“I think the dedication of the fans is simply fantastic. I mean look at all of you. We’re talking about 30,000 people coming out this weekend to see us,” Prowse told the crowd. “It’s simply incredible. You are a great part of our lives. You really are.”
Mayhew said the massive size of the fan base could be seen in the fact that no matter what city he visits, at least a few locals recognize him.
“I think it’s just the mere fact that we have so many fans, not just in the States but all over the world,” Mayhew said. “We’re now into the third generation.”
Sometimes, though, Prowse said the recognition can be a distraction.
Shortly after accepting the role of Vader, Prowse became the face of the Green Cross Code, a U.K. initiative for reducing the amount children injured and killed while crossing a street. For 14 years, Prowse starred in public service announcements and visited children in schools.
At the end of each school visit, where Prowse had discussed pedestrian safety, he would ask if the children had any questions.
“I never, ever got one question about road safety,” Prowse said. “Every question was about Star Wars.”
However, by 1990, the number of children killed had been cut in half. Prowse said that in those 14 years, it is estimated that nearly a quarter of a million children were saved by the program’s efforts.
Currently, Mayhew is starring in a Kickstarter documentary. In the next few weeks, he will be undergoing double-knee replacement surgery. For years, it has become increasingly difficult for the 7-foot-3 Mayhew to stand on his own, requiring him to rely on a wheelchair or cane for assistance. The documentary “Standing in the Stars” will follow Mayhew from his last Comic Con before the surgery and through his recovery. As this is Mayhew's final Comic Con before the surgery, the first part of the documentary will be filmed in Salt Lake.
Before closing the session, Prowse proposed a sing-a-long to the audience.
“We’ve now got words to the Star Wars theme song,” Prowse said before singing “Star Wars made me a fortune, paid off the mortgage, bought me a car.”
Salt Lake Comic Con continues Friday and Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center. More information can be found on the event’s website.
Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: email@example.com, Twitter: harmerk
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