Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Daniels, the soul of C-3PO: Star Wars is a refuge in these times

By David Villafranca

Los Angeles, Mar 30 (efe-epa).- “Star Wars” proved that an android could have a very humane heart. And the person largely responsible for that is actor Anthony Daniels, who is the soul behind the “protocol droid” C-3PO, who – in an interview with EFE – said that the film saga can be like “a refuge” for people during the coronavirus pandemic and in these uncertain times.

“All of this is a surprise … And, in a crazy way, what a time to release the ‘Rise of Skywalker’ digital version. They can sit at home, they can watch it, they can almost hide inside it,” he said.

“It’s kind of a refuge: just a story that they love,” Daniels added.

Daniels, who fulfills all the typical stereotypes of the British (ironic, friendly, elegant), is quite an idol for “Star Wars” fans.

And although his face was always hidden under the metal of the timorous but tender C-3PO’s robotic shell, Daniels – born in Salisbury, England, in 1946 – can say that he is the only actor who has been in all nine of the films in the franchise.

In addition, Daniels is not only the ideal person to be promoting the launch on Tuesday of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on DVD and Blu-ray but he has also recently publicly presented his memoirs in a book titled “I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story.”

“I never thought I would be on screen saying: ‘I wrote a book,'” he joked.

“It was an odd experience because I was too lazy to write a diary. ‘I should have written a diary!’ But the thing is I remember it quite well,” he added.

Daniels recalled in the book, for example, the beginning of the “Star Wars” saga and how much he was hurt by being set aside after the success of the first 1977 film “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” and how he overcame that to transform his character into one of the centerpieces of the franchise.

The prologue of the book was written by filmmaker J.J. Abrams, whom Daniels defends tooth and nail despite the criticism he received for “The Rise of Skywalker” by a significant portion of the press and the fan base.

“I think he was 10 or 11 when he watched the original SW as a kid. And the first time we met each other, J.J. Abrams said to me if I would be in his movie,” he said laughing.

“He was like this crazy fanboy. And that excitement, enthusiasm, joy, innocence, inside the massive brain of his (…) his ability to listen to suggestions and say ‘OK, we will try that’ (…). He is such a bright guy, generous and kind,” Daniels said.

The actor insisted that “The Rise of Skywalker” is C-3PO’s film farewell, although he left the door open to having the character appear again in other pieces of the complex narrative puzzle that is “Star Wars.”

Thus, the filming had moments of great personal significance for him, such as when C-3PO tells his inseparable droid companion R2-D2 that he has been his “best friend.”

“And then of course that line: ‘I’m taking last one look, sir, at my friends,'” recalled Daniels about one of the most praised moments in “The Rise of Skywalker,” a scene with C-3PO in the limelight.

“Oh, jeez… On the set I found that might be really difficult to do because I realized that I was talking to the audience as much as Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). It was kind of also saying goodbye to myself because 3PO is my friend and I’m his friend,” he said.

Finally, Daniels said that a large part of the human spirit and personal closeness that an android like C-3PO has was due to the way his character was developed in the first film’s script by George Lucas.

He noted that, just as C-3PO is always a little uptight with fear, along with being a little pompous, and some humans argue with him about it, he’s a little like a child. He never learned to be an adult, Daniels said, and he’s always going to be afraid. And that’s the reason that the public loves him.


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