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Anthony Daniels

Star Wars – The End of an Era

With the release of the Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker this month, we talk all things about that “galaxy far, far away” to four of the actors helping the Resistance take on The First Order in the third chapter of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker saga. May The Force be with you…

You’ve been in every one of the nine Star Wars movies — tell us a little about that.
My last day ever on a Star Wars set was strange and quite moving, quite sort of a bittersweet moment. Making movies is hard work and fun, and the great joy for me is that throughout all the episodes of Star Wars I’ve been C-3PO. To finally hit the end was quite something, in that I have managed to survive this long. In every sense of the word it was a telling moment. I’d been in Star Wars since day one out in Tunisia in 1976 and that memory stays with me very strongly. It’s been quite a ride.

When you read the script for The Rise of Skywalker, what were your thoughts about C-3PO’s role in this film?
When I read the script, 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 J.J. [Abrams] and Chris [Terrio] wrote him this way, and I had the best time.

C-3PO really is in the thick of the action this time around.
C-3PO’s never been a protagonist. He’s not the big hero character, of course. And he’s more reactionary than somebody who actually promotes the action, but here he is with a group of people – Poe, Finn, Rey and Chewie – going off on this adventure. He’s there in the thick of it, and the crew loves him. C-3PO always had antagonism between him and another character. It used to be Han Solo. Han was always really very rude to C-3PO. Very dismissive. But it made for very good drama and it was delightful working with Harrison like that. Now in this one, you have Poe who 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? He’s subtle about being irritated by C-3PO and Oscar plays it so wonderfully. In rehearsal Oscar and I would just laugh at these encounters between the two characters.

Tell us about filming the speeder chase scene out in the desert in Jordan.
When I read about the speeders on Pasaana, I immediately went back to the speeders in Return of the Jedi. But the speeders on this one were totally different and quite magical. They were not at all what I expected – kind of a strange mixture of Arabic boats, and modern stuff, with a big engine at the front. I loved being on the speeders with just John and Oscar out there. Regularly John would put a bit of my costume back on if it had fallen off or he’d find some water and give me a straw – to save people getting a ladder and climbing. Oscar, John and Daisy and the crew would suddenly realise I was going to fall over a rock, and catch me, because C-3PO can’t see things that are on the ground, like lumps of soil, or whatever. I believe I became like the elderly uncle. So, they kept me going.

This isn’t the first time you’re finishing a Star Wars trilogy.
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. I know that Star Wars has been quite a refuge for quite a number of people. It’s been a go to place. And if it goes beyond that, then it can’t get any better. ■

ALL IMAGES (c) 2019 and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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