Did Anthony Daniels Throw Lucas, Prequels Under The Bus?

Yesterday there was a widely circulated link to an interview Anthony Daniels did with Entertainment Weakly (EWww.com). Initially I avoided the interview because at this point, I know what to expect with these things. When Dawn brought it up in comments last night, I checked it out for myself before giving my .02 on it.

Those of us who have been on the Star Wars bus long enough know how Daniels is about things; he’s ultra-protective of his character and can be really persnickety about whether Threepio is portrayed correctly. So there’s an explanation why he wasn’t thrilled with the puppet version of Threepio in TPM, or why he didn’t like that they had to use a generated image of Threepio in some scenes. I’m also aware of how he feels about Ewoks, largely due to the little people actors tripping him up on set beneath his line of sight.

Yes, he’s a fan favorite, a friend of Lucas, and has been a tireless MC. Having noted that, it’s very disappointing that he played right into what the interviewer and the overgrown nerdmen wanted to hear, not only about using a CG Threepio (what were they going to do, hang him off of a moving piece of machinery for real?) but also about Lucas and the prequels overall. Most of the interview was fine until the interviewer asked what’s different about Star Wars without Lucas. At first he says that Lucas will always be the inspiration. Okay, that’s fine. Reducing ROTJ to just those effin’-Ewoks-who-made-me-trip, not so fine. Then he moves on to this:

Then time moves on and we come to the prequels. I’m ignoring the special edition, the 3-D special edition, the special edition box set, the whatever. But then you move on to the prequels and people became quite critical. Often they were the people who were there the first time around. They weren’t the 10-year-olds. What I’m coming to say is that none of this would have happened without George. None of it. The depth that people get out of the Star Wars saga in general whether it’s cartoons or toys or whatever is so praiseworthy, so astounding that George — How would you say it? Okay, I’m going to say it: George is the force behind it.

Okay, not too fond of the dismissal of the SEs but absolutely right on the rest of it. But here comes the kicker:

Eventually, maybe, people run out of ideas, they lose track of what was the really neat stuff that we really went for. Then he wisely — probably thankfully, I don’t know but I would imagine — said, “Okay, I’ve done this, now you go play with it. Go play in the sandbox. I’ve given you the basic ingredients.”

So, he thinks Lucas ran out of ideas with the prequels and it’s good he’s not doing Star Wars anymore, eh? Never mind that Lucas came up with many of the best ideas and stories for Clone Wars, right on up to his retirement not too long ago. Never mind that Lucas came up with the ideas for continuing the saga with another trilogy, right on up to his retirement. (I’m skeptical they’re actually going to be used.) It’s funny to talk about “running out of ideas” when I’ve yet to see anything new or original come out of Ep VII and the first thing Abrams does is choose to go backwards instead of moving the medium forward.

I had been worried the whole marketing plan behind new movies was to treat media events as stops on an apology tour and to make as many statements possible about how these movies aren’t like THOSE awful movies. So far, my worst predictions have been coming true. Keep it up and I’ll probably not even bother with it in the theaters. It’s not like I really needed this trilogy anyway.

But you know what really gets my goat the most? I remember at Celebration II in 2002, shortly before AOTC was released, how enthused Daniels was about the film (he MC’d most of the big events at the con). So was he lying to us then or is he lying to us now? And why should I get all rah-rah over new movies if they’ll get thrown under the bus too if there’s a backlash against them?

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12 Responses to “Did Anthony Daniels Throw Lucas, Prequels Under The Bus?”

  1. Dawn Says:

    Those other, additional comments of his….I just….I can’t even verb with how angry that makes me…. He seems a real classless, ungrateful *ingrate*, quite frankly….never thought I’d say this of him, but here we are. And *these* are the sort of people Star Wars is in the hands of now…. 😦 😦

  2. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Anthony Daniels does not have a great reputation with the other cast members of the saga. However, he is entitled to his opinions. I’m afraid, however, that many fanboys and the media will take his words as the official view of the PT.

    • John Kramer Says:

      They would. They only see the bashing side as the real side, no matter how much you tell them. They deserve the Joker’s laugh to their faces.

  3. lovelucas Says:

    It’s always going to be about Anthony Daniels to Anthony Daniels and he will always be a flim flam man jumping on board the ship that’s winning the perceived popularity contest. Integrity, he has none. Loyalty likewise. Gratitude? He really thinks his turn to shine, to coin a prequel phrase chosen by George, should be front and center and all the time. But…we always knew this, didn’t we?

  4. lovelucas Says:

    Howdy LP – I’m en route to Ireland! and eventually Lake Como – Can’t seem to post on the site -not sure as I received an error message but this is what I have to say about C3POhcrap: t’s always going to be about Anthony Daniels to Anthony Daniels and he will always be a flim flam man jumping on board the ship that’s winning the perceived popularity contest. Integrity, he has none. Loyalty likewise. Gratitude? He really thinks his turn to shine, to coin a prequel phrase chosen by George, should be front and center and all the time. But…we always knew this, didn’t we?

    Linda

  5. xconomics Says:

    I was reading those last comments of his not as negatively about Lucas as you were. I was reading those as saying something about Lucas’ ideas for storylines AFTER the prequels and TCW.

    I am perfectly happy to imagine George Lucas saying ‘you know what? You try your luck in the Starwars sandbox’ after he completed the prequels and was pretty much completed on the Clone Wars stories. Given all the abuse he has been receiving from so-called fans he has every right to be fed-up and tired.

    But apart from that: I could very well imagine he had ‘run out of ideas’. The story that was so close to his heart all these 40 years was ‘The Tragedy & Redemption of Anakin Skywalker’. He finished that in ways only he could have finished it. It will forever stand as a monument to his exquisite visual story-telling and innovative imagery. I think he would not have been happy producing anything that would have fallen short of that.

    • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

      I have to admit that I’m also not sure whether his “ran out of ideas” comment is really directed at the Prequel era or the time afterwards, because it directly leads into the sale to Disney…hmmm…I’m not sure.

      What definitely annoys me a bit is the fact that he took on todays’s myth that “the first two” have always been universally loved while ROTJ and the PT have been criticized. Sorry to say that, but “the second” was NOT “a phenomena too”. It was just the first sequel. Some liked it, others didn’t. It certainly didn’t revolutionize Cinema like the Original.

      And I definitely can’t tolerate his ” I’m going to say it was awful” in regard to CG 3PO. Seriously, “awful? That’s just disrespectful and a “brilliant person” comment doesn’t save it. And I’ve never heard anyone who said digital 3PO in 2-second shots wasn’t “right”.
      It becomes extra ridiculous when taken into account that Mr. Daniels has voiced cartoon versions of the character for a long time…but sure, that’s not “not trying to pretend to be reality”…I know….

      • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

        Sorry for a second post, but I liked the interviewer’s response (which doesn’t happen very often):
        “To a casual fan, the character’s personality seems consistent.”

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Given that Lucas was working on Star Wars right on up to the day he sold the company, I doubt it (and what would Daniels know about any of it?). It’s clear Daniels was saying that the criticism about the prequels indicate Lucas was running out of ideas and “lost track of what was really the neat stuff,” so Lucas did the right thing by giving up Star Wars.

  6. hansolocup42 Says:

    Isn’t the man allowed to have an opinion now that he’s no longer required to enjoy the films by virtue of being involved in them? It certainly doesn’t change how I feel about the movies. Everyone is permitted their opinion, and everyone is permitted the ability to voice that opinion. I think this is a little unfair.

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