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Per Wikipedia:

Vader actor David Prowse explains that he did his own swordplay in Star Wars, but when the movie became a hit deserving of sequels, “having one of the principals do his own stunts made (the filmmakers) very weird from an insurance point of view.”

Did David Prowse do the lightsaber duel between Kenobi and Vader in Star Wars: A New Hope?

  • I've been digging, and it looks like there may be a mention of David Prowse doing the fighting in "Star Wars" and being replaced by Bob Anderson in the following two movies because he was breaking the prop lightsabers. The mention, if it exists, seems to be in the featurette "The Birth of the Lightsaber". I cannot find a transcript of it. – called2voyage Aug 2 '16 at 14:13
  • 2
    They were worried they wouldn't be able to find another person who was 6'5" and wouldn't be seen or heard at all for the duration of the film? Seems like an odd concern. – TylerH Aug 19 '16 at 15:36
  • Agree with @TylerH - he was almost something of a quasi-stuntman in his role to begin with. – PoloHoleSet Dec 26 '17 at 15:08
  • Reading this, it seems the question answers itself. You quote Wikipedia saying that David Prowse did his own swordplay in Episode IV, and then ask if he did his own swordplay for a scene in Episode IV. What is it you're really asking? – TylerH Dec 26 '17 at 18:49
  • Since when Wikipedia is a trustworthy source? More, even David Prowse's own recollection is questionable. – chx Dec 26 '17 at 18:52
4
+50

Cinefex 1983 says

During principal photography, actors Mark Hamill and David Prowse used mockup swords with solid shafts — or, in some cases, wielded only the hilt. In postproduction.. Visual Concept Engineering — under supervision of ILM alumnus Peter Kuran — painstakingly rotoscoped each frame and produced the glowing shafts which characterize the traditional Jedi sidearm.

The Wikipedia claim is based upon the 1994 article British Olympic fencer Bob Anderson trains actors for ''The Three Musketeers'' which says:

”That’s not very well known,” Anderson says. Vader actor David Prowse explains that he did his own swordplay in Star Wars, but when the movie became a hit deserving of sequels, ”having one of the principals do his own stunts made (the filmmakers) very weird from an insurance point of view.”

  • This doesn't seem to actually answer the question asked; it just repeats what is already in the question. Though that's partially forgivable; OP asks a question his own quote already answers... – TylerH Dec 26 '17 at 18:50
1

David Prowse did duel in Star Wars (1977) but was replaced in the next two original trilogy sequels by fencer/fight choreographer Bob Anderson

I am trying to dig up as much information as possible, but based on my memory of this all, there are a few factors that I have dug up details on:

  1. Details of David Prowse not Dueling in Later Films was Kept Secret: According to Mark Hamill in a 1983 interview in Starlog magazine: “Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader's fighting. It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) George (Lucas) I didn’t think it was fair any more. Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It’s ridiculous to preserve the myth that it’s all done by one man.” The reason this was a “secret” is George Lucas felt it would hinder David Prowse’s career if he was seen as not being in the Darth Vader suit all the time. They wanted to preserve the myth that Darth Vader was played by one man.

  2. Bob Anderson’s Assistant Clarifies it All: Leon Hill—Bob Anderson’s former assistant—bluntly states that Anderson stepped in during the key fight scenes in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi: “David Prowse wasn’t very good with a sword and Bob couldn’t get him to do the moves. Fortunately, Bob could just don the costume and do it himself.”

So in the end—if you read between the lines—David Prowse did duel in the first film, but didn’t in the other two films…

Here is a pic of David Prowse and Alec Guiness practicing for their duel in the Star Wars (1977):

A pic of David Prowse and Alec Guiness practicing for their duel.

And here is a pic of Mark Hamill and Bob Anderson practicing for their duel in The Empire Strikes Back (1983):

Mark Hamill and Bob Anderson practicing for their duel.

  • Please add sources for the photos. (How do we know these are the actors practising and not mucking around or taking lessons?) – Oddthinking Dec 25 '17 at 10:58

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