Clone Wars Weekly: Threepio's Chance to Shine
by Steve Fritz
Date: 30 January 2009 Time: 01:04 PM ET
Clone Wars: Threepio Shines
The Star Wars universe loves to set the most unlikely characters into the role of hero. No race more epitomized this that when the Empire was defeated with the aid of the Ewoks.Still, there’s one character who repeatedly gets the short shrift when it comes to handing out the laurels. No, it’s most definitely not Jar Jar. It’s that master of comportment, C-3PO. In this week’s episode, “Trespass” (preview here), Anakin and Obi-Wan are caught in the middle of a conflict between a fiercely frozen planet’s natives and the greedy representatives of a nearby moon. If Anakin had his way, he’d slice through this Gordian Knot of a conundrum with his usual lack of guile and style. Fortunately, Obi-Wan has his own ideas on the matter, and puts his trust in the ‘droid to sort things out before they truly get out of hand.
As always, C-3PO is voiced by Anthony Daniels, who has been involved in every Star Wars project since A New Hope (or just Star Wars as we called it then…ah, simpler times…) first blazed across the big screen. He is the only actor to now hold this honor. “I've never left the character or, rather, he's never left me,” says Daniels. “I put him in the cupboard for a while, but people call and I take him out again. There was a time many years ago when I thought I should move on to other things, but then I thought that was stupid. I'm very fond of Threepio.” Daniels says the voiceover performance is a welcome respite from the rigors of live-action productions. He finds the animation process offers “quite a lot of freedom.” “When you're reading lines by yourself, it's not always as easy to ad-lib,” Daniels says. “But what Dave (Filoni, supervising director) and I do is to go over my lines before we start because, sadly, I am the world's greatest expert. I say that with a kind of wry fun, because Threepio is kind of like my best friend, and you know your best friend better than anyone.” “It was important to have Anthony as Threepio because I wanted to learn as much from him as I could,” added Filoni. “Anthony has incredible insight into every word and phrase that he says. There’s rarely a line that he won’t adapt to Threepio’s cadence, so we’ve developed a good vocabulary. We’re both excited to do new things with Threepio, and hopefully in the future, viewers will see us expand our view of the character. After all, Threepio is as much an icon of Star Wars as Darth Vader.” And it’s C-3PO’s most unique skill, his ability to speak in over 6 million languages, is used for maximum effect in this episode. The other thing about this most proper of ‘droids is he’s wound so tight he never knows just how hilarious he is. Then again, if he did, he’d probably do more than blow a circuit board or two, C-3PO would crash harder than a clipped X-Fighter. “The thing I always liked about Threepio is that he wasn't a hero,” says Daniels. “He was somebody who had no sense of humor and no sense of irony. He doesn't know that he's funny. We think he's funny because he's ridiculous, he's uptight and a bit critical and it makes us laugh at him. But his saving grace and the reason that we like him is that he's very thoughtful and very loyal. If he's on your side, you would have a friend to the end of your existence. Or probably to the end of his existence, because he's loyal to a fault, to his last nut and his last bolt.” “I was amused the other day to remember Mark Hamill going through his lines with me one day, and we both kind of looked at each other regarding this casual one-liner about ‘the Clone Wars.’ Then of course, it got picked up in the prequels and now it's its own TV series. Animation has grown up. It's become very, very honorable, and I think Clone Wars has taken the next step.” Late-breaking Clone Wars News: According to today’s Variety, Star Wars: The Clone Wars will begin repeats on TNT starting on February 14th with back-to-back first-season episodes, and afterwards, settle in to a regular slot on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. starting on February 18th. Clone Wars’ first season will end in March, with season two starting later this year or early 2010. Related: Clone Wars Weekly 21: A Kurosawa Nod Clone Wars Weekly 20: Jedi Crash Clone Wars Weekly 19: More With the Weequay