It wouldn’t be a new “Star Wars” movie without C-3P0, and it wouldn’t be C-3PO without Anthony Daniels returning to the role! We haven’t heard much from Anthony Daniels regarding Episode VII, but Entertainment Weekly recently conducted an interview with the actor, where he talks about the call he got from J.J. Abrams to return as C-3PO, and suiting back up into the iconic costume. Here’s a portion of the interview from the Entertainment Weekly:
You’ve had performances in the suit, as voiceover for CGI. It’s also been reported that you’ve done, or are currently doing, motion capture as the character. Which is the best method for portraying C-3PO?
I will tell you that when [director] J.J. Abrams rang me to ask about filming Episode VII, one of the first things he said after he told me how wonderful I was — and that didn’t take long — but he then said, “Would you be interested in being in the film just doing the voice?” I said, “No,” and he said, “Right!” He knew I’d say that. There’s no way I would just do the voice. I also said that it can’t be the same suit. I will tell you that the team then got together and built a new suit. They made an entirely new look-a-like with changes that you will never notice [on screen] that made my life a lot easier. I can get it on and off very quickly. [During the prequels], the only time [Threepio has] been CG was when it was very dangerous [to act in the scene in a suit] — and it wasn’t very good. In fact, I’m going to say it was awful. One of the difficulties is with a character that you know and love so well is that, as a member of the audience, you go, “Oh no, that’s not right. No, he doesn’t move like that.” With me [in the suit], he’s always going to move the same way and have the same reactions, timing, and so on. With CG, you’re working with some brilliant person on the keyboard who is trying to pretend to be me. The only time that has worked without doubt is Disney’s Star Tours: The Adventures Continue [theme park ride]. There’s an element in the pre-show which is digital and I cannot tell it’s not me. It’s brilliantly done by Disney. In a cartoon series like Rebels, you accept it because it’s not trying to pretend to be reality. It’s an extension, it’s an exaggeration. On that basis, it’s utterly acceptable — providing the characterization is correct.
To a casual fan, the character’s personality seems consistent. Has Threepio grown?
It’s a very good question actually. [Pause]. If you ask me about Episode VII … of course I will deny any knowledge whatsoever. But it occurred to me on the set the other day, because I’ve been doing it for so long, being 3PO for so long, I have a kind of confidence about what he would do in a particular scene. I think 3PO might have grown in confidence over the years because he’s survived so many dramas and he’s gained so much knowledge about what’s going on in the galaxy. He may have grown in that way. But generally the way he appears to grow is by being faced by new situations and new conflicts. He’s very much a washing machine — you could put in a set of fine lingerie and he might do it on a different cycle. It’s what you give him to do that brings out fresh attitudes. He might meet somebody who is rude or smelly or just awful and that brings out — I won’t say snobbishness, he is a bit of a snob but … it brings out his reactive quality. That’s always funny for me because I look for new ways to become appalled. A lot of the time in the studio, you should realize, I read the words, my mouth opens, he comes out of my mouth and we all laugh. I laugh. The director laughs, and the engineer laughs. You think, “Yeah, this is really good.”
That’s it for the brief Episode VII talk, but be sure to check out the entire interview over at Entertainment Weekly, as Anthony Daniels discusses working on “Star Wars Rebels,” “Star Wars” without George Lucas, and what he’d like c-3po’s ultimate fate to be.