Although actors like Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and the late Carrie Fisher have become the faces of the Star Wars franchise over the years, there's no forgetting the other integral players. While someone like Anthony Daniels never gets to show his face as timid protocol droid C-3PO, his performance is invaluable to establishing the believability of the world. So what's it like inside the iconic suit? According to Daniels during a recent appearance at Fan Expo 2017: It gets lonely once people on set start to think of you as a real droid. Daniels admitted:
It's not easy for me being in the suit because I'm slightly separated from everybody else. Back in the day, I was basically locked in that suit... to begin with, of course people would just come up to me all the time and say, 'Gosh, you look fantastic. This is incredible. You are a perfect droid.' Because nobody had seen a costume like this. But after a few days, I had become an object. People forgot I was in there. They accepted--because of my brilliant portrayal--that I was a robot and a machine and you don't have to be nice to machines. You don't have to say, 'Are you okay?' When did you last say that to your microwave?
On the one hand, I suppose that's a testament to good costume design and an excellent performance. After all, if a droid is primarily a tool used for manual labor, then we would want one to feel more like an object than a living being. Having said that, it also makes the process of playing C-3PO sound considerably less social than other characters in the Star Wars galaxy. He apparently couldn't (and still can't) sit when in the costume, so most of his time on-set between takes has been spent standing around, not interacting with other people.
That said, the solitude of the Threepio suit didn't stop Anthony Daniels from returning to the Star Wars universe when Lucasfilm decided to go all in on the new trilogy. Director J.J. Abrams apparently offered him a chance just to do the voice of the character for The Force Awakens, but he insisted on coming back to deliver the full performance -- albeit with a few design changes made to the outfit that allowed him to get out more easily, including the ability to take the helmet on the suit off in eight seconds, rather than it taking a half hour just to put on!
Anthony Daniels has become a treasure trove of C-3PO trivia over the years. In addition to this recent revelation about his experiences on the set of the first Star Wars films at Fan Expo 2017 (via Space), the droid's real life counterpart previously revealed that the high-strung robot had a silver leg in the original trilogy. We just never noticed it because it either reflected the gold plating on his other leg or reflected the yellow tint of the Tatooine desert. Kind of makes the whole red arm situation from The Force Awakens feel trivial in hindsight, doesn't it?
Over four decades removed from the original Star Wars trilogy, and we're still learning new things about one of our all-time favorite franchises. We will just have to wait and see where the saga in the galaxy far, far away goes next when Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15.