TORONTO — Actor Anthony Daniels, who played the golden worry-wart robot C-3PO in all six “Star Wars” movies, says even he is constantly surprised by the longevity of the classic franchise.
Thirty-three years after the first “Star Wars” film was released the show still goes on, now with a multimedia stage production called “Star Wars: In Concert,” which comes to Canada for 13 shows in June and July.
“I’m surprised ’Star Wars’ has gone on being, in a way, a growing phenomenon,” said Daniels, who is also currently working on a “Star Wars” ride for Disney amusement parks, a cartoon series, and recently did voice work for a GPS device and a slot machine.
“My career as C-3PO sort of flourishes and it’s a constant surprise to me. (Actually), in fact, I am surprised I’m no longer surprised” about new Star Wars projects.
“Each time I think that has to be the end of it, something often quite magical, like ’Star Wars: In Concert,’ comes along.”
Daniels narrates the massive production, which tells the whole “Star Wars” story in about two hours while a live orchestra plays the film’s classic soundtrack and video screens accompany the music.
The show, which is now touching down in North America after a tour through Europe, also includes a museum of “Star Wars” costumes, props and artifacts.
During the show, Daniels leaves his C-3PO costume in the exhibit area — to his relief.
“Not only is it physically very uncomfortable but it’s also very isolating. Nobody can look at me in the eye because they can’t see where my eyes are and I can’t see anybody who isn’t right in front of me. Ewoks are totally invisible — that’s the way I like them,” he joked.
“But during the course of the evening C-3PO is somewhat irrepressible and his spirit absolutely bursts out of me.”
Daniels said he’s now spent more than half of his life living out the C-3PO character in one way or another and is proud to be associated with the droid.
“’Star Wars’ has actually joined the pantheon of legends and myth and I’m a part of that,” he said.
“Long after I’m dead people will go, ’Oh yeah, that’s the bloke who played C-3PO.”’
“Star Wars: In Concert” hits Vancouver June 22 and 23, has two shows in Calgary on June 26 and in Edmonton on June 27, and one show each in Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Regina on June 28, June 29 and June 30. The North American tour wraps up a few weeks later with two shows in Hamilton on July 24 and two in London, Ont., on July 25.
Daniels said he’s enjoyed feeding off the buzz of the enthusiastic crowds at the shows and defended the reputation of “Star Wars” fans.
“The word ’fan’ is often used in a slightly derogatory sense, as though they’ve got to be crazy, stupid, mad, weirdo couch potatoes,” he said, noting that he recently met fans who were oceanographers, surgeons and lawyers.
“The fans have almost kept the thing alive during down times between films and they’re a hugely important part of (the ’Star Wars’ empire).
“But it doesn’t mean they’re crazy, it doesn’t mean they’re demented.”