George Lucas originally envisioned C-3PO as a kind of sleazy salesman, but actor
There were many changes to the original 1977 Star Wars which redirected the original vision of George Lucas, mostly for the better, including casting James Earl Jones to produce the booming baritone of Darth Vader and renaming the lazer swords to lightsabers. Now, according to a write-up in CBR, we can confirm another huge change to the film in the delivery of C-3PO’s voice across the entire Star Wars franchise. Apparently George Lucas envisioned C-3PO to sound more like a used car salesman than a space-butler.
Anthony Daniels portrays C-3PO in Star Wars, and serves as the only actor to appear in all 11 of the live-action Star Wars films to date. The lovably anxious droid servant became an instant hit with families due to his ability to provide balance and structure to the wild antics of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and the rest of the rebel alliance. Like Darth Vader, C-3PO was originally meant to be portrayed on the screen by a motion actor, and overdubbed later by another actor with a completely different voice.
While there seems to be no confirmation of who was originally set to provide the voice of C-3PO in the original Star Wars, Daniels was able to convince George Lucas and the other producers to utilize his performance which he came up with while on set. Apparently, Daniels chose to create a passive, nervous tone which ultimately became a trademark of the droid, by mixing his natural British dialect with the vocal inflections of a butler serving an affluent family. Daniels concluded that the servant voice would suit C-3PO perfectly, as that is essentially what he was programmed for.
George Lucas’ original vision seemed to suggest that C-3PO would serve as a sleazy galactic car salesman throughout the Star Wars films, which seems more like an idea pulled from Futurama than the 1977 classic space-Western. Apparently, according to the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy, George Lucas finally became convinced to stick with Daniels’ portrayal when an actor auditioning for the role expressed that Daniels had already found the perfect voice for the character.
In the cutthroat world of crabs in a bucket that is the audition process for prospective screen actors, this concession is incredibly rare, proving to Lucas just how special Daniels’ performance truly was.
The rest, as they say, is history, with Anthony Daniels returning for all 9 of the Star Wars films within the main canon, as well as Rogue One and appearing as another character in a cameo capacity in Solo. C-3PO has gone down in history as one of the most iconic Star Wars characters, due in no small part to Daniels’ performance, which breathes life into the automaton, particularly when paired alongside his astromech droid associate, R2-D2.
With so many comedically inclined edits and reimaginings of the Star Wars franchise on the web, it’s a wonder we haven’t seen one yet where C-3PO is dubbed over as a sleazy salesman trying to offload a Honda Accord with a blown engine to a local patron of the Mos Eisley Cantina.