C-3PO is back in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII,” and for a very brief period there was talk that actor Anthony Daniels would not be in the suit – rather he’d only provide the voice.
In a new and lengthy interview with Entertainment Weekly, Daniels says he shot that idea down quickly. In fact he never wants the character to be represented in CG again following some rather dodgy shots of him as such in the prequels:
“I will tell you that when [director] J.J. Abrams rang me to ask about filming Star Wars: 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.”
Daniels also spoke about the upcoming animated series “Star Wars: Rebels,” its old-fashioned approach to the franchise, and how he can’t say anything about Abrams’ upcoming film:
“It’s very elusive and I’ll tell you: It’s where we’re going now with Star Wars: Episode VII. We’re all back. And it’s great, actually, that Star Wars Rebels is set before Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope because that film is quintessential basic, ‘This is Star Wars.’ And you know George always used to say every time I arrived on set, I would always arrive for the first time back on set in costume, and during the prequels George Lucas would say when I arrived on set that ‘Star Wars has arrived’ – because I was the old fashioned link. Star Wars Rebels is an old fashion link to the old fashion film, which we all loved. And you will love Star Wars: Episode VII – I have electrodes strapped to my head to zap me if I say anything more about it.”
For the full interview, click here.