We interview Anthony Daniels about voicing C-3PO in the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, what Life Day means to him, and much more.
Over four decades after the premiere of the universally panned Star Wars Holiday Special, Disney is taking a stab at celebrating Life Day in conjunction with LEGO. This time around, LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special follows Poe as he plans the perfect Life Day celebration while Finn and Rey train in the Force.
But aside from reuniting the newest Star Wars trio, the latest special also brings back old favorites like Anthony Daniels’ C-3PO. The veteran actor spoke to Screen Rant about participating in this latest holiday venture, and he didn’t hold back when explaining how the 2020 edition of Life Day blows 1978’s out of the water.
Anthony Daniels, you are a legend and my favorite Star Wars characters. LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is hilarious, and it has a ton of heart. The original Star Wars Holiday Special was very infamous. What were your first thoughts and impressions, knowing that there was going to be another holiday special with LEGO and Disney?
Anthony Daniels: I was amazed that the producers had the nerve to risk destroying the planet. Because many people of an older generation may know the original Holiday Special, and may try to forget it is worth the effort. But here they were dredging up the title. And I thought that was a little extreme.
Then, of course, I saw the script. And then I worked on it, and I saw the difference. The only [similarity] is the title. As I say, they were brave in in using it, but I think it will change people’s feelings towards the words “holiday special.” And who knows, next year, there will be another one that we can look forward to. Already, there’s always that one in the past haunting us like something nasty in the cupboard there. But this one is very different.
One of the differences is, of course, it’s LEGO. And with LEGO, you can just have a bunch of fun. I don’t think there was a moment of fun in the previous one, actually. God, it was awful.
LEGO adaptations of Star Wars, in both games and television, has a very distinct approach. How does that translate to the special?
Anthony Daniels: Oh, it carries on the normal way of going about things, that because Star Wars is so well loved, you can poke fun at it. And LEGO is all about playing. I think that’s what the word “lego” means. Everybody, even if they don’t have Lego themselves, they know what it is. They know they’ve trodden on a piece on the carpet there, and it goes out, because kids love playing with them. And adults too. They’re all produced by adults.
Do you know if you want to work at LEGO, basically, they shut you in a room with a bunch of kids and they say make something? And it’s kind of an audition. I’ve always loved LEGO as a companion to Star Wars; they’ve been a great counterpart, if you will. It allows you to go to places you couldn’t dream of going in a movie and, in this case, it allows characters to meet up in a different way to have different experiences. All with the purpose of getting our Wookiees to get together on Kashyyyk for Life Day.
So, there’s this real holiday theme about it. And as we roll into Christmas in the year 2020, which is not a great time in many ways, it is a little bit of a lightening up. Let’s forget about stuff going on for a while, and that’s just live in LEGO.
Life Day has been mentioned in The Mandalorian, and obviously it was in the original Star Wars special. What does Life Day mean to you personally?
Anthony Daniels: Not being a rookie, it’s a little difficult. But then if you think about it, all religions sort of share a celebration time. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, you’ve got a major day where you blow it all away: you give gifts to people, you bring in strangers, you feed people, and so on. We are heading towards that time in my life in England, whatever it means this year.
I guess Life Day is a kind of paradigm. It stands for what is your happiest time of the year. What is the day that you really wanted to be special, where you want that gift to be received well, and where you want to get gifts? Where you have somebody that you can love and be with, and maybe there’s a big roaring fire, and maybe there’s vast amounts of food, or maybe there isn’t. But there’s still that point in your year that kind of marks the rise and fall of the rhythm of the season. And I guess I’m the same with everybody.
And this year is going to be different. So, let’s accept that, and we know that next year’s going to be better.
Life Day originally was created by George Lucas a tradition like those old time shows that had families come together for holiday specials, and you mentioned that it’s possible that we could start seeing those again. But if you could have your choice of where C-3PO pops up next in Star Wars, where would that be?
Anthony Daniels: That’s a really good question, and I have Disney listening. Always, as with The Rise of Skywalker, I pointed out to JJ that 3PO doesn’t like being in the action. But he works much better if he is, because then there’s lots of stuff to deal with and it drives him crazy. Sitting at home in the office is what he prefers, or in the kitchen. But as far as dramatic tension, no, he needs to be up there with the heroes – annoying the heck out of them. Because he’s always right, but they never listen.
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