Comic Con Africa: Bigger than ever with Anthony Daniels


By Wikus van der Schyff

It is not for nothing described as the best festival of pop culture and video and computer games in Africa.

Comic Con Africa this long weekend had the Nasrec expo center in Johannesburg buzzing and glowing with festival goers, neon lights and admirers dressed as colorful versions of their favorite characters from contemporary pop culture.

Loudspeakers announced the scores of video game tournaments throughout the center, adding to the excitement. Various stalls advertised products, services and even costumes. The stages welcomed movie stars from all corners of the world, while the newest Japanese animation department was able to capture the attention of admirers for the first time.

Comic Con Africa completely sold out this past long weekend. The event offered 150 hours of content and 350 stalls, while the festival also welcomed 120 local comic book and animation artists, as well as actors.

Celebrities from hit series like Arrow and The Walking Dead and video game designers and attended the festival. Around 84,000 festival goers poured into the gates to witness the artists, video game exhibitions and tournaments.

The colorful costumes on display during the event made it extra special for those who attended. They got the opportunity to live out their favorite characters. This includes characters from the popular Resident Evilseries, the Lady Dimitrescu and the mighty Heisenberg from the video games.

The newest section of Comic Con, which of course also attracted the most attention, was the Otaku Town which focuses on the Japanese animation style-anime.

Headlining the festival this past Sunday, with Anthony Daniels playing C3P0 in the series of films, was for fans of the Star Wars-sage the highlight of the weekend.

Daniels is of course known for his role, but he also mentions in an interview that it was not always moonlight and roses.

“Plan? There is no plan,” he laughs from the film Mad Max on. “There was actually a plan, I studied law,” he soon confesses, “but it gave me pure suicidal tendencies.”

Daniels was depressed while studying law and therefore looked for another outcome. He started experimenting with amateur actors and his love for acting made him realize that he doesn’t want to walk any other path in life than the path that will fulfill him and make him happy.

It was only after he won a BBC radio award that he was invited to enter Star Wars to play. Moreover, he was initially hesitant about the role. “It just wasn’t my thing at all. They wanted me to play a robot and I just thought there was no way. However, when I went to look at the art of the characters, the only one that grabbed me was this one grunge-mechanical man.”

He also talked about the change over the years. “Of course I’m fifty years older now, but I’m also less mature now,” he jokes. “I was terribly serious at the time.”

The experience did have its challenges. He played a bigger role than most of the other actors in the films, but he could not create publicity for himself because George Lucas wanted to pretend that C3P0 was a real robot. He also mentioned that he has been criticized by other actors because they believe that it is pointless to hide yourself under a full-body costume.

Still, in the midst of it all, Daniels is incredibly proud of his role and happy to see that he was able to inspire people around the world. His main message to his fans is that they should follow no other path in life than the path that fulfills them.