This post contains MINOR SPOILERS for Solo
Anthony Daniels cameos in this month's Solo: A Star Wars Story, but not as his iconic character, C-3PO. The protocol droid has been a staple of the franchise dating back to the 1977 original, as he and counterpart R2-D2 appeared in the first nine live-action films of the franchise. Their roles in the movies have significantly changed over the past four decades (they're bit players in the sequel trilogy), but they have remained the one constant through-line through all Star Wars productions. Even if it's just for a brief cameo a la Rogue One, fans could always count on seeing the dynamic duo.
With Solo just a couple weeks away from hitting theaters, some viewers were wondering if the droids' perfect attendance record would still stand, or if Ron Howard broke tradition. Mark Hamill seemingly revealed another C-3PO cameo was in the cards when he revealed Daniels has a part in Solo, making him the only actor to be in all of the movies so far. And while it is true Daniels shows up in Solo, he is not portraying everyone's favorite interpreter.
Solo co-writer Jon Kasdan confirmed the news in an interview with Uproxx. When asked about the rumors concerning Threepio, the scribe detailed Daniels' role:
"No, but Anthony Daniels is in the movie as a different character. In the Papillon type offshoot story, the Wookiee that helps them escape, Chewbacca’s best friend, is played by Anthony Daniels – and beckons him to join them as they escape on a different ship."
UPDATE: Jonathan Kasdan has clarified that Daniels is not playing a Wookiee in Solo. His character's name Tak is a tribute to legendary cinematographer Tak Fujimoto.
Threepio and Artoo's cameo in Rogue One was criticized for being empty fan service, so it's probably for the best they're not in Solo. Given the spinoff's criminal underworld setting, it's difficult to find a place for them that feels organic. Even possibilities that wouldn't contradict canon (an Imperial spaceport, Kessel) ran the risk of feeling contrived. Since Solo is already packed with plenty of nods and references to the earlier movies, there's no need to shoehorn in two more classic characters just for the sake of things. It's encouraging Lucasfilm realized this, as it illustrates they're willing to forego certain trademarks if they don't fit. If there was a spot for the droids, Howard surely would have included them, but we'll have to wait until next December to see them again.
Kasdan's comparison to Papillon indicates there will be some kind of jailbreak sequence in Solo, quite possibly on Kessel (where the Empire employed Wookiee slaves). We already know the main job put together by Dryden Vos takes place on that world, and with Chewie along for that ride, he's going to want to save fellow members of his species. As for Daniels' mystery Wookiee (identified as Tak on the cast list), it's reasonable to think he plays the one Chewbacca bids farewell to in the final trailer. Many initially assumed that was Chewie's wife, but there was nothing to confirm that at the time. Either way, it should be an emotional scene. Because of his life debt to Han, Chewie cannot accompany his fellow kin to wherever they're going, and he'll be unsure if he'll even see them again.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019