Playing Star Wars' C-3PO Left Actor Anthony Daniels With Permanent Scars

If you think about it (but not too much), R2D2 and C-3PO are the closest things the "Star Wars" films have to main characters. They're the first two we focus on in "A New Hope," and they go on to play a role in every single episode afterward. The human characters usually only get one or two trilogies to make an impression, but our two favorite droids are a consistent presence throughout all three. 

Yet back in 1977 if you told the actor who plays C-3PO, Anthony Daniels, that there'd be eight more of these movies for him to star in, he probably wouldn't be too happy to hear it. That first "Star Wars" film, with its threadbare budget, forced Daniels to be stuck inside a robot suit that was deeply uncomfortable. "The whole first film was a miasma of pain," Daniels told Rolling Stone in a 1980 interview. "It was the metal pieces of the suit shoving me about, meeting with another piece of metal to pinch me horribly. It was like sticking your fingers in an electric socket, again and again." 

During the interview, Daniels asked, "Do you want to see the scars?" and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal what Rolling Stone described as "a gruesome network of old wounds." Adding in the fact that most of C-3PO's scenes were filmed in the desert — in an area so hot it was named Death Valley, no less — and nothing about Daniels' experience sounds fun.

Easier with time

Luckily, things got a little easier for Daniels with "Empire Strikes Back," since the costume was redesigned. "It's slightly more flexible," Daniels said at the time. "I even tap-danced recently, did a metallic soft-shoe on 'The Muppet Show.'" In watching Daniels' performance in the 1990 "Muppet Show" episode, it's clear what he means: it's hard to imagine the C-3PO of "A New Hope" ever moving this gracefully. It also helped that most of his scenes in "Empire" took place indoors, so he didn't have to deal with any of that Tatooine sand, which is coarse and irritating and gets everywhere

Things got even more comfortable with the prequels, where the C-3PO suit was often replaced with CGI. It made Daniel's performance physically easier since he only needed to do the voice, but he's since told Hollywood Reporter in 2014 that he thought the use of CGI undermined the character a little: "With me [in the suit], he's always going to move the same way and have the same reactions, timing and so on. With CG, you're working with some brilliant person on the keyboard who is trying to pretend to be me." Luckily the sequels returned to more practical effects, with an even more comfortable suit as a bonus. "They made an entirely new look-a-like [suit] with changes that you will never notice that made my life a lot easier," he explained. 

C-3PO may not be high on the list of everyone's favorite "Star Wars" characters — even among just the droids, he's usually ranked behind R2 — but the perpetually anxious British robot is still a much-appreciated presence in the series. It may not have always been fun for the actor himself, but we're certainly glad he stuck around.