There was sad news this past weekend for Star Wars fans, as David Prowse – known for physically portraying Darth Vader in the original film trilogy – passed away on 28th November, aged 85. Yet a number of Star Wars: The Old Republic players decided to mark the occasion in a rather wholesome way, by gathering in-game to hold a minute’s silence for the actor.
As you can see in the video below, dozens of players flocked to Sith capital Dromund Kaas last night to remember Prowse, with many making their characters kneel while paying their respects. It seems the vast majority were able to hold the silence (aside from one guild recruiter, as ever), and the minute ended with a round of applause. “Thank you very much. No one is ever really gone,” said player Jemorri as they brought the minute’s silence to a close.
Once the solemn service was over, however, things got a little more raucous, with players letting off fireworks, bringing out their lightsabers, and having a boogie. With a fair helping of Sith lightning, of course.
Before taking on the role of Darth Vader, Prowse was a heavyweight weightlifting champion, and it was his imposing physique and fitness training that helped land him roles in films such as A Clockwork Orange (1971), along with a number of BBC productions including Doctor Who (1972), As You Like It (1978) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1981). He was also known for playing the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero used in a road safety campaign for kids in the ’70s, and was awarded an MBE in 2000 for his services to charity and road safety.
Prowse’s West Country accent meant he was deemed unsuitable for voicing Darth Vader, with the role of voice actor given to James Earl Jones. Despite this, his menacing presence and physicality brought a real sense of dread to Vader. Reacting to the news of Prowse’s death, George Lucas said Prowse had “an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence”.
SWTOR players have previously held similar services for other Star Wars actors, including tributes to Carrie Fisher in 2016, and memorial services for Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, who passed away in May last year. It’s a sweet way to remember the work of actors who were childhood icons for many, and while the occasion is a sad one, it’s nice to see the community react in such a compassionate way.