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A screen-matched light-up C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) head from George Lucas' Star Wars: A New Hope. C-3PO voiced the first on-screen dialogue in A New Hope and is one of the only characters to appear in all 9 films of the Star Wars saga, making Threepio one of the most memorable robots in cinema history. This head is dented on the forehead, chin and left eyebrow as a result of the attack on C-3PO, Luke (Mark Hamill) and Artoo (Kenny Baker) by Tusken Raiders. While at least two damaged-style Threepio costumes heads were made for the film, the crushing and denting effect on each was sculpted by hand and therefore unique. This piece screen-matches to the scenes where C-3PO is on the comm link with Luke, Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han (Harrison Ford) in the trash compactor, and to the climactic medal ceremony at the end of the film. This is the only complete C-3PO helmet from A New Hope currently in a private collection and it is offered directly from Anthony Daniels.
Daniels, who played C-3PO within the costume as well as providing the voice, is the only actor to have featured in all Star Wars theatrical releases. C-3PO's enduring popularity is a testament to Daniels' fantastic performances. The golden robot was originally designed by legendary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, and Daniels instantly fell in love with the character when he saw McQuarrie's concepts. The initial designs were based on Walter Schulze-Mittendorff's Maschinenmensch "Maria" robot from Fritz Lang's 1927 German expressionist sci-fi film Metropolis. After being cast as Threepio, Daniels went through a lengthy process of moulding his face, torso and limbs to create the costume. Several different versions of the head were sculpted by Liz Moore, and George Lucas chose the now-iconic design. The body of the C-3PO costume was realised through the work of art director Norman Reynolds, pattern maker Brian Archer and carpenter Jim Kerr, amongst others, who converted McQuarrie's designs into a wearable (although not always comfortable) costume. Due to the challenge of aligning and fitting the costume head onto Daniels, it was often left in place on the actor for long durations between camera setups. During this time, Daniels' vision and hearing were limited and his only source of fresh air was the small mouth hole. The costume's illuminating "photoreceptor" eyes were designed in such a way as to keep them from blinding Daniels when illuminated; a black material was installed behind the lights to shield Daniels' eyes, leaving only small ports through which the performer could see. Daniels was aided on the first film by a member of the props department, primarily Phil "Maxie" McDonald, who would help him dress in the costume, move around set, and repair the costume when necessary.
The costume head is comprised of three major components: a backplate, faceplate (with installed eyes), and a neck-ring which are fixed together with two neck-bolts and the forehead antennae. Several physical characteristics of this head's construction are unique to the original film, A New Hope. The costume head features aluminium details that were machined and individually-installed at the back of the head and the mouth of the faceplate; these were cast into the fiberglass in later films. The fittings that hold the two halves of the head together were also updated as the films progressed; the neck bolts and forehead antennae are threaded connectors on this piece as opposed to the more advanced quarter-turn versions used later. The head is made of very thin fibreglass to be as close-fitting and lightweight as possible.
The eyes are not original to A New Hope but are from The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, as indicated by the shape of their prismatic detailing, which changed after the original film. These eyes were fitted at some point after A New Hope wrapped. They are currently tacked in with tape (not original to production) and retain their original wiring, which is connected to a more recently installed battery pack and switch. The helmet's faceplate also has a channel installed at the interior forehead, likely for routing the eye wires to the back of the head; this feature is believed to be unique to the construction of A New Hope heads.
The costume head is one of the few mementoes Daniels kept from the production of A New Hope and it has been in his possession ever since. He used the piece for touring, publicity and other events to promote the film and it became progressively more tarnished. After that time, the original surface was restored with a new vacuum-metallised finish, giving it a fresh, high-polish appearance. This restored aesthetic matches closely to the finish in the climactic medal ceremony scene in which this exact helmet was worn. This specific piece also features prominently on the cover of Daniels' memoir I Am C-3PO - The Inside Story.
The costume head's eyes illuminate when an internal switch is activated, and it is presented on a custom-made display stand. It is also accompanied by several stills from the film showing the head and a letter of authenticity from Daniels.
Threepio stands as one of the most recognizable cinema designs of all time. This screen-matched C-3PO costume head, with direct provenance to the production, is one of the most significant artifacts from the original Star Wars film to come to market. Dimensions: 25 cm x 20 cm x 32 cm (9 3/4" x 7 3/4" x 12 1/2")
Contains electronics; see electronics notice in the Buyer's Guide.
Special shipping required; see special shipping notice in the Buyer's Guide.
Additional Provenance: This lot comes from the personal collection of actor Anthony Daniels. Daniels plays loyal protocol droid C-3PO in the Star Wars saga. He first appeared in the role in 1977 and is the only actor to appear in all Star Wars feature films to date.
Estimate: £500,000 - 1,000,000 M
View all lots from STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (1977)
View all lots from STAR WARS - ALL ITEMS
SizeItem size: 9.84" × 7.87" × 12.6" (25cm × 20cm × 32cm)