As the famed “bookends” of the "Star Wars" series, Anthony Daniels has seen it all. Better known as the golden droid C-3PO, he delivered the first line in "A New Hope" (1977) and the last in "Revenge of the Sith" (2005). Daniels, 62, now follows the Force around the world, meeting with his legions of adoring fans.
“I’ve always wondered what the draw of the Star Wars is,” he said at the recent Star Wars Celebration Japan fan convention at Makuhari Messe. In all of his appearances at similar events, he says he has been astonished at the warm welcome he inevitably receives. “What I have discovered is this huge sense of affection and belonging.”
If there were ever a film phenomenon to be a part of, "Star Wars" would be it. Produced and released over a span of three decades, the series has fascinated viewers of all ages. As the only character to appear in all six films, Daniels is well aware of his place in the hearts of sci-fi fans. “If you love it so much, and I am a little bit of it, then maybe you love me a little too, and I am very grateful for that.”
Born in Salisbury, England, Daniels took the road less traveled on his quest for stardom. Giving in to societal and parental pressures, he began his independent life not as an actor, but first as a law student, followed by an attempt to study business management. All proved in vain, and he eventually decided to pursue acting. Soon after his graduation from drama school, Daniels received the Carlton Hobbs BBC Radio Award, which seemed to foreshadow his cinematic success. After making a career out of radio and stage acting, Daniels found himself one of hundreds auditioning for the role of the lovable, quirky “protocol droid” with an eye for etiquette. But he had reservations about Hollywood.
At an appearance in front of fans at the convention, Daniels recalled his feelings. “Many of you may know that I did not want to meet George Lucas to be in one movie… I didn’t want to meet him because I was a serious actor. I played Shakespeare. I played on a stage with an audience, not just a camera.”
Daniels adds he wasn’t the biggest fan of the sci-fi genre, either. He reportedly once walked out of a screening of "2001: A Space Odyssey" — another classic — and demanded his money back. Since then, however, Daniels has done a rather remarkable 180-degree turn. As the longest running "Star Wars" actor, he has witnessed first-hand the growth of Lucas’ vision.
“People ask me how 'Star Wars' has changed over all these years, with the prequels,” he said. “Of course, a lot of it has to do with the technology green rooms [and] blue rooms.” From puppets and masks to complete digital animation, it is clear that the charm of the newer films lies in special effects — what Daniels calls “movie magic.”
So will there ever be life post-"Star Wars" for Daniels? Well, since the close of "Revenge of the Sith," he has done everything from writing (penning stories for “New Improved Wonder Column,” available at www.anthonydaniels.com), to producing comic books, and appearing on "Sesame Street."
At the end of his appearance at Star Wars Celebration Japan, Daniels closed with some sage advice for his fans: “Tonight, when you get home, I want you to walk into the kitchen. I want you to smile at the cooker, and maybe hug the microwave. Be nice to your appliances. It will make you feel good, and they will be much happier. We machines, we talk to each other.”
This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).© Japan Today