I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story – DK (publisher) – November 5 2019 (release) – 272 pages
If there is one person who (in addition to George
Lucas) is inextricably linked to Star Wars, then it is Anthony Daniels,
the man who has since the start of Star Wars 43 years ago featured in 12
films, 4 animated series, an amusement park attraction, radio plays and a
concert series. Years ago I had twice the pleasure of spending an entire
weekend with him as his personal assistant at events. A more than unique
experience that I cherish. When his autobiography was announced earlier this
year, this was the Star Wars release I was looking forward to the most.
The fact that Daniels has writing talent has been
known for a long time since he wrote the (New) Wonder Column from 1995
to 1999 in the official magazine Star Wars Insider. Now, twenty years
later, he displays these skills again; in one of the first chapters he
describes in a really great and humorous way how his first meetings with George
Lucas went and how he got the role of C-3PO.
After a story about the realization of his suit, we
are taken to Tunisia (Tatooine), the Elstree Studios (Death Star and Tantive IV
scenes) and Hollywood (a conversation with George Lucas in Hamburger Hamlet
where Lucas explained that you don’t eat a burger with cutlery but with your
hands). Chronologically, Daniels’ entire Star Wars career is reviewed
(including The Holiday Special from 1978), with The Rise of Skywalker
as its terminus. Of course all this is told in the typical “Daniels”
way. You “hear” his characteristic voice and humor while reading.
What is noteworthy is that Daniels is critical of things. He calls his contributions to the sequels “token appearances”. In addition, he elaborates on the fact that after the first film, Lucasfilm did everything to make C-3PO look like a real robot; nowhere was his name mentioned or said who was in the suit and this was something that really disappointed him. Of course the relationship with Kenny Baker (the two were not friends) is also discussed. All in all an improvement compared with other books in which negative issues often remain undiscussed (see Making of Solo, which was published earlier this year, in which nothing is said about the problematic production).
Without wanting to reveal more details, it is be clear
that this book is a beautiful, almost indispensable addition to the library of
fans who love beautiful background stories. The book feels like a farewell and
if Daniels indeed goes into “Star Wars retirement” after
December 16, he will be missed but leaves a great legacy.