Recently, actor Anthony Daniels talked with Variety about his 40 year run as C-3PO as detailed in his new book – I Am C-3PO. Daniels covers feelings and experiences from A New Hope all the way to Rise of Skywalker. Here are some parts from that interview with Brett Lang:
Anthony Daniels as 3PO Almost Didn’t Happen?
Yet George Lucas wasn’t going to use your voice at one point. Is that true?
Yes, famously Richard Dreyfuss almost did it. I want to say Mel Blanc was also involved, but I’m not sure. It might not have been him, but it was a cartoon voice actor who told George, “Tony’s voice is pretty good, you could use it.”
Many people were ALMOST our lead heroes. Try tracking down the old audition tapes and stories, and you will find the faces of Star Wars were almost very different. Kurt Russell, Dreyfuss, Jodie Foster, Christopher Walken and more nearly took the rolls from our beloved stars.
Defined By Your Character
Alec Guinness hated being defined by his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the franchise. Can you relate?
I have lived long enough to go through those shallows of despond. He died before he began to rise up out of them. He left this planet before he got there. I like to think he would have and would have eventually seen that, as I call him, an old man in a dressing gown, has meant so much to people. I think he would have liked that, because he was a kind man. When you look at the acting that he did, there was extraordinary diversity to his performances, and I think he felt that all that had been ignored, because it wasn’t whiz bang spaceships and that sort of thing. If there’s an afterlife, I hope he’s thinking of “Star Wars” a bit more benignly.
A Princess Lost
Carrie Fisher died before filming began on The Rise of Skywalker. Was it hard to make the movie without her?
There’s no doubt that the Star Wars family felt a lot of grief. She was a very nice person. You’re always going to miss somebody like that. She was very self-deprecating and self-taunting. She, like many of us, had that impostor syndrome and she did say to me once, “I’m more of a writer than an actor.” She did find remembering the lines difficult in the end, which for a writer must have been very hard for her. But everybody on the set was really patient. We all get days when we cannot remember the lines.
The New Era
What do you think about the most recent trilogy?
I don’t know who could have done this but Disney. I don’t know of any other company that would have had the facilities and the courage and the wit and all that. To take this on from George — it’s a big legacy. But Disney took it and did something spectacular with it, as you’ll see in this next film. I’ve seen chunks of it, they’re still working on it, but it’s pretty finished.
These movies are made with such secrecy. What has it been like to be involved in something like that where you can’t share any details with friends or family?
It becomes second nature. It’s almost like always hiding what you’re giving your partner or your child for Christmas. You hold back because you know the effect at the end will be far greater than dribbling out spoilers here or there. What is irritating is if you are being interviewed and people try to push you to say something. Why would you do that?
Anthony Daniels as 3PO: The Future of Goldenrod
Will The Rise of Skywalker be your last appearance as C-3PO?
Well the story of Skywalker is over, and quite rightly, too. It’s fine that it comes to an end. This is the end of the Skywalker story as we know it. Maybe a hundred years from now, there will be another one, but right now let’s go look somewhere else in the galaxy as they are doing with The Mandalorian. Hopefully people won’t get sated by it. Principally, I feel fine, because in writing the book I realized there’s almost a beginning, a middle and an end to my story. If the end is The Rise of Skywalker, it’s a perfect one.
But would you turn down other opportunities to reprise the part?
No. I’m absolutely convinced that Threepio in some other format, whether audio or visual or written, he won’t stop existing just because we’re not talking about the Skywalker family anymore. I would be a little sad if that were the case, but I don’t think it is.
The Face That Will Never Leave
Anthony Daniels comes across well spoken and even a bit shy, but if you watch him over the years, he has a habitual need to be the center of attention. He likes to talk over everyone at interviews and keep rambling until cut off. He used to MC big Star Wars events before Warrick Davis snagged the ongoing role.
In fact if you want to watch brilliantly subtle ‘snubbery’ watch Warrick and Daniels interact at events. Warrick figured Daniels out very early on and snubs him every chance he gets. It becomes a bit of a running joke. Warrick wil either cut Daniels off mid sentence or ignore him entirely. It is no coincidence their paths no longer cross at events like the last Celebration.
If Daniels can reenact 3PO in any way, you can guarantee he will be there. No one else will don the golden outfit as long as he lives.