Anthony Daniels has worn many hats over his 36-year career — appearing on stage, in radio, television and film. But, none has managed to eclipse the gold C-3PO mask he first donned back in 1976, when the British actor accepted the part of an etiquette-obsessed protocol droid in Star Wars.
Despite reprising the role five more times on film — and in countless spin-offs and tie-ins — Daniels says that it wasn’t until his current stint working on Star Wars: In Concert, that he “truly gets” fans’ obsession with the Star Wars universe.
“All these years, I’ve been slightly distanced from it,” he says. “Star Wars in Concert has absolutely put the story in perspective to me.”
As its name suggests, Star Wars in Concert is a heavily edited version of the six films projected on large screens and accompanied by an orchestra with Daniels narrating.
“It’s a combination of stage, television and film acting to me,” he says. “I’m storytelling, I’m narrating and I’m acting.”
The show, which took three and a half years to put together, had input from Star Wars creator George Lucas and conductor John Williams who re-wrote some of the music he penned for the films specifically for the show. It’s quite a production centred around a role Daniels never wanted.
“I refused the job interview,” he recalls.
Despite his ongoing loyalty to the Star Wars brand, Daniels is careful not to let it take over his life.
“These conventions, I prefer not to be in a church hall every Sunday writing my name out like a naughty school boy.” When not playing a golden-limbed robot, Daniels works as a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Centre in Pittsburgh, Penn.
“I’m not going to go on forever,” he cautions. “I keep going back because I’ve realized that it’s a path that chose me.”