David Prowse is best known as the man behind the mask of Star Wars‘ iconic villain Darth Vader. But in 1978, in this Sunnyvale, Calif. newspaper, he played another role… spoiler. Vin over at Retroist is who you can thank for this treasure from the past (or Vin’s mother, at least). The newspaper clipping survived all these years and features a snippet with David Prowse where the Darth Vader actor manages to spoil the twist in The Empire Strikes Back two years before it premiered. Here’s Vin’s reaction to reading the piece as a 7-year-old Star Wars fan:
[My] mother was good to keep an eye out for Star Wars news – and when this particular item showed up in our local paper, she cut it out for me. I still have it to this day. And, it was my first introduction to spoilers. In late 1978, David Prowse revealed that he was Luke’s father – two years before Empire Strikes Back hit theaters. In retrospect, I wonder how George Lucas felt about this. Since there was no internet in 1978, he probably never knew that David was running around spilling the beans. This article was quite the shock to my 7 year old system. Could this be correct? Were they related? Was David playing a joke? Was the post-Watergate media trustworthy? I had to wait two years to find out.
I bet that the paper was overrun with angry letters complaining about spoilers and the decisions of Jimmy Carter. All connected, of course. It’s a little hard to believe considering what we know about the original trilogy and its production, but perhaps Prowse was just really good at guessing? You can round up all the personal details about the clipping over at the Retroist and check out the newspaper article below, complete with a much younger Prowse: