One way to close out Star Wars Day 2021 is with an unlikely cosplay photo. Amblin took to their social media account to reveal an amazing photo of company founder Steven Spielberg in a Darth Vader costume. Frankly it's unclear if this is one of the actual Vader costumes that Lucasfilm may have had laying around, because it looks authentic even if Steven can't quite fit in it well. In the accompanying tweet, Amblin wrote: "Despite the clear casting choice right there in @starwars creator George Lucas’s closest circle of friends, The Maker went on to opt for Dave Prowse and James Earl Jones instead. Easy come, easy go, George!" You can find the image of "Darth Steven" below!
Despite his long association with George Lucas as a personal friend, and with Lucasfilm via the Indiana Jones franchise, Spielberg's work in the Star Wars franchise actually came from a distance and in an unofficial capacity. Way back in the editing phase of the original Star Wars, Spielberg was among the first to see a rough cut of the film, offering notes to Lucas and encouraging him in what he had. Years later Lucas would attempt to hire Spielberg for Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, but DGA rules prevented it and like everyone else Steven just watched the movie as a fan.
Despite the clear casting choice right there in @starwars creator George Lucas’s closest circle of friends, The Maker went on to opt for Dave Prowse and James Earl Jones instead. Easy come, easy go, George!#StarWarsDay #DarthSteven #LukeICouldveBeenYourFather @HamillHimself pic.twitter.com/Sn5am7LehH— Amblin (@amblin) May 5, 2021
“I’m never going to make a Star Wars film," Spielberg told The Toronto Sun back in 2016. "That’s not my genre. It’s certainly my buddy’s — the Thomas Edison of science fiction, George Lucas, who created the entire series. But that was never for me. I’m just a fan; I’m just with everybody else in the audience watching them.”
Spielberg would reference Star Wars frequently throughout his own films though like in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial where Elliot plays with Star Wars toys and a child dressed as Yoda is seen on Halloween night; that's not to mention the use of "Club Obi Wan" in the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to boot (aliens of E.T.'s race would also appear in one of the prequel films). It's been previously reported that Spielberg had an uncredited directorial hand in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith too, with The Making of the Revenge of the Sith author J.W. Rinzler previously confirming it, but adding "only Lucas or Spielberg could say" what he really contributed.
The Oscar winner's hand was felt even beyond the 2005 prequel though as he was the one to suggest filmmaker J.J. Abrams to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy as a potential candidate for the then untitled Star Wars: Episode VII.
“I brought J.J.’s name up," Spielberg told The Hollywood Reporter six months after The Force Awakens was released. "I thought J.J. would be the best person to direct Episode 7 and I called J.J. and said ‘Would you do it if it was offered to you?’ He said, ‘I would but my wife won’t let me ’cause she doesn’t want me to restart any more franchises.’ But I went to Kathy and asked if I could get J.J. to say yes to this would you consider it? Kathy said ‘Are you kidding? Of course I would. But why would J.J. do Star Wars; he’s already done Mission Impossible and Star Trek.’ So I take Katie Abrams and J.J. to dinner that night to Giorgio with my wife, Kate, and right in front of Katie Abrams I popped the question. I said to Katie, ‘I think there’s a chance that J.J. could direct Star Wars. What do you think of that?’ And Katie turned to J.J. and said, ‘That would be amazing. Really?’ And I went outside the restaurant, picked up my phone, called Kathy and said, ‘When can we meet with J.J.?’ And that’s how the whole thing began.”
Spielberg may not have been cast as Darth Vader in Star Wars like the cheeky tweet above suggests, but his presence was felt throughout the entire series and thanks to some decisions he made.