MCM Comic Con Birmingham: The Anthony Daniels/C3PO Panel
by Olly MacNamee
Straight out of the gate, Anthony Daniels shot into the audience and immediately got stuck in with questions to them! And, after asking fans to sum up Star Wars, he gleefully defined the whole saga as, “The story of a golden robot,” and thereby set the tone of this half-hour panel.
Phrases like, “You’re in the presence of a great star,” and, “Hollywoood star comic through,” peppered the early part of the well-oiled show, helping to warm up the audience and break down any barriers some fans may have had when staring into the face of one of their – our – idols. It also showed Daniels has a great sense of self-deprecating humour. For an early morning panel, it was certainly a great crowd pleaser and a hard one to beat.
He happily ran through some of the hokier media experiences he has been involved with, such as the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, as well as The Muppets Show, and even the Donnie and Marie Osmond Show!
With a shy audience, it was left to Daniels to ask whether the audience had any questions about Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker. And, even then, people were happier to ask him about his approach to acting. Opportunity lost, frankly.
His favourite story? Jabba’s Palace. Daniels was rehearsing a scene set in Jabba’s HQ, and he turned round to see Lucas, squat down to R2D2 size, and bleeping, whisking and buzzing. And, while he mentioned BB8, he didn’t really talk much about his co-droid, Kenny Baker. But then, that story has been well documented and today wasn’t the time to bring up any sour notes. This was, after all, a celebration of Star Wars and C3PO.
Asked about whether he gets the whole script, or just portions, he admitted he got the whole thing, But then, he gets rewrites and then more rewrites until he admitted he stopped learning the words. Although, he did reveal that he was the only actor on set who didn’t get a script in coloured paper, because he simply hasn’t got strong eyesight at his age anymore. He then joked about asking an audience member whether he wanted to buy the script.
Questioned on how he approached the various animated shows he also been involved with, set in the Star Wars universe, Daniels told the collected fans that even when doing voice-overs as C3PO, he would always stand in that famous stiff stance. Method acting of sorts, right?
A true pro, who’s had years to define and mould his appearances at cons, but being an actor helps too. For one half hour, Daniels showed himself to be a great raconteur, akin to the likes of David Niven, Orson Welles and the like. Old school charm, wit and a great way with the audience.