Anthony Daniels on being the voice of ‘Star Wars’ saga

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More of my interview with “Star Wars in Concert” narrator and C-3PO performer Anthony Daniels:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Anthony Daniels photo by Jayson Peters, East Valley TribuneAnthony Daniels has the distinction of not only being the only actor to portray the same character in all six Star Wars films, but also for having the first line in the first film produced – Episode IV: A New Hope – and the last line in the last film produced – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

It’s this bookending that mark him as a sort of voice of the Star Wars saga; Threepio, along with his handy counterpart R2-D2, serve as the eyes and ears and voice of the common man in sweeping galactic events, a technique adapted by Lucas from Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s characters in The Hidden Fortress.

PHOTO: JAYSON PETERS, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE

It’s a technique Daniels compares to the format of the Tom Stoppard play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which takes two minor characters from “Hamlet” and puts them in the spotlight. Daniels was playing one of the title roles until about a week before he began working on Star Wars.

“But it was about 15 years later that my brain finally clicked. Why didn’t I ever realize that?” he wondered. “And it’s maybe why I could bond with R2-D2.”

After 32 years, there seem to be no end to the ways Daniels can put his mark on Star Wars. First, he was behind the costume and body of C-3PO, then he voiced the character in the animated series Droids and, later, The Clone Wars — and now he’s bringing the saga to the concert hall.

“Threepio will always be a robot. He will be put in circumstances where his reaction might be surprising or at least he gets to have to react to different things and therefore react differently, but he’s basically the same character he’s always been,” Daniels said. “However, my role as a person, and as a talking point for Star Wars, amazingly keeps evolving.

“Now I’m telling the story, the whole story, and like being the first and last line there is a kind of … circle of being there that makes sense, doesn’t it?”

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Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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