Fan Expo 2017: C-3PO Opens Up About Carrie Fisher And Jar Jar Binks
As Anthony Daniels—the only actor who has appeared in every Star Wars movie—wandered through the crowd during his Fan Expo Q&A, you could sense how restricted this free spirit must feel inside the C-3PO suit.
“It’s not easy for me being in the suit because I’m slightly separated from everybody else,” he said. “Back in the day, I was basically locked in that suit… to begin with, of course people would just come up to me all the time and say, ‘Gosh, you look fantastic. This is incredible. You are a perfect droid.’ Because nobody had seen a costume like this. But after a few days, I had become an object. People forgot I was in there. They accepted—because of my brilliant portrayal—that I was a robot and a machine and you don’t have to be nice to machines. You don’t have to say, ‘Are you okay?’ When did you last say that to your microwave?”
With those painful memories still in mind, Daniels knew exactly what to ask for when he got the call from J.J. Abrams for The Force Awakens. “He said, ‘Would you just like to do the voice?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘Quite right.’ But I said, ‘I would like a new suit.’ They 3D printed it, which still makes it as heavy as it was, but it means you can make little changes, print it out, try that, and it works better. The head used to take half an hour to put on. Now it goes on—because they changed the way it fits together—in eight seconds, which means I can take it off after each shot.”
The actor had amusing, playfully combative interactions with the audience throughout, but when an unapologetic Jar Jar Binks fan came onstage to solicit his opinion on that notorious character, Daniels was surprisingly diplomatic.
“Jar Jar was created by George Lucas and he employed an actor, Ahmed Best, who is a terrific actor,” he said. “Terrific mover. Terrific, inventive brain. Highly intelligent. Did exactly what George asked him to do. George’s son Jett was thrilled by that performance that Ahmed did perfectly, but Jett was 10 years old. Now, I wasn’t, so for me Jar Jar was a bit like the Ewoks. I’ve grown past that stage. 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds, eight-year-olds adored Jar Jar. It was a very, very good thing to do… so I hugely admire Ahmed Best. He got very bad press for doing it… and Jar Jar was not for me.”
The subject of Daniels’ old friend Carrie Fisher also came up, causing him to recall an eccentric preoccupation that the actress just barely managed to keep offscreen.
“You would be amazed how many shots which she’s in have a can of Coke hidden somewhere, and the crew were desperate not to feature it,” he explained, before celebrating Fisher’s future onscreen. “The magic of the movies is you will see her as you’ve never seen before. The other day when I was putting my voice back on [The Last Jedi], I had completely forgotten what we had shot. Suddenly in the footage that I’m watching, there she is, living forever. That’s movies for you.”