In the “Rise of Skywalker” trailer, C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels says he’s taking one last look at his friends — and that seemingly includes the golden metal one he’s brought to life for more than 40 years.
Daniels first portrayed C-3PO in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” George Lucas’ original 1977 space adventure, and with the release of “The Rise of Skywalker,” he will become the only actor to have appeared in all nine of the main “Star Wars” films.
The man who’s the heart of the beloved, bumbling protocol droid recently recounted his “Star Wars” journey in the book “I Am C-3PO,” covering the ups and downs along the way.
“Finally, C-3PO comes back to be a part of the action as he was in ‘Episode IV,’ the original, and that feels really, really, really good and satisfying,” Daniels told HuffPost, reflecting on how the droid’s story ends in the upcoming movie. “To be in such a huge production as this, master-managed [and] masterminded by [J.J. Abrams] and the crew, it’s been like a prize at the end of the journey.”
Though Daniels is pleased with where C-3PO ends up — wherever that is — there was a time he thought his character was being brushed aside. Because of this, he told director J.J. Abrams he wanted C-3PO to meet a meaningful end in “The Rise of Skywalker.”
The director responded, “Not on my watch,” according to Daniels’ book.
In our conversation, Daniels talked about everything C-3PO — from that infamous NSFW “Star Wars” trading card to the proper protocol for a protocol droid to use the bathroom, and, of course, why he thought it was time for C-3PO to go to the droid recycling center in the sky.
You’ve said in interviews you get to do some cool, weird stuff in “The Rise of Skywalker.” I know you can’t talk a lot about that, but what was that experience like for you?
It was very invigorating because it wasn’t the same old thing [...] Chris Terrio, the writer, and J.J. came up with some interesting stuff. I’ve just done an interview for a program that will go out after the film has been shown, and I found it very, very hard to remember things because I’m so used to not talking about it, to go back over and think, “Oh, yeah. I can talk about that now.”
Since everything is so secret, I have some more general “Star Wars” and C-3PO questions. First off, in your book, you talk about how doors in “Star Wars” never just open regularly, they go every which way. Why do you think that is?
Yeah. There are no door knobs. That’s absolutely true. They’re just not fun. They’re not sexy, but they’re doors we live with all the time. Now, I’m often amused by the hotel sliding doors and things. Everything’s become very “Star Wars-y” now in buildings and so on.
Why do you think Obi-Wan didn’t recognize C-3PO in “A New Hope,” considering C-3PO was around in the prequels?
I don’t know, I mean.... one droid looks like another, I guess. You’d have to ask a major fan that question.
There was a famous incident with a NSFW C-3PO trading card showing the droid looking “overly excited.” In your book, you discuss what you think really happened: There was a fold in your costume above the leg after being submerged in oil, and it was a graphic artist who took that image for the trading card and manipulated it to look inappropriate.
I know it was. Because what is silly reading in the press — not The Huffington Post, obviously — is the nonsense people make up like it’s the truth. Now, the truth is that this was a graphic artist who was having a bit of fun. I just thought it was in bad taste.
Because I remember that leg falling right down, and it took me a while to work out what the problem was when I saw it. Yeah, it was just a bit of fun.
“Baby Yoda is cute, gorgeous, but I would warn the public that Baby Yoda is not just for Christmas. It’s a responsibility.”
Since you were around when Yoda was originally created, what are your thoughts on Baby Yoda?
Ah, Baby Yoda. It had to happen. It had to happen just before Christmas. Baby Yoda is the thing, maybe the toy of the month, the year, whatever. Yoda is such an adored character created by Frank Oz, and obviously now we are looking back at origins.
Do we need a smaller wookiee? I don’t know. I love the inventiveness with “Star Wars,” the creative inventiveness that “Star Wars” has fostered over the years, whether it’s with the technicians or with fans. And of course, some of the fans now work on the movies because their abilities are so great. Baby Yoda is cute, gorgeous, but I would warn the public that Baby Yoda is not just for Christmas. It’s a responsibility.
You talk a lot in your book about how difficult the C-3PO costume could be. What was the protocol for bathroom breaks?
On the first day, amazingly, I think because it wasn’t a possibility, my mind took over my body, and I didn’t need to. Can you imagine a whole day? The second day, we took it off at lunchtime. So that solved that, but the last thing I do before putting on the suit on the set, or used to, is go to the bathroom. I believe Her Majesty, the queen, does the same thing when she goes out on parade. She couldn’t stop the whole army just because she needed to pee.
Well, I’m glad you and the queen have that in common. And then before you go, at the very end of the book, you talk about asking J.J. Abrams to give C-3PO a death. Why did you want that?
Before filming this, it seemed like the writers had slightly run out of steam with C-3PO. I didn’t want him to just become a wall decoration. I thought he should have a big send-off or send-off that gave you finality, and of course, at the time, J.J. said “no way.”
But J.J. is notorious for changing his mind on a minute-by-minute basis. It makes working with him a vibrant experience.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.