Two of the most beloved Star Wars characters from the original trilogy are the droids; R2-D2 and C-3PO. But it turns out that George Lucas was not a fan of Anthony Daniels’ performance as Threepio to begin with, as Daniels reveals in his autobiography; I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story. In fact, Lucas auditioned 30 other actors to do Threepio’s voiceover.
Daniels quotes the mixing technician at his first voice session, where he was recording the now iconic Star Wars droid’s lines; “You know, it’s amazing that you got here. We’ve spent a couple of months trying to find a voice for your character, ‘cos George really hates your perf… Oh. Hi, George,”
Daniels says that he was shocked, and didn’t even say hello to Lucas. He just asked him; “You hated my performance?” George looked abashed, and replied; “Well, I… err… never thought of Threepio being a British butler.” Daniels says that he was stunned, and thought that Lucas could have said something at the time. “I could have done it differently. I could have offered something else.”
Daniels continues; “It transpired that 30 actors, including stars like Richard Dreyfuss, had been invited in to dub my on-screen movements. Many talented people gave it their best, but nothing had quite fitted the character as I had physically created him. Finally, a voice-over pro pointed out that my vocal performance was actually okay. Exhausted with the quest, George had generously changed his mind.” Looking back, most people would agree that the Star Wars movies would not be the same without Daniels.
Daniels later met Richard Dreyfuss at the Oscars; “There was a comfortable green-room area backstage – lots of potted plants and sofas and Perrier, where the guests could relax during the show. Not really being a stargazer, I was however impressed to see Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Dreyfuss. He seemed to have got over any disappointment he might have had at not being the voice of See-Threepio – especially since he would end the evening with the Best Actor Oscar in his hands.” Dreyfuss won the Oscar for The Goodbye Girl in 1978, not long after Star Wars came out.
If you’re still a fan of a galaxy far, far away – check out our guide to the best Star Wars series.