I AM C-3PO / AUTHOR: ANTHONY DANIELS / PUBLISHER: DORLING KINDERSLEY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
A sure sign of Christmas is the appearance of a surfeit of autobiographies clamouring for shoppers’ attention, just as a sure sign of a new Star Wars film looming is a surfeit of merchandise. Well, it’s a Star Wars Christmas, and as the saga draws to a close, there’s no better time for Anthony Daniels to spill the inside story of his 42 years as his golden alter ego in I am C-3PO.
It’s not exactly an autobiography, though. There are no chapters outlining unnecessary family trees, formative years, school, nothing like that at all. The book gets straight to the meat by starting from Daniels applying for an audition for Star Wars in 1976, blissfully unaware of the life changing behemoth it would become on its release in 1977.
It’s the story of his life as an increasingly frustrated actor wearing the wretchedly uncomfortable outer cladding of the world’s best-known protocol droid throughout all three trilogies and the two spin-offs. (Daniels has a cameo in Solo - making him the only actor to have appeared in all eleven theatrical films.) As the tale unfolds, it’s impossible not to read it in Threepio’s voice.
The bulk of the book is concerned with Daniels’ growing discontentment with the way Threepio’s role was marginalised after the original trilogy. The actor was frequently promised his character would have a larger role, but ended up feeling, to all intents and purposes, like a prop. When Star Wars returned to the big screen with Phantom Menace, despite being the only original actor cast in this film, Daniels was reduced to his lowest ebb of merely providing the voice. And even then, some of his lines were cut.
There are some humorous anecdotes, of course, and a warm memoriam to the late Carrie Fisher - but it has to be said that Daniels mostly comes across as being a bit bitter about his treatment behind the golden mask. As the book ends with his account of the filming of The Rise of Skywalker, those wanting to see the film totally spoiler-free might well want to save this book until after attending a screening.