to James Earl Jones, though it can’t have helped – the former body-builder took it personally. And now, after struggles with arthritis, prostate cancer and dementia, he has taken the feud to the grave with him. “People ask, ‘What went wrong with George Lucas?’ but to be honest, I still don’t really know,” he told the Sun in 2015. “All I know is that I am one of the film’s best characters. It was Darth Vader people talked about the most, not Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher.” Lucasfilm – the Star Wars studio which Lucas sold to Disney in 2012 – barred him from attending official Star Wars conventions in 2010 and thus interfered with his ability to make a living (like many on the sci-fi convention circuit Prowse's income came largely from signing autographs). The rumour was that Lucas had never been able to forgive Prowse for supposedly leaking to journalists the big reveal in the Empire Strikes Back that – 40-year-old spoiler alert – Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father.