We’re glad to say there is no longer a feud between the men who played R2-D2 and C-3PO in Star Wars — Kenny Baker, and Anthony Daniels, respectively. However, we’re sad to say that’s because Kenny Baker hasn’t been with us for three years now.
Unfortunately, while Daniels and Baker were both still living, it was regrettably true that they did not get on well together. The bickering that made the droids so entertaining in the movies spilled over into real life – and it wasn’t very entertaining there.
How did Daniels and Baker get ‘Star Wars’?
Before Star Wars took over the galaxy in 1977, Daniels and Baker were just two actors stuck inside uncomfortable robot exoskeletons, often in sweltering desert heat. They felt silly and strange ambling around for a movie that seemed like it would never be a hit.
Daniels had been working for BBC Radio and for the National Theatre of Great Britain when he was invited to meet George Lucas.
Baker, for his part, used his 3-foot 8-inch height to his advantage, performing in comedy routines. That brought him to the attention of Lucas’ team, who recruited Baker to operate R2.
Sometimes R2 was a radio-controlled unit, but for certain movements, like when he wobbles around in frustration, that was Baker rocking back and forth.
Neither actor had an easy time being droids, with Daniels sweating buckets in the Tunisian desert, while Baker thought the whole gig was just strange. It was — but it changed both their lives.
The movie was so sensationally popular, even the usually unseen Baker and Daniels became stars, reprising their roles in everything from The Muppet Show to Star Tours at the Disney parks. Finally, life imitated art, as fictional animosity gave way to real-life animosity.
Why did Daniels and Baker have a rift?
The Telegraph provided a timeline of the Baker/Daniels tiff, which supposedly started, publicly anyway, in 2005, after the prequel trilogy was done.
Baker said, “Anthony doesn’t mix at all … Once when I said hello to him he just turned his back on me and said, ‘Can’t you see I’m having a conversation?’ I was blazing with rage.”
Four years later, Daniels and Baker were both invited to appear at a Star Wars event, and Baker reportedly said, “It depends. If you invite his lordship, the one with the golden balls. If he comes, I won’t be there.” Baker also maintained that Daniels wasn’t rude just to Baker, but to everyone else too.
Daniels, for his part, mostly did not comment on Baker’s remarks. When Baker passed away at age 81 in 2016, Daniels tweeted, “Sad to hear of Kenny’s passing.” And that struck some Star Wars fans as a muted tribute
Daniels became the longest-serving cast member
Baker could claim one distinction Daniels could not — being seen. While Daniels is mostly only heard in his various roles, Baker was actually seen in another popular sci-fi movie Time Bandits, playing one of several who travels through time robbing historical figures like Napoleon.
Baker played Fidget, the member of the team who befriends Kevin, the boy who unwittingly joins their adventures.
For his part, in the Star Wars movies, Daniels was actually only seen once, in a quick cameo in Attack of the Clones. However, he bears the distinction of being the only actor, seen or unseen, to appear in all nine of the episode movies.
Whatever animosity there may have been between Baker and Daniels, both were part of a phenomenon that will live on long after any squabblings have faded away.