The voice of Darth Vader is so iconic.
And it could have sounded so different if George Lucas went with his initial choice for the voice.
Orson Welles — the director and star of Citizen Kane, who by the 1970s had become a Hollywood outcast — was considered to voice Darth Vader. Welles had a commanding voice. Decades earlier, he had caused mass hysteria with his War of the Worlds radio address.
Instead of Welles, the vocal role was given to James Earl Jones — a respected stage and film actor who starred in the 1970 movie The Great White Hope — to pair with David Prowse’s on-screen performance as the sinister leader of the Imperial Forces.
"“Originally, George Lucas wanted Orson Welles,” Jones said in a 1995 interview. “But he decided Orson would be too recognizable, so he asked me. Nobody dreamed the films would be a hit. All the actors got a percentage and they became millionaires. But I was just a voice, special effect. I got a flat fee of $9,000 for two hours’ work. At the time, I thought it was good money.”"
Jones wasn’t even credited for A New Hope at the time, since he considered his input merely “special effects.” While the first Star Wars effort may not have paid well for Jones, his voice work as Vader — including sequels, Star Wars Rebels and prequels — has become lucrative and an iconic part of the Star Wars films.