Though R2-D2 and C-3PO are one of cinema’s most iconic double-acts, it’s safe to say that the little rolling garbage can that could has been hogging the limelight for the last few years. R2-D2 was pivotal to the plot of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, holding half of the star map that revealed the location of Luke Skywalker. Meanwhile, his golden buddy has largely been left as a background character, functioning as an assistant to General Leia without any direct involvement in the narrative. But that’s all going to change in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
In an interview with Empire, C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels spoke about his experiences with the previous two Sequel Trilogy movies and what’s to come in a few weeks:
“In The Last Jedi I became a table decoration, which I regretted, because Threepio was worth more than that. But he does all sorts of weird stuff in this one. It was a delight, a joy! I get to go out on a high. This is my third ending and I think I’ll be saddest about this one. Return Of The Jedi was… well, it had the Ewoks in it, for God’s sake!”
Director J.J. Abrams concurs, explaining in a recent interview why the pair weren’t heavily used in the Sequel Trilogy:
C-3PO is very center to [The Rise of Skywalker] and truly wonderful in it. … Obviously, you do the best you can. You focus on what the story is and you respond to what your gut is telling you is working. And what the story seems to want. You know, I don’t know how strategic one can be working on something like that, thinking about how little or how much certain characters are used. Which is to say, you want to use them to serve the story. It turned out, we didn’t strategize this is the one Threepio has to be in more scenes than he’s ever been in. It just turned out that the story was best served using a character that has been underused to see a new side of him and tell the story. So it was very much a utility, but it felt inspired that you got to see a character in a whole new light.”
One interesting twist is that despite Anthony Daniels complaining that he was under-used in previous movies, it appears that he was grumbling a bit about having to do much during the film:
“There were times he was, you know, bemoaning having to do something… [Laughs] I was like, listen man, you wanted this! But he’s wonderful in this. I don’t think he’s ever been better.”
With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker being Daniels’ final appearance as C-3PO, it looks likely that the golden droid is going to have a rather tragic ending. We’re still not entirely sure what the deal with his glowing red eyes is in the trailer, but perhaps his decades-long legacy as being constructed by a young Anakin Skywalker will finally come back to haunt him. We’ll find out for certain on December 20th.