Anthony Daniels and Mark Hamill in the original ‘Star Wars’ (Lucasfilm)
As C-3PO, Anthony Daniels is the rare Star Wars actor to have appeared in all of the movies — including the prequel trilogy and the upcoming The Force Awakens. And while other carriers of the Star Wars legacy (including Mark Hamill) have defended George Lucas’ prequels, Daniels now admits he’s not a big fan. In an interview with The Guardian, the 69-year-old actor shared his feelings about The Phantom Menace and its ilk, as well as bemoaning the extreme secrecy surrounding The Force Awakens.
When asked by The Guardian about the prequels, Daniels noted “ruefully” that they still aired frequently on the British Sky network, and complained about the films’ excessive use of CGI. “The effects are clever but pointless. The skill is there, but so what? Coldness, that’s the word. Bleakness, even,” said the actor.
He also hinted that Star Wars creator George Lucas turned a blind eye to his collaborators’ prequel concerns. “George has changed a lot over the years, but I think he finds it slightly hard to collaborate,” Daniels told The Guardian. “He made decisions that I believe might have been better discussed with other people.”
Daniels added that The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is “more collaborative. He likes to listen.” (Although, he said, he and the director debated about “a certain issue” regarding C-3PO that he couldn’t yet reveal.) Like many fans, Daniels is also appreciative that Abrams insisted on practical effects. “It became clear early on that with J.J. we were getting back to the old-fashioned kind of filmmaking. We have walls. Actual sets!” he said.
Anthony Daniels in 2012 (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)
While he was pleased to be back in his C-3PO costume (now modified so that the headpiece can be removed in 8 seconds, rather than the original 30), Daniels was blindsided by Disney’s total lockdown on potential Force Awakens spoilers. “The secrecy has been beyond ludicrous,” he told The Guardian. “For heaven’s sake, it’s a movie. When I got the script, it was typed in black on paper of the deepest red so you couldn’t photocopy it. I got a hangover just reading it.”
When the actor tweeted a picture of himself and a co-star (“an actor who plays a… thing in the film”), Disney immediately sent a message and demanded its removal. “Honestly. It’s a kind of Kremlin attitude,” he complained. “Look, I know perfectly well not to tell you now what I’m giving you for a Christmas present because it would spoil the surprise. And these films are all about opening the box on Christmas Day.”
That said, Daniels can be trusted not to reveal any spoilers about the plot — because, he admits, he hasn’t understood it from the beginning. Speaking about the first Star Wars movie, Daniels told The Guardian, “The screenplay was very good as far as C-3PO was concerned, but I had no idea what was going on in the rest of it. Still don’t. When J.J. told me the story of the new one, my eyes sort of glazed over.”
Watch Daniels and the ‘Force Awakens’ cast at ‘Star Wars’ Celebration in April: