Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill has delivered a charming tribute to the late Dave Prowse, who played his big screen adversary Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy.
The Bristol-born bodybuilder provided the on-set performance for the iconic villain, with James Earl Jones providing the Sith Lord’s distinctive voice.
Prowse, who also appeared in A Clockwork Orange and as the Green Cross Code Man, passed away last month at the age of 85.
In an interview with Empire, Hamill described his 6ft 6in co-star as a “gentle giant” who will be remembered as “a kind and genuine person”.
The 69-year-old said the first time he saw Prowse was in the “stunning” full costume, which exceeded Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art thanks to the actor’s “magnificent presence”.
He added: “Although we didn’t know it at the time, we were seeing the creation of one of the most iconic, enduring and feared villains of all time.
“That’s a tribute to him and to George Lucas’s storyline, because he’s only in that original film for less than 10 minutes.”
Hamill added that Prowse was a very kind man and “the opposite of everything Darth Vader was”.
He said: “It seems so ironic that someone as ruthless, cold-hearted and evil as Darth Vader was portrayed by someone who was really a gentle giant.”
Tributes were paid to Prowse from all over the world when the news of his death was announced.
In recognition of the star’s achievements, residents of his hometown of Bristol briefly placed a statue of Darth Vader on the empty plinth which previously housed the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.
Star Wars creator George Lucas offered a tribute of his own, praising the physicality Prowse was able to bring to the role of Vader.
The director said: “He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence.
“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”
Watch: Tributes flood in for Dave Prowse