Anthony Daniels on The Rise of Skywalker: Very few people believed Star Wars would be a success in the beginning
Ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker saga, this week, the actor talks about his longtime association with the franchise
In the 42-year history of the Star Wars franchise, Anthony Daniels, who plays the droid C-3PO, has been the only actor to have appeared in all theatrical films in the series. The actor has also appeared in many of the spin-offs, including television shows, video games. Ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker saga, this week, the actor talks about his longtime association with the franchise which ends with this film.
Excerpts from the conversation:
When you read the script for The Rise of Skywalker, what were your thoughts about C-3PO’s role this time around?
I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly, C-3PO was back being C-3PO. He had a purpose. He had things happen to him. He was involved. He was part of the team again. Not since the very first film has C-3PO lived such a full life. I was thrilled that JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio wrote him this way, and I’ve had the best time.
So he really is in the thick of the action this time?
C-3PO has never been a protagonist. He’s more reactionary than somebody who actually promotes the action. Here he is with a group of people — Poe, Finn, Rey, and Chewie — going off on this adventure. But above just being a part of a delightful team, JJ and Chris have written sequences where other things build up. C-3PO always had antagonism between him and another character. It used to be Han Solo, who was always very rude to C-3PO. But it made for very good drama, and it was delightful working with Harrison like that. Now in this one, you have Poe, played by Oscar Isaac. Poe just gets irritated with C-3PO all the time, and C-3PO is kind of oblivious because Poe’s a really nice guy, isn’t he? In rehearsal Oscar and I would just laugh at these encounters between the two characters.
Do you remember your last week on the first movie?
The first film, way back in 1976, had been a weird experience for everybody and everybody was sort of out of place. The Americans were in England, the English crew were working with Americans. We were out in Tunisia. It hadn’t been the most comfortable shoot. Very few people believed it would be a success. So I think there was a sense of, “We’re finished. Thank you.” I remember the crew screening. It was the first time I had ever seen the finished film. And suddenly everyone was a believer.
You've been in every one of the Star Wars movies, and this upcoming film is the last in the series. What are your feelings about that?
It’s been quite a ride. It's been a great joy for me to be C-3PO throughout all the episodes of Star Wars. To finally hit the end was quite something, in that I have managed to survive this long. My last day in the Star Wars set was strange for me and quite moving. In saying goodbye to the crew, I suddenly realised that I’d been here before. I’d been, I thought, at the end of everything after Return of the Jedi, and I thought I’d been at the end of everything after Revenge of the Sith. And now, this is truly the end for the Skywalkers and for C-3PO in the movies. I won’t be working again with such a wonderful crew. It sounds mushy, but everybody’s grown up with Star Wars. Many people have come up to me and said, “I remember you from when I was three or four or five or six.” So C-3PO has become this sort of artifact, if you will. It’s rather nice.