There are few characters more vital to the history of Star Wars as C-3PO and Chewbacca. They are among the limited group of key supporting players who have appeared in all three trilogies of the Skywalker Saga, and being non-human characters their specific designs have long informed the larger aesthetic of the galaxy far, far away.
Given this significance, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for the actors delivering what may be their final performances in the roles in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker… which is why I specifically decided to ask stars Anthony Daniels and Joonas Suotamo about the experience during the movie’s recent Los Angeles press day.
You can watch the clip from the interview by clicking play on the video below:
As you would expect, Anthony Daniels is very aware of the effect that seeing C-3PO has on people, having been playing the character for more than 40 years, and he noted that it was something he had no problem taking advantage of in the making of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – where he has a role far larger than the one he played in either Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
How did he go about doing this? It started with not breaking the illusion for the crew while cameras were rolling. Anthony Daniels wouldn’t actually go on set until he had gone through the unique costuming process that brings C-3PO alive. As he explained, the actor just couldn’t get enough of how people would react to and behave around the legendary droid:
The experience was a bit different for Joonas Suotamo, given that he inherited the role of Chewbacca from Peter Mayhew in the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – but being in such heavy makeup and wearing a costume that so completely disguised him still allowed him to feel that same kind of awed energy from people involved in the production. There is truly no character in cinematic history quite like him, and he always turns heads.
Naturally there was a particular pressure that came part and parcel with everything, as the actor felt a deep responsibility for carrying on the legacy of the character, but he could still be wowed seeing the world through Chewbacca’s eyes. Said Suotamo,
Clearly the presence of C-3PO and Chewbacca on the set of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker heightened the emotions of everyone involved as soon as they arrived – and this made it all that much harder to say goodbye at the very end. I also asked the actors about their respective last days shooting their roles, and they discussed the specialness of the moment.
Anthony Daniels explained that there was a bit of irony involved with his particular role on the last day he was on set as C-3PO. As any fan will tell you, one of the most iconic aspects of the character is the fact that he never seems to know when to shut up – which is why it was a bit odd that Daniels’ last day playing the role didn’t feature any dialogue:
Discussing his own experience, Joonas Suotamo revealed something that I genuinely didn’t know: that the production specifically didn’t tell the actors what their last shot on the film was going to be. Based on arguments that the actor laid out, it definitely made sense as a policy – and he was still ready to deliver a speech (in full costume, of course) when J.J. Abrams announced that it was a wrap on Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker:
Stepping back in, Anthony Daniels noted that he now has a significant amount of experience witnessing what appears to be the end of Star Wars with both Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, but this one was particularly special. Said Daniels,
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, Billy Dee Williams, Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Domhnall Gleeson, and more, arrives in theaters today.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.