‘Star Wars’ celebrated in music in Gwinnett

Q&A with Anthony Daniels "CP3PO"

He’s braved the metallic chill of the planet Hoth, dodged Imperial fire and survived enslavement by the slimy Jabba the Hutt. So actor Anthony Daniels’ trip to the Arena at Gwinnett Center should be a relative walk in the intergalactic park.

Instead of dressing as android C-3PO, the “Star Wars” alum gets an easier gig this time. He’ll leave the heavy and restrictive costume in the lobby for onlookers. Daniels dons a tux as narrator of “Star Wars: In Concert,” a live event celebrating the music and imagery of the “Star Wars” film saga.

The gig suits him well. Credit Daniels for making C-3PO’s voice as unforgettable as the robot’s gold sheen.

And long before he went on that life-changing jaunt to a galaxy far, far away, the actor got his start as a member of the BBC Radio Drama Company in London.

For “Star Wars: In Concert,” Daniels, one of a handful of actors to appear in all six “Star Wars” films, joins a full symphony orchestra and choir on a massive stage that looks as if it’s been pieced together with spare parts from the Death Star.

The unmistakable strains of John Williams’ score will ring out as Daniels tells the story of a how a young Anakin Skywalker grew to become a breathing-challenged baddie named Darth Vader. Footage from all of the “Star Wars” movies illuminates a giant, high-def LED screen. The film clips have been edited to synchronize with the music.

Ironically, amid the high tech pomp and circumstance, one of the biggest treats may be seeing Daniels’ face from behind the mask.

On finding the right words to describe “Star Wars: In Concert”:

It’s difficult for me, to be honest. Because although it’s nearly four years in the making, none of us involved have quite worked out how to explain to people what it is. Yes, we have a three-story-high screen, 100 feet wide. We’ve got an 86-piece orchestra, we’ve got a 100-piece choir. We’ve got staging, endless and wonderful robotic lights, lasers, atmosphere, sound effects, films, me as a narrator, and an exhibition. You put all that together and it doesn’t sound very interesting. But actually it becomes something utterly magical when you add thousands of people in the audience. It becomes an event, a phenomenon, just as “Star Wars” has become a phenomenon in our lives.

On what the audience will see and hear:

Each sequence that I narrate then leads to beautifully edited film sequences from all six movies compiled in such a way that they tell a story around a [musical] theme. It might be a theme about the bad characters, Darth Vader, Darth Maul. It might be one for the funny characters, the droids, or the beautiful ones like Princess Leia. Each one is themed as John Williams’ music is themed, and you experience his leitmotif. His themes reach character. Most characters have a signature tune ... but the clever thing about “Star Wars: In Concert” is the script cuts away a lot of the extra bits. So if you listen, you hear the very clear story. And if you’ve never understood or heard “Star Wars” or been to a “Star Wars” film, this is something you should come and see for your feeling of being part of a worldwide phenomenon. [It’s] an epic, a story as much as “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.”

On the inspirational power of music.:

All through you are aware of the orchestra. The central screen may be showing these wonderful films. But on all of our side drapes, which are woven with LEDs that show pictures, you will have a huge close-up shot of a harp or a cello or a flute. I’m so excited to watch these, and I know and hope that some children will be inspired to take up an instrument, because they can hear and see how it works and how a person is making that lovely sound.

Concert preview

“Star Wars: In Concert”

7:30 p.m. Nov. 3. $35-$75. The Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 404-249-6400, www.ticketmaster.com .