We have a special Life Day treat for you – a discussion with legendary C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels. In part to promote the NEW LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special available now on Disney+, Daniels answered several questions about the original Star Wars Holiday Special and, of course, the making of this new LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. He may have also let slip a tidbit about MORE Holiday Specials to come! Time to geek out with the golden droid!
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special – Behind-The-Scenes with Anthony Daniels
These days we need to feel there is hope and there is lightness, and fun, and joy in life. And without realizing it I think the producers of this film, this Lego Special, have hit the right moment to bring this out because we need to be reminded that there are good things in life, there are good things to celebrate.Anthony Daniels
Daniels went on to describe the differences between Star Wars films and these tongue-in-cheek LEGO specials. “A Lego product is going to be fun, it’s going to be irreverent. And that’s why this Lego Star Wars Holiday Special allows you to go on weird adventures, meeting people you wouldn’t normally meet in the same room and it works out.”
But let’s get into the nitty-gritty making-of the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. Our friend from Laughing Place, Mike Celestino, had a great question concerning the difference in Daniels’ approach to a live-action C-3PO and a voiceover performance of C-3PO.
The only difference is I’m not wearing the suit. I am there in jeans and a shirt of some kind that doesn’t make rustle-y noises in the microphone. Because with 3PO I stand up as him, so very tight bum, tight stomach, and very tense because he’s a tense character, but he moves most of the time when he’s talking. That way I can remain as physically as 3PO, much to the amazement of any visitors who watch.Anthony Daniels
But what about the voiceover recording session during this pandemic? And recording sessions in general? Daniels described his early attempts at creating an at-home solution. He got some acoustic panels for his office and made a tent around the screen and microphone. After one hour of recording, the sweat was just pouring down, and he wasn’t even in the suit! Luckily for him, the studio figured out a solution.
I now walk out to a studio. I’m buzzed in. I don’t have to speak to anybody. They tell me the number of the room I’m going into it. And there I am alone with a microphone that has been sanitized. And behind at least two sheets of glass is the engineer. So he is safe from me. I am safe from him. And the producer director is normally on a screen in front of me, often from Los Angeles. I’m generally in London. And we are all totally safe. I come out. I press, with my elbow, the door-release button. I put on my mask. I walk into the street. I come home. I take off my mask. So everything’s safe.
And please, everybody who’s listening, I have made a career out of wearing a mask and I’m going to say something I’ve not really said before. I want you to save your life by wearing a mask and maybe save the lives of others by wearing a mask.Anthony Daniels
Another friend, Mark Newbold (Fantha Tracks) wanted to know if Anthony Daniels had any involvement on the script or certain lines for C-3PO. Often, Daniels will make little suggestions when. he sees a preview of the rough animation, when he is fine-tuning his performance on top of the animation.
“It’s like adding a little more salt or pepper, a little hint of garlic. And it just bolds out the original story. And curiously, that’s one of the most amusing and entertaining things for me to do because it is highly creative–you’re adding color to the scene.”
“As long as it’s gold,” Mark chimed in, delighting us all.
The Original Star Wars Holiday Special
Arguably the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special would not exist without the original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, which we’ve covered extensively on both our podcast and our website. Anthony Daniels was surprised that anybody in the entertainment industry would ever consider making another holiday special because “the first one had really surprised people about how crazy it was.”
So when the producers came to me and said, “We’re going to make a holiday special,” I laughed. But as you will find out, it’s very, very different and it’s charming and it’s LEGO that I adore. And 3PO has seen all sorts of things over the years. He’s been on the Donny & Marie Osmond Show and the Muppet Show. And he’s used to crazy experiences that bring out certain qualities in him. And so long may that go on.
At this moment, Richard and I were able to ask a question of Mr. Daniels. “Over the decades, we’ve been on a campaign to bring the highlights, all the positivity, that the Star Wars Holiday Special has brought people, because the one thing we say to anyone asking, ‘What’s so special about this?’ we say, ‘It’s fun. It’s fun and it provokes great conversation.’ So my question to you is, what is one positive thing you can say about your involvement in the original Star Wars Holiday Special?”
I got paid
But it was all in good fun. After that quip, Anthony Daniels shared a heart-felt moment with all of us on the Zoom Press Conference.
I’m going to say thank you to you and everybody else, all the fans, who have reciprocated, who have enjoyed, who have watched, who have loved what I and the other members of the cast and crew and producers and so on have brought to you. And in my book [I Am C-3P0: The Inside Story], I do talk about the fact that without the fans, there would have only been one Star Wars film. So you’re thanking me and I’m thanking you for playing your part as a member of the audience. It’s a two-way process and you’re part of the team. And I thank you.
Happy Life Day to you, Richard and Sarah. Happy Life Day!
Life can’t get much better than C-3PO himself wishing you a Happy Life Day!
What’s Coming Next for Star Wars and Anthony Daniels?
Anthony Daniels was in rare form for this Press Conference, magnanimous and happy, just as we were, to be connecting with people. When asked if C-3PO’s image will live on, he said, “Threepio will out-survive all of us. Because now with the electronic media, these images exist forever. So will Star Wars and so will Threepio, and I’m very proud about that because I respect him a great deal. On set, walking to scenes with the crew, I would regularly say,
Move out to the way. Icon coming through. Holiday icon coming through!
To which we all had a good laugh. But we had wonder, where will Threepio pop up next?
I am delighted to say the new Star Wars Holiday Special is the latest iteration, not the last. But my lips, I mean, Threepio’s lips are sealed. Does he have lips? Anyway. There are other things coming up, not major movies but stay tuned. Threepio is too important a character to disappear and I don’t believe fans will allow him to disappear.
That was quite the tease! Later on in the Press Conference, Daniels eluded to this yet again:
And this will, I think, begin a new beginning. I think there will be a holiday special next year. This is a little launchpad for a new series.
We certainly hope so! Long live The Star Wars Holiday Special and Happy Life Day to All!!
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is available to watch NOW on Disney+. Have you watched? Did you like it? Did you not? Need a review first? Anthony Daniels had a few parting thoughts on fandom – words to live by:
Have an opinion. ‘I like this. I’m not sure about that.’ But be nice about it. Just share. Because Star Wars fans really are fans. Just be kind to each other and enjoy.Anthony Daniels