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C-3PO
C-3PO
General Information


Gender Masculine Programming
Aliases 3PO, Threepio, See Threepio, Goldenrod
Age
Birthday
Race Droid
Debuts
TV Show Star Wars: Droids
Film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Credit Anthony Daniels

Overview

C-3PO is a humanoid robot or "droid" designed for human-cyborg relations and is programmed in over six million forms of communication, protocol, and etiquette and is frequently accompanied with his astromech counterpart, R2-D2. Despite C-3PO's best attempts to remain out of the line of fire, he has frequently been involved in several pivotal moments in the history of the Galaxy.

C-3PO is a major supporting character in the Star Wars Universe and has been consistently portrayed by Anthony Daniels throughout all ten major Star Wars films. Daniels and his character of C-3PO is also one of only two characters who has appeared in all of these films, the other being his robotic comrade R2-D2.

Background

The concept of Protocol Droids dates back well over 4,000 years in the Old Republic. With thousands upon thousands of alien species with millions of languages, cultures, etiquette, religious beliefs, and customs; simple conversations between two disparate alien sentient races were notoriously difficult. With diplomats, the odds of them inadvertently insulting an ambassador by mispronouncing a word or phrase created some truly nightmarish situations.

Thus arose the need for a droid smart enough for near instantaneous translation yet tactful and sensitive. The balance between these needs often eluded the various attempts until one of the "Big Two" droid manufacturers, Cybot Galactica created the 3PO-Series several centuries ago.

The 3PO Model has risen to become one of the most popular and dominant protocol droids on the market. The key to their success is thanks to its highly advanced AA-1 VerboBrain which gave their droid models incredibly advanced cognitive abilities, sophisticated emotional personalities, and the dynamic ability to "learn" that enabled these droids to closely emulate human-like behavior. This would ordinarily be heralded as a technological triumph as it enabled the 3PO line to be unparalleled translators as other translator droids tended to be maddeningly literal

Unfortunately, Cybot Galactica would discover that human beings tend to be flighty, borderline neurotic, irritating, nervous, and occasionally eccentric. All personality quirks that their AA-1 VerboBrain copied perfectly and Cybot was forced to belatedly install "creativity" dampeners to prevent their creations from exaggerating their translations and recommended frequent memory wipes to guarantee non-deviant behavior from these 3PO Units. Nevertheless, despite the fact that a number of 3PO Droids develop some "quirks"; they have remained in constant production with minimal upgrades and there are millions in use throughout the Galaxy. Cybot has even created a number of variant lines over the centuries including Military Protocol Droids M-3PO with over 6 million forms of past and present military organizations and their regulations stored in its memory and maddeningly notorious nitpickers for proper military channels and orderly paperwork with correct spelling.

A number of other Droid Manufacturers have tried to emulate the success of the 3PO Models in vain such as the LOM-Series created by Cybot's biggest rival and the other half of the "Big Two"; Industrial Automaton. Considered a cheap knock-off of their classic 3PO line, Cybot sued Industrial Automaton only for the LOM-Series to self-destruct without any help via a public relations nightmare when one of these droids, 4-LOM became a thief and later a notorious intergalactic bounty hunter. IA quietly retired the droid line and reputedly has been struggling to find and shut down their wayward creation ever since to little or no avail.

One of the most famous or some might argue, infamous 3PO Protocol Droids in existence is C-3PO. His exact history remains a tangled mystery. It was activated approximately 112 years before the Battle of Yavin and served under a succession of masters before it was scrapped and abandoned on the Outer Rim planet of Tatooine around 80 years later. The body was gutted and ultimately the head and chassis found its way into the junkyard run by Watto the Toydarian.

Major Plots

32 years before the Battle of Yavin, these parts was discovered by Watto's slave, Anakin Skywalker who smuggled the body home and would slowly rebuilt the droid. Anakin was forced to use scrounged and salvaged parts, bought more from Jawas, and improvised the rest. But the core of his cognitive VerboBrain was a hodgepodge reconstruction that melded three scrapped 3-PO cognitive centers together in a new incarnation that Anakin dubbed C-3PO. The "C" being the third letter of the alphabet which was partly behind the nickname but also because Anakin considered "See Threepio" as the 'third' member of his family. Anakin hoped to have C-3PO assist his mother, Shmi Skywalker around the home but never actually finished the droid when he had a fateful encounter with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Queen Padme Amidala. C-3PO would have a fateful encounter of his own, meeting his faithful friend, the astromech droid R2-D2 and the pair would work together for the first time.

Shortly afterwards, Anakin along with R2-D2 left Tatooine and C-3PO remained behind in the care of his mother, Shmi. Over the next few years, Shmi kept C-3PO as a reminder of her son and outfitted him with a battered and heavily tarnished silver coating to better protect his exposed circuits and wiring from the harsh Tatooine environment. C-3PO served Shmi for ten years until her death and afterwards, C-3PO was passed back into the possession of Anakin. Anakin would shortly afterwards pass the droid off to his new wife, Padme Amidala as a wedding present as he felt that the droid would be more useful for her senatorial duties.

Personality and Traits

Appearances

Films

TV Series

Star Wars: Droids (1986)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Season 1

  • Destroy Malevolence
  • Bombad Jedi

Star Wars Rebels (2014)

Trivia

  • C-3PO's basic look was based on Maschinenmensch, a character from the 1927 film, Metropolis. Maschinenmensch was however a female and part-human.
  • Although C-3PO is often thought of as being gold in color, in the original trilogy; his lower right leg is actually silver.  This mismatched color actually came about by accident as on the day of filming, actor Anthony Daniels tried on the costume for the first time due to the rushed production schedule and broke the lower right leg.  They were able to cobble a replacement but lacked the time to paint it gold thus it became a trademark of the character which would be continued throughout C-3PO's appearances throughout the original trilogy but has been overlooked by many.  To commemorate this aspect of the character, director JJ Adams decided to make this really noticeable by having C-3PO first appear in the 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens film with a red right arm.
  • Actor Anthony Daniels was originally not intended to serve as the voice of C-3PO at all, merely as his "body" for the first Star Wars film. However director George Lucas was eventually won over by Daniels' voice and decided to use it rather than his original idea of a having C-3PO sound like "an American used car salesman".
  • Actor Anthony Daniels is unable to sit in the tight-fitting, extremely immobile, and awkward C-3PO costume and has suffered considerable discomfort in it. He has been forced to have people lean him against a board to rest in between takes.

Quotes