The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is out today on Disney+, exactly 42 years after the abysmal original Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS. Thankfully, the new holiday special set in the building brick version of the Star Wars universe brings a lot of holiday fun and time-hopping action to the table, and will entertain kids and adults alike. And longtime franchise star Anthony Daniels couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised to finally be part of a good Star Wars holiday special.
In support of the LEGO Star Wars Holiday special, /Film was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to speak with Anthony Daniels, the man who has played the droid C-3PO for decades and is the only actor to have appeared in every single Star Wars movie. Endlessly enthusiastic, warm, and friendly, Daniels recalled the disaster of the original Star Wars Holiday Special, pinpointed what might be C-3PO’s finest moment, and revealed whether he was privy to any sequel plans George Lucas may have had for the golden protocol droid before Disney bought Lucasfilm.
What was your experience with the original Star Wars Holiday Special?
Have you read my book?
*laughs* I haven’t picked it up yet! I’m so sorry!
It’s an ideal stocking stuffer. Tell your family you need to have this book, because there’s a whole chapter on the original Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s memorable, and even if you haven’t seen it, you will enjoy me describing how the Wookiees trampled on the set. They got it wrong! It was a very curious experience, to the extent that when the producers came to me and said they were making another holiday special, I kinda winced, and was immediately worried about the bravery and the hubris to bring up that phrase again. Basically, [the original holiday special] was a mistake, to such an extent that it’s now beloved around the planet. But this has got the word “LEGO” in front of it, and that makes all the difference.
Every character is the same size little plastic toy that allows them to move in a wonderful toy-like manner. So you don’t have humans, you’ve got toys. And they can break the rules of logic and physics, and they can go places that the real actors can’t go or would look wrong if they went there. With LEGO, you can just do what you want, and they have. The writers came up with a very interesting device, so you can go on an adventure with Rey, and you learn a lot of stuff. And you’re heading towards the goal of a lovely Life Day where everyone gets together, they eat and drink too much. They love each other. They may have rows. We don’t know. It’s a little family.
You’ve played C-3PO so many times over the years, what do you think is his finest moment?
Wow, that’s difficult! I think his finest moment, I’m thinking, is in The Rise of Skywalker, when he’s – not the first time – ready to sacrifice himself, and this time it really does happen with his memory. That was a very brave and generous thing to do. Of course, it all right within the next 20 seconds because we got it back again, but originally there was a longer time to suffer and think, “What a terrible thing, we’re killing our friend.” It all got a bit condensed.
Can you elaborate a bit on that? How was the suffering longer originally?
When you’re shooting the movie, the shooting ratio is different from how much time you actually get [in the movie].
Ah, I see what you’re saying.
So a lot of those moments were slightly truncated because they were a bit wistful, not mournful, but thoughtful, shall we say. But generally, lightsaber battles win out and Emperors screaming crazy stuff and so on. I remember filming it with great affection, a great warmth and humanity. C-3PO, for all his metal-ness, is human. Some people say he has more humanity than humans, but that’s kind of the trick of the audience who invest in him, rather like Lassie the dog. You invest, in this dog, human attributes, because that’s where the script leads you and the other characters reinforce it. C-3PO somehow ended up being incredibly human, and that is still there in this LEGO event. It’s fun to be back in such a warm piece and at this time of year.
One last thing, C-3PO wasn’t quite as prominent in the sequel trilogy as he was in the original trilogy, and I was curious if George Lucas ever keyed you in to what his plans for him would have been if he was able to make the sequels as he originally envisioned them.
No, you know, George is a busy man, and I don’t bother people. I’ll wait until the script comes in and go “Oh,” or “Wow!” When the script came in for The Rise of Skywalker, I was thrilled, Absolutely thrilled. For other films, not so much. But the fact that C-3PO is there matters. It matters to him, and it matters to me.
And with that, Anthony Daniels wished me a Happy Life Day, and if that’s not enough to warm your heart this holiday season, then I don’t know what to tell you.
LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is available on Disney+ right now.
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