Book Review: I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels

Author: Anthony Daniels
Foreword: JJ Abrams
Publisher:
DK
Formats available: Hardback, eBook, audiobook, Signed Collector’s Edition
Pages: 272
RRP: £18.99, Signed Collector’s Edition £100.00
Release date: October 31, 2019

The synopsis;

Discover the incredible untold story of one of Star Wars’ most iconic characters, C-3PO, told by the man who knows him best.

“Did you hear that? They’ve shut down the main reactor! We’ll be destroyed for sure. This is madness.”

These words were the very first to be spoken in any Star Wars movie, and they were spoken by a droid: C-3PO.

With his gleaming golden body and good-intentioned (yet worrisome) personality, C-3PO was there at the very beginning. Of course, C-3PO wasn’t actually a robot, or some amazing early animatronic creation – he was actually a man named Anthony Daniels.

Now, for the very first time, Anthony Daniels will tell C-3PO’s story in its entirety, from seeing the first concept images to the early stages of the final film in the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: Episode IX, and in the process, will also tell his own. This includes his encounters with movie legends such as Sir Alec Guinness, what it was like working closely with George Lucas, and the friendships he formed with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and others. But being encased in a solid shell for countless hours also involved hardships, pain, and in some cases real physical danger.

In I am C-3PO: The Inside Story, Daniels candidly relays his humorous, unvarnished, and extraordinary story as the man inside the machine, providing fresh new insights for even the most die-hard of Star Wars fans.

The review;

Autobiographies are few and far between from actors involved with the Star Wars franchise, so when Anthony Daniels announced that he would be releasing the story of his life as See-Threepio, it immediately grabbed my attention. Away from reading a myriad of Star Wars releases, I do like an autobiography and have been captivated by so many that I have read.

Quite early on you realise that this book is not an autobiography in the truest sense, but more of a memoir from his time portraying Threepio. So many chapters are quick fire, one or possibly two pages at most, but the level of detail is excellent. Due to this relaxed style, I found it very quick and easy to read.

If you have ever had the chance to meet Anthony, you will realise that this book is written exactly how he talks. At times the stories and the feelings expressed are so personal, I could imagine sitting there with Anthony as he regaled me with the tales himself. Due to this fact there is one challenge that I lay before you when you read this book; try and read it without hearing Anthony’s or even Threepio’s voice in your head. I know I couldn’t!

Actors are traditionally seen as apprehensive people away from their profession and this comes through, but not because of any foibles in personality. The public’s response to an actor’s performance is always their judge, and no matter what, you can’t please everyone, can you? However, it wasn’t the passing of any judgements that ultimately made it difficult for Anthony, and I understand how the suit of gold itself has had a profound effect on him, including his relationship with those around him. Wearing the suit isolated Anthony from the cast and crew and it feels like he was seen as a prop at times rather than as a real person acting in a suit. Sensory deprivation, difficulty in movement, and discomfort from the costume all lead to an unimaginable disconnection from the people around him and in a sense the suit became a virtual ‘Iron Lady’ – which Anthony describes it himself at one point.

This was all compounded by his lack of involvement with Lucasfilm in the promotion of A New Hope around the globe. I feel that Anthony has made the most of what he was given and has fought for his place and the recognition he now receives from all quarters. There is no arguing that he is now an integral part of Star Wars – well he has been in every movie, so far!

There is a subject that I thought was handled so well. It has always been courted that the relationship between Anthony and Kenny Baker was nothing like their characters. And here, this is confirmed, but instead of a shock and scandal way of handling it, I felt the explanation given was respectful and tinged with a sadness that they never really got on.

If I were to be hyper critical, I was left feeling that there was a chapter missing at the end. This said, Threepio’s and Anthony’s journey together in a galaxy far, far away is surely not over yet? I realise this was down to the timing of the release date of the book, prior to the ending of the Saga, and possibly the timing of when I read it. The paperback release or an updated version will hopefully address that at some point, as it would be nice to see an extra chapter or two encompassing his world tour to promote this book and the events surrounding the release of The Rise of Skywalker.

This memoir from within the golden shell of one of the most iconic characters in modern cinematic history is a thoroughly good read, packed with humour, candour and it is an altruistic view of the work and effort put in to bringing See-Threepio to life! This is a must read for any Star Wars fan!

I’m sure Anthony is currently having a long, well-deserved vacation after his recent exploits. Hopefully he’s somewhere warm and sunny with his feet up preparing to write that next chapter while reading a script for See-Threepio’s next Star Wars adventure!

Availability;

I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels is published by DK. It retails at £18.99 in the UK and was released on October 20, 2019. It is available from Amazon and all bookstores online and on your high street.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Steve Galloway
Steve was 5 years old when he saw Star Wars for the first time during its first UK cinema release. He considers himself a first generation Star Wars fan and in his own words is a ‘Child of 77’.