NEW YORK — While Anthony Daniels may be one of the most unrecognized actors in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, he portrays one of the franchise’s most known characters.
His C-3PO droid, along with its R2D2 robot counterpart, have the distinction of being in all seven ‘Star Wars’ movies, including the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
But the classically trained actor claims he almost passed up playing the golden droid.
“I didn’t want to be in the first one. The job didn’t appeal to me, quite frankly,” Daniels said at a preview this week for a “Star Wars” costume exhibit in Manhattan.
But eventually, the 69-year old actor admits he developed a connection to the eloquent droid.
“Here I am, on the brink of “Episode VII,” and who knows if C-3PO survives, there could be VIII and IX, as well,” Daniels said.
Daniels addressed why the character was so well received, rumors surrounding the film and director J.J. Abrams in an interview with The Associated Press. Responses have been edited for brevity.
What eventually convinced you to do “Star Wars”?
Daniels: This had to be the toughest project I came across. It called on skills I had, like mime and voice and that sort of stuff. But it took me six months as we were making the costume to really get a grip on it. It was the first day of filming out in the desert that 3P0 came together. … George (Lucas) created a world that was completely believable and 3P0 landed in that world. … One of the reasons that audiences believe in 3P0 is that Luke Skywalker totally treats him as normal.
What about filming the desert scenes in Tunisia?
Daniels: Tunisia was not the most comfortable place because the sand is very fine and it gets everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Sometimes I was hot, sometimes I was really cold.
Do you have a favorite “Star Wars” film?
Daniels: A lot of people consider “Empire Strikes Back,” the second or number five as it became, to be the best movie for all sorts of reasons. … I actually like the first one — I thought it had a kind of innocence, a completeness’ that would stand on its own.
How did you feel about J.J. Abrams taking over as director?
Daniels: J.J. Abrams saw the original “Star Wars” when he was 11, and I think from that moment he loved it, he loved it. And the courage of him taking over and doing ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens,’ I cannot imagine what it is to wake up every morning and think, ‘What am my doing? Oh that’s what I’m doing today. I’m doing ‘Star Wars.’ The responsibility is huge. George (Lucas) created everything you see here, J.J. has sort of picked it up… (It) leads me to believe that I am going to enjoy this film so much.
What’s your take on the speculation flying around Luke Skywalker’s absence from the trailers?
Daniels: I’m fascinated by people’s desire to learn. … And you know what? That curiosity shows how much they’re affected and how much affection they have for it. They really want to know, except they don’t really want to know. All will be revealed in time.