David Prowse, who played the man in the Darth Vader suit during the original Star Wars trilogy, has been banned from Lucasfilm-approved Star Wars conventions, he said in a statement on his website. The statement was posted at the end of June and was originally reported by TheForce.net, but the news has only now received mainstream media coverage.
The actor announced that he wouldn't be appearing at the upcoming Celebration V event after being told of the ban by event organisers. "It is with regret that I have been informed by my friends at C2 Ventures, Ben and Phillip, that I am not to be invited to C5 this year or any other Lucasfilm associated events," he wrote.
He claims he was told he had "burnt too many bridges between Lucasfilm and [him]self."
Prowse has been outspoken over the years about his unhappiness with Lucas replacing his voice as Darth Vader with the voice of James Earl Jones, which he claims he hadn't been told during production. He was further upset that he was never considered to play Anakin Skywalker when he removes the Vader mask at the end of Return of the Jedi. Hayden Christensen stepped awkwardly into the suit for Revenge of the Sith.
Prowse is a regular fixture at Star Wars and sci-fi conventions, and has made something of a cottage industry out of sales of his autograph, always signed, "David Prowse IS Darth Vader," apparently to clear up any confusion caused by the swapped voice.
He's parlayed this income into tremendous support for arthritis charities – a condition he's battled since age 13. He has also supported prostate cancer charities before and after recovering from a diagnosis of the disease last year.
Prowse still has a packed schedule of non-Lucasfilm affiliated conventions on the agenda, but this latest blow seems to suggest that outspoken criticism of the flannelled-shirt one isn't tolerated.