Is there anyone in the entire history of cinema more iconic than Darth Vader? The evil-villain-cum-tragic-hero of the Star Wars Saga has been a part of the popular consciousness for nearly forty years, with his menacing helmet, rasping breath and flirty sand-based conversations making an unforgettable character whose appeal spans generations. If you've never owned a piece of Vader merchandise you're definitely in the minority; there's action figures, desk lamps, slippers, watches, replica lightsabers, Mr Potato Heads, backpacks, cake tins, bowl holders, even golf club covers. Heck, you can buy a toaster that toasts his iconic fizzog onto your bread.
Star Wars is a franchise built on its tie-ins and Vader really leads the charge. He's so captivating that we've had a whole trilogy of films based off the twist of his secret identity. But things could have turned out very, very different.
With decisions made right from the character's conception through to his latest on-screen appearance, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader could have been changed beyond recognition, eight examples of which we'll look at today.
Honourable Mention - Obi-Wan Killed Your Father
Although in the pre-internet age script leaks weren't as prevalent as they are now, George Lucas was still keen to keep Episode V's big twist a secret, going to extents even the likes of J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan would find extreme.
Telling only a handful of people the truth of Luke's parentage, the screenplay replaced the saga-defining reveal with something potentially more menacing, "Obi-Wan killed your father". Mark Hamill only got told the truth just before shooting (so his on-screen shock is actually somewhat real), while all the other actors (minus James Earl Jones, obviously) didn't find out until the premiere. It was never going to be part of Vader's actual backstory, but it's fascinating that the most well known twist of all time was once treated with such protection.
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