In the forward to Anthony Daniels’ tell-all book about his lifetime of experiences with the Star Wars franchise, director J.J. Abrams likens the C-3PO costume to a sensory-deprivation tank. It’s true: The iconic gold-plated body suit of the heroic protocol droid severely limited Daniels’ field of view, and left him pretty incapable of feeling any part of his own body. And that’s not even the worst of it. As Daniels puts it:
“I would also add the element of a terrible, terrible Medieval torture called the Iron Maiden, which they would put people in a metal box—and it was shaped like a humanoid—and they would close it. And the trick was, on the closing doors, there were big spikes that would come jab into you. And I think that was the original design for this costume; they took that Medieval style and repurposed it.”
Despite every pinch and scratch incurred by the C-3PO suit, Anthony Daniels looks back on his years in the costume fondly, and he was more than happy to elaborate further when we spoke with him earlier this month in Los Angeles. The actor revealed to us how the costume’s specific physical limitations affected his performance and helped determine the ways in which C-3PO would move and interact with the world. And, finally, Daniels relished in C-3PO’s valorizing moments throughout the Star Wars series, from his “golden god” status with the Ewoks, to the “one last look” at his friends.
I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story is out now from DK. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is now available digitally, and on Blu-ray and DVD.