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Darth Vader almost played one of the best James Bond villains

One of the best James Bond villains terrified us all during our childhoods, but he might have been even more terrifying had a Star Wars legend played him.

Darth Vader actor could have been a James Bond villain

The role of Darth Vader in Star Wars took a number of talented actors to make it work, with James Earl Jone’s iconic voice giving one of the best movie villains of all time his trademark gravitas. But the man in the suit making it all happen was Bristol-born bodybuilder David Prowse.

Prowse, who passed away in 2020, had a difficult experience making the Star Wars movies and was left disappointed when the filmmakers over-dubbed his lines with Jones. However, Prowse’s level of prominence in Hollywood around this time opened up a number of doors for him.

At one stage, there was talk that he could square off against James Bond. Writing in the Big Issue, Prowse explained that he was in the frame for some big roles at the tail end of the 1970s, including several of the best action movies of the era.

He said: “I don’t go around boasting about the fact that I was Darth Vader or in three of the biggest movies of all time. I was offered the part of Conan the Barbarian before Arnold Schwarzenegger and I came very close to getting the part of Jaws in the James Bond films. I could have been Darth Vader, Conan and Jaws, how about that? But I’m happy with the one I got.”

The metal-toothed henchman Jaws appeared in two of the James Bond movies starring Roger Moore in the 1970s, debuting in The Spy Who Loved Me and returning for the widely reviled Moonraker two years later.

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Richard Kiel ended up playing the character, who is certainly one of the most memorable Bond baddies. In terms of pure physicality, Kiel was even more impressive than Prowse, standing at seven feet two inches in comparison to Prowse at a mere six feet six inches.

So the next time you’re watching your way through the James Bond movies in order, it’s worth bearing in mind that it could have been Darth Vader behind those metallic chompers.

For more on the best movies in the Star Wars world, find out who Dave Filoni thinks is the greatest Jedi and learn why George Lucas feared this Star Wars character would destroy the movie. We’ve also delved into why George Lucas was right about Star Wars, controversially.

We’ve also explained how you can watch the Star Wars movies in order and looked ahead to the new movies and best TV series coming soon to the franchise. So check out our in-depth guides to the Ahsoka release date, the Andor season 2 release date, and everything we know about the new Star Wars movies.