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Original C-3PO and Other Droid's


C-3PO - A New Hope

Above a great shot thanks to Jason of 3po on Tatooine, and below a Hi-def screengrab

The C-3PO costume was originally designed by Ralph McQuarrie and Norman Reynolds and was greatly influenced by the robot "Maria" from Fritz Lang's Metropolis made in 1927, and was played by British Actor Anthony Daniels. The sculpt itself was by Liz Moore but finished by Vader sculptor Brian Muir who took over from Liz when she left the project in early 1976. Liz tragically died before 3po was actually built but her influence over the design remains.
These great photos taken at Elstree Studios of the early prototype show how the design evolved. Looking at the head the brow areas and the way they extend back, were retained. As was the way the back section of the head overlapped on the front, and the vertical eye slots and mouth, although reduced. Thanks to Bowman for contributing the prototype shots and again to Jason for the screen version.
Above a comparison of the full-length prototype with the final version and again many of the characteristics of the version we all know can be traced back to Liz's prototype including the overall shape of the various parts, the knees, abdomen and chest sections which all look very similar. Same with the rear. The overall "webbing" was removed but many aspects look to have been reworked as part of an evolutionary process in his production.
The production of the 3PO costume stared in anger in November 1975 with a plaster cast made of Anthony Daniels (in fact this was actually done twice as they made a mess of the original cast). Liz Moore then based her design around this cast and this was later re-worked by Brian Muir as the final design was honed and made wearable (just). The fiberglass parts were then Vacuum Metalised at a factory near Elstree, London. The same company later doing work on the latter films as well as the Arc of the Covenant used in Raiders of the Lost Arc.

Feb 2008 update from Don Bies - All the arms for all the suits were aluminum. The fingers of the ANH suit were brass (VERY heavy), and the trunks of that suit were vacuum formed plastic. There were other minor details, like the suit was bolted together with screws for ANH, whereas they used quarter-turn Dzus connectors for ESB.
To the best of my knowledge, the suits were remade for ESB, probably using the original parts or molds as a starting point. No new suits were made for any other remaining sequels...with the exception of TC-14 from Ep1. That was a suit we made for personal appearances to fit Grant (Mythbusters) Imahara, and was used quickly for TC-14. It was being vacuum-metalized at the time and they wanted a chrome droid. Since they weren't done with the process, we told them to hold off with the top gold coat, and shipped it as chrome. It appeared briefly in the background somewhere painted red, then was eventually restored to gold and used for appearances. The Ep2 "Patchwork" suit was an ESB one (we only painted one complete suit, plus a couple additional parts here and there), as were the two gold Ep3 suits--one of which is part of the Science Museum exhibit that started in Boston.
 

From DK's SW guide

Tatooine

On-set, Tunisia

Scene - end of film

Above and right, a couple of images from the San Francisco Might of Magic (MOM) Exhibition. Images from MOM/Art of Star Wars are courtesy of CS Williams, Rear Admiral, Dr. Maul and Volguus.

Below, some more great ANH Hi Def Screen-grabs from RoCKo
Below, we took these screen captures from a Children's BBC interview with Anthony Daniels Aug 03 of what looks like an ESB 3po head.
More from Don Bies on the C-3PO suits - we did re-chrome the two suits for Ep3--George specifically wanted the suit as clean as possible. He joked that this would be the only time you'd see 3P0 in his natural habitat as a protocol droid. And the Smithsonian still has the suit they discuss in the article--and they will not be re-chroming. That was not used in the filming, and they've had that suit in their possession for over 20 years...And by the way, the Ep3 suits do not have a silver leg...these two suits were all gold.

...and finally a very odd looking 3PO from the LFL Archives. 
It squashed appearance makes it look like a Disney walk-around helmet!

Below, some wonderful shots from Franz Bollo, taken at one of the LFL exhibitions
..and finally one from Franz of Artoo....
Below a couple of photo of C-3PO in Times Square just before the release of Revenge of the Sith in 2005 (not both legs are gold). Apologies for not crediting the Photographer but I'm not actually sure who took these great shots.
More from Don Bies and the Episode 3 C-3PO - we didn't make a new one (3po)...I can tell you with 100% certainty that it was one of the ESB suits. Not sure what photo you saw, but four women helped clean up the two suits: Carol Bauman, Randy Ottenberg, Melanie Walas and Zeynep Selcuk. There was a photo of Zeynep painting some details on the hands.... More recently, a conservator at the Smithsonian was attempting to stabilize the deterioration of their suit and a news article made the rounds about that process.

For the Ep3 suits, we made a few modifications: the chest would dig into Anthony's belly (down by the big circle detail), so we slit the chest along it's sides and hinged it out by about 3/8". We also made a new wire mid-section using molded silicone and rubber wires to make it more comfortable, and I cut new neck pieces to give Anthony a little more room near his throat. And we sliced up the hands to articulate them, as we did with the Ep2 hands. Except for the aforementioned brass fingers for ANH, the hands were a glove made from some type of flexible plastic, and he couldn't articulate the fingers.

The ANH trunks were a front and back of vacuum formed plastic, and perhaps at times he wore only one side...I don't know, as I didn't work on that one (I was just a kid!!).

As to the rubber suits: That could be a result of the material. I was present when the fiberglass suits that Disney molded returned to the archives. I doubt they would have used those as reference.
and below a publicity shot for RotS of our two favourite droids......
...and below from TK7602, an exhibition pic from the Phantom Menace


Death Star Droid (ANH)

Well at least thats what the Kenner figure was called. I always liked this guy. Damn cool!

Sculpted by Brian Muir at Elstree, it shares many of the design and manufacture processes as C-3PO

Below this enhanced Hi Def image really shows off some of the surface detail. Thanks RoCKo.

Below a nice shot of Brian Muir sculpting the Death Star Droid head...

..and finally below as it looks now at a recent LFL exhibition.

CZ-1 (ANH)

Another one of Brian Muir's sculpts was CZ-1, who was seen in a number of scenes in ANH, cropping up in Jabba's palace in RotJ too.

CZ-1 is quite an interesting mish-mash of other designs, with his legs and feet clearly C-3PO. However his upper body and head are based on one of the early drawings put forward as the Darth Vader character See the Brian Muir Interviews page for more on this.

 

Medical Droid (ESB)

Although seen in the new Trilogy, most will remember two-one-bee from the "Luke in Bacta" scene in ESB
Thanks again to TK7602 for these exhibition pics
..and finally another great shot of 21-B from the same exhibition, apologies I don't know who took this photo but the detail is superb.

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