Imagine if you could sit with an actor from one of your favorite movie franchises and listen to them as they reflected on forty years of working on said franchise. Anthony Daniels’s I Am C-3PO is just this. From the moment you open the book to the last word on page 265, Daniels pours out the memories from when he first started in the galaxy from far far away to the final moment when he left the set of The Rise of Skywalker.
Daniels is the only actor to have appeared in all Star Wars movies as the golden protocol droid C-3PO. From A New Hope to Rogue One, The Force Awakens and the concluding arc in the Skywalker saga The Rise of Skywalker, Anthony Daniels has been there playing that ever worried and yet loyal droid to a host of characters.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the book. Would this be a tell-all about his costars? Would there be gossipy bits that highlight the darker points of the much-loved movie franchise? None of that would fill a single page of this delightfully crisp and detailed account of what it was like to be C-3PO.
Daniels is short about his upbringing and how he got into the theatre and movies. His book only takes a moment to explore these years before Star Wars, and once he begins describing his first meeting with George Lucas and falling in love with the concept art for his character created by Ralph McQuarrie, Daniels dives into life in and around C-3PO.
His experience in the deserts of Tunisia were made enjoyable by working with costars like Mark Hamill and Sir Alec Guinness. Daniel’s describes in detail the complex and tedious task of being entombed in his costume as C-3PO. With his limited view and the difficulty of acting in a suit that was at best claustrophobic, Daniels delights the readers with his tidbits of information of life on the set.
When the first movie became a global blockbuster, Daniels was taken aback by the lack of recognition for his work. The world knew who his co-stars were, but Lucasfilm pretended that C-3PO was a robot. Anthony Daniels who? The man who was the machine fought for his recognition, got his name in the cast list for The Empire Strikes Back, and continued to portray the naïve and wonderous droid to the best of his ability.
As the years ticked by and the movies continued, acting in the metallic suit didn’t become any easier. How do you act with others when you can barely see out of the limited viewing you have? For Anthony Daniels, the challenges at playing C-3PO never ended. The fears of falling, the real dangers he faced when a piece of uneven flooring could cause an accident that would injure him and damage the costume never ceased.
From the original trilogy to the prequels and beyond we see a man who has not only come to love the character he played, but we see the beauty of C-3PO that Anthony Daniels brought to the metallic robot. Many actors tend to write about the trials and tribulations of being such a prolific character, and for Daniels, one might expect that we would see a resentment come out about being only identified as the golden protocol droid.
We don’t. Thankfully, Anthony Daniels takes every page and sentence of his wonderful narrative to celebrate and praise the character that he played. Daniels cares for the memory of his character and the legacy of his part in the grand space opera and continues to think of his character as a separate force, but also a part of him.
Viewers from 1977 to 2019 have met the prim and proper protocol droid that Anthony Daniels brought to life on the screen, and through his book I Am C-3PO, Anthony Daniels confirms what one would suspect. He loved playing that character. He details tidbits of information from each film, and fondly reflects on the friendships he has made with his castmates.
Daniels paints a loving portrait of Carrier Fisher, and though he limits his focus of the narrow chapters to snapshots of moments in time, the reader cannot help but shed a tear as he describes in detail what a wonderful person she was.
To the last moments on set for The Rise of Skywalker Anthony Daniels will leave readers wanting more. For this reader, I Am C-3PO is the perfect tale of life behind the scenes as one of the most famous droids in the galaxy.
It’s still Christmas time, and if you are looking for a perfect, late gift for that Star Wars fan you are shopping for, pick up Anthony Daniels’ I Am C-3PO. I recommend you read it before you wrap it up though.