Anthony Daniels, the only actor to appear in all nine episodes of the Star Wars saga, once approached The Rise of Skywalker writer-director J.J. Abrams with the idea of killing protocol droid C-3PO as part of a big send-off to give audiences a sense of "finality." Daniels revealed the desire in his recently published book, I Am C-3PO, detailing his journey as the chatty Threepio; according to the book, Abrams said of the request, "Not on my watch." In a new interview with The Huffington Post ahead of The Rise of Skywalker, Daniels explains why he felt Threepio should be scrapped:
"Before filming this, it seemed like the writers had slightly run out of steam with C-3PO. I didn't want him to just become a wall decoration," Daniels said. "I thought he should have a big send-off or send-off that gave you finality, and of course, at the time, J.J. said 'no way.'"
But Abrams, Daniels added, is "notorious for changing his mind on a minute-by-minute basis. It makes working with him a vibrant experience."
Daniels' request was born out of dissatisfaction with Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, where Threepio was used as little more than a "table decoration," Daniels said in a previous interview.
"In The Last Jedi I became a table decoration, which I regretted, because Threepio was worth more than that," he told Empire Magazine. "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!"
Abrams, who first directed Daniels in The Force Awakens, earlier told Uproxx Daniels' iconic droid is "very center to this story and truly wonderful in it" before explaining why Threepio and longtime sidekick R2-D2 had little to do across the sequel trilogy after playing key roles in both the prequel and original trilogies:
"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," Abrams said. "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.
He continued, "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."