This Darth Vader Throwback Pic Shows Hulk ‘Star Wars’ Villain Was Without Costume

Darth Vader was considered one of the most fearsome movie villains of all time when he debuted in the 1977 Star Wars. The deep voice and imposing physique combined for a terrifying portrait blending robot circuitry with a human form. It was strange, horrific, and fascinating.

Movie audiences have since realized Darth Vader was actually more than just a man. He was the voice of James Earl Jones, the design of Ralph McQuarrie, the sculpting of Brian Muir, and the stature of strongman and former Hammer Films actor David Prowse.

Prowse, for the longest time, was an unsung hero of bringing Darth Vader to life, and one of the most mysterious. However, as the prequels rolled out and the internet was rapidly adopted by an inquisitive public, the mask came off.

Today, audiences know more about David Prowse than they ever did when the original trilogy was popular. Part of that is due to the informational access of modern times, and part of it is due to the natural curiosity instilled in original viewers, who for the longest time saw the man under the helmet as an enigma.

After all, Hollywood had an obligation in those days to protect the business as much as possible. It wasn’t the type of world where you would get a show like Talking Dead immediately after a season premiere that lasts longer than the actual episode!

Studios depended on the air of authenticity.

Well, times have certainly changed, and in a recent Reddit post that made the front page of the popular social sharing site, an “Old School Cool” user by the handle of SamPhD shared a classic throwback photo that shows Darth Vader before he stalked his way onto movie screens.

The post, titled, “My Granddad (1950s) being lifted up by his old gym buddy Darth Vader (David Prowse),” shows that Prowse not only appears to have been sculpted from granite but also that he was strong enough to lift a toned male adult with a single hand as if he were a small child. If you haven’t seen it, here it is.

The pic has earned quite a few comments at this time, with some of the most popular talking about how Prowse could so easily pass for a real-life superhero.

“Looks like Captain America holding himself before the procedure,” writes one commenter in reference to the original Captain America film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Others fondly remembered roles that Prowse had outside Darth Vader and the Star Wars universe in films like A Clockwork Orange, where he played the bodyguard/medical assistant from the last part of the film.

Prowse was a British weightlifting champion for three consecutive years throughout the 1960s. He is featured in the new documentary on Netflix Elstree 1976 about the cast of extras on the original Star Wars. He was the Abominable Snowman in the Hammer Films treatment of the character. He also played the Frankenstein monster in more than one of the horror studio’s films.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with the internet, there were some commenters who chimed in with the horrors of getting old by using current photos of David Prowse to draw a comparison with hyperlinked comments like “Getting old sucks.”

Yes, time catches up with everyone. But even by today’s standards, classic Darth Vader had the type of physique most men could only hope for.

What do you think about this throwback photo, fans? Are you surprised to see the original Darth Vader was such a hulk? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Disney and Lucasfilm]

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