C-3PO and R2-D2 get their own adventure this week on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In the middle of a routine shopping trip on Coruscant, C-3PO is abducted by bounty hunter Cad Bane. Soon, both Threepio and his astromech counterpart R2-D2 find themselves pawns in Bane’s plan to free Ziro the Hutt from a heavily guarded prison in the heart of the Republic. The hapless droids are once again integral in events that threaten to unravel the future of the galaxy in “Evil Plans” – an all-new episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars airing at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT Friday, November 5th on Cartoon Network.
Reprising his role from all six live-action Star Wars films and countless ancillary intergalactic appearances over the past three decades, Anthony Daniels returns to voice the prim and proper protocol droid for this special episode of The Clone Wars. Thrilled at the rare chance to explore Threepio’s expertise in etiquette, Daniels himself relished the opportunity to exercise the fan-favorite character’s strengths in ways that haven’t yet been seen on screen.
“Threepio’s whole life is focused on how to avoid conflict, and the basic premise is that he’s always out of place. But he doesn’t have to be the fall guy all the time,” says Daniels. “For once, we see him functioning as he was made, according to his programming. It’s a more domesticated storyline, without the shoot-em-up aspects of the Saga. His abilities are cerebral, not physical – and he finally gets to use his expertise in protocol and etiquette. In a way, he’s more relaxed than we’ve ever seen him. But of course nothing in party-planning ever goes exactly as planned.”
Having spent so much time ensconced in Threepio’s golden trappings for the big screen, live-action adventures, Daniels enjoys the opportunity to bring the character to life through vocalization alone. Less physically strenuous than on-camera appearances, voice work nonetheless requires a keen attention to detail, as well as an understanding of what makes the character tick.
“There are all sorts of funny little technical issues with keeping him human-like without human sounds. He doesn’t breathe; I have to be careful not to breathe,” says Daniels. “The aim is to keep him very much as he is in the movies. Some of it has become second nature; I’ve been pleased to realize that I can still create the voice and match the original character. It’s the genuine article. And I really do enjoy the animation. It’s a mutual support society; they do picture to voice, so it’s a physical representation based around my vocal performance. In the series, Threepio is as gravity-forced as always. It reminds you that he can be quite clumsy. I think The Clone Wars is animated in a way that is quite accessible – not just the wide-eyed, simple, Saturday morning fare. It makes you realize you are watching Star Wars.”
Though the episode is quintessentially Star Wars, Daniels notes that the droids tend to illustrate some of the lighter aspects of the space saga. Focusing on dialogue rather than danger, they represent the fun of the series, without relying so heavily on galaxy-shattering stakes.
“There are sides of Star Wars that can be quite humorous – subtle and more gentle. I think that’s why people enjoy the relationship between Artoo and Threepio,” he says. “You don’t expect them to exhibit these human qualities, and it’s really quite charming. For all the battles, there’s a benignity that gives [Star Wars] the winner’s cup; it’s an honorable enterprise, because there’s more to it than blasters and political concerns. It’s important to realize that not everything has to focus on the dark side. Life goes on, even when there’s a war going on. But Threepio would say that, wouldn’t he?”