One of the headline events for Salt Lake Comic Con was the appearance of both David Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader on screen in the original Star Wars trilogy, and Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed Chewbacca.
This Q&A event was moderated by Bryan Young, who read the prepared questions to the two stars, ranging from how they got their respective parts to dispelling and confirming certain tidbits regarding what occurred during production.
“The call actually came from the managing director from 20th Century Fox,” Prowse says. “I went up to the 20th Century Fox offices, met up with George [Lucas], who I thought looked like a young student, and he took me into this room and showed me all the concept drawings for this film he was going to do.”
On an interesting side note, Prowse was offered a choice between the roles of Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
“I said don’t say anymore George. I’ll have the villain’s part,” Prowse says. “When you think back, all the movies you have ever seen where there are good guys and bad guys, you always remember the bad guy.”
In Mayhew’s case, the offer came shortly after Mayhew had worked on the film “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.”
“In George’s office, he had a sofa, so I sat down on the sofa [and] waited for him to come through the door,” Mayhew says. “He and Gary Kurtz walked in. I did the natural thing and stood up. Basically, that was the interview.”
The remainder of the event comprised of more questions, answers, and anecdotes and ended with a brief word from filmmaker Ryan Ziegler, who’s running a Kickstarter to fund a documentary that’s following Mayhew as he prepares to undergo surgery to replace his knees and allow him to walk unassisted.
Mayhew’s appearance at Salt Lake Comic Con marks his last convention appearance prior to undergoing the invasive surgeries and physical therapy.
“They created new hardware just to fit his knees,” Ziegler says. “A standard person’s knees are size 3 or 4. Peter’s are actually size 11.”
At the time of this writing, the documentary is over $6,000 shy of their $42,000 goal.