The word iconic is thrown around a little too liberally, but when it comes to Darth Vader, perhaps the greatest villain in all of film, that’s the most appropriate description we can come up with, nothing else fits. Everything about the Star Wars baddie is emblematic, from his sleek, black look all the way down to his lightsaber and the way he moves. And his voice, oh that voice. It’s damn near impossible to think of Vader and hear the deep, raspy rumble of James Earl Jones. His is one of the most recognizable vocal performances of all time, but it wasn’t always the case. Check out this video to hear what Darth Vader, the man with the most authoritative vocal chords in the whole galaxy, originally sounded like. It’s not what you expect.
When George Lucas was filming Star Wars, what Vader sounded like was still up in the air. For such an important character, hitting on just the right voice was both a necessity and a challenge, and one the production didn’t have a handle on right away. During shooting, David Prowse, the bodybuilder who wore the distinctive suit, was the one delivering the lines from the script and working with the other actors.