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A Minute With: the ‘Star Wars’ actors behind C-3PO and Chewbacca

Entertainment

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Star Wars” actor Anthony Daniels has portrayed the fretful droid C-3PO in ten movies over 42 years. His next appearance hits global theaters on Thursday in “The Rise of Skywalker.”

Fellow star Joonas Suotamo stepped into the furry Chewbacca costume in 2015 for “The Force Awakens” and plays the towering Wookiee on the big screen for the fourth time in the new film.

Daniels and Suotamo spoke with Reuters about their characters, their costumes and trying to wow former co-star Harrison Ford. The following are edited excerpts.

Q: When this whole thing started, when you read the first script for “Star Wars,” what did you think of this movie, this story with a talking droid and a Wookiee who was the co-pilot?

Daniels: I didn’t understand anything apart from the fact that I really liked C-3PO, the character I was being offered, and I took it. And he was just a character that seemed to have a different quality from the humans, the princess, the heroes, Luke Skywalker, all that.

Q: Did you wonder if it would work?

Daniels: We had no faith in it at all. George Lucas just pushed it all forward and kind of ignored our little sniggers and so on. And now, huge kudos to him all these years later.

Q: What is your least favorite thing about your costumes?

Daniels: It looks beautiful from the outside, but from the view inside, my world is totally through little pinholes there. So I have to really concentrate on not bumping into things that I can’t see.

Suotamo: It’s my autonomy. I lose a little bit of that when I put on the costume because I’m wearing something that’s fairly expensive and very valuable to the film. Whenever if I’m eating some food, I need to be conscious of the costume. Sometimes that can get a little bit mildly irritating, but the pros always outweigh the cons when you’re playing one of the iconic characters in “Star Wars.”

Q: How long did it take you to get the roar down?

Suotamo: It took a couple of weeks because I wanted to impress Harrison Ford. Needless to say, he wasn’t very impressed.

Daniels: He never is. It’s terrible. He’s seen it all.

Q: How would you describe (Chewbacca’s) personality?

Suotamo: I think he’s stubborn, loyal and extremely non- compromising when it comes to his friends’ safety. He is very much interested in seeing them all pull through. That’s what makes Chewbacca a good guy.

Q: Has the character (of C-3PO) evolved? He’s a droid. Can he evolve?

Daniels: He’s a machine. He’s a droid. Yes. But if you take the example of a microwave or a washing machine, it’s a washing machine. But you can put different things inside it and maybe get the colors to run a bit or whatever. So he very much depends on the circumstances in which he’s placed. And in “The Rise of Skywalker,” boy, he’s placed pretty much in the center.

Q: You’ve said goodbye to the franchise twice (when two prior trilogies concluded). How was this one different?

Daniels: It’s a very good place to end the story. And I’m not saying goodbye to the franchise, just the movies. Threepio will always exist, and with the modern media that we all have now, it’s so easy to drop into the ‘Star Wars’ world at the touch of a button. It’s all yours for ever and ever.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Nick Zieminski