George Lucas on Star Wars: Reading Emotion into a Robot

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

C-3PO, Star Wars A New Hope

The Scene: C-3PO enters the film alongside R2-D2.

George Lucas Says: “One of the very difficult things about creating Threepio is that I needed to create a face that was absolutely neutral, that I could then read into whatever emotion it was that was being put forth in the scene. I had a sculptress come in and do a series of heads to to get to a head that was absolutely neutral and had no emotion on it whatsoever. I wanted all the reactions to be from the environment and the story around it so that if he was happy you would read happiness into his face. If he was sad you would read sadness into his face, and it wouldn’t be distorted at all by the physical configuration of his face.”

I Say: The whole “read emotion into the face” principle doesn’t just apply to Threepio. It also applies to Darth Vader. Case in point: The moments prior to Vader’s unmasking in Return of the Jedi, as he’s telling Luke he wants to “look on you with my own eyes.” We’re reading things like love and compassion into Vader’s mask, which is a stark contrast to what we’ve read into it previously.

To an extent, it also applies to R2-D2 and other robot characters. I suppose that’s what happens when your robots have so many feelings…

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